Every new parent deals with baby congestion at some point. While it’s not a fun experience for you or your baby, the good thing is it’s usually not something serious.

Why Do Babies Get Congested?

There are many causes for baby congestion. After all, their bodies (and lungs) are tiny and their immune systems are still adapting to the wide world. The excess mucus helps to trap the causes and eject them from the system.

Blue banner with text saying "When cuddles can't wait until the meeting is over" and showing a caregiver holding a smiling baby.Baby Nasal Congestion

Many mild cases of congestion are just nasal congestion. Your baby may experience excess mucus. The mucus may be a different color as well. With all the gunk up there, sometimes babies may breathe more rapidly or snore. Because of the difficulty breathing they may also cough, sniffle, or fuss more. Some babies may also have more difficulty feeding.

  • Common causes of nasal congestion are:
  • Inhaling irritants like pollutants or cigarette smoke
  • Overly dry air
  • Viruses like the common cold (some babies have as many as six to eight colds a year)
  • Allergies
  • Weather changes

Baby Chest Congestion

Sometimes baby congestion can progress further. If you’re hearing more coughing, wheezing, or grunting it may be that your baby also has chest congestion. Causes include:

  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Respiratory Synctial Virus (RSV)
  • Flu
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Your pediatrician can give you a specific diagnosis.

What Can I Do For My Baby?

Before calling your physician, there are a number of home remedies you can try for your little one. Giving relief to your congested baby often involves just making some simple changes to their routine or environment.

Use A Humidifier

If dry air is the culprit, try purchasing a humidifier and setting it up in your nursery. Make sure you use a cold mist humidifier. Hot humidifiers can pose a burn risk for babies if they accidentally fall into them or come into contact with them.

Yellow banner with text saying "When you need someone who cares as much as you do" and showing a caregiver with a smiling baby.Keep Your Baby Vertical

Let gravity do some of the work. Sitting your baby upright or holding them upright can sometimes help the mucus drain faster. A congested baby’s sleep position should also be more vertical too. You can elevate the crib by raising the mattress with a firm pillow.

Steamy Bathtime

Running a hot bath or having the baby in the bathroom while you take a hot shower can be similar to the humidifier. That moist air can help loosen up the mucus and clear your baby’s airways.

Saline Drops or Spray

Purchase baby saline drops or spray at the store and add one or two drops / sprays to each nostril. If there is dry mucus clogging up their nose, this will wet it so you can use a suction bulb to remove the mucus.

Breast Milk

Like saline, you can put one or two drops in your baby’s nose. Then apply the suction bulb gently.

Warm Beverages

For older babies, warm juice or tea (non-caffeinated) can help soothe a baby’s throat. If mucus has been dripping down or they have some chest congestion, this can help clear things up there too.

When To Call Your Doctor

Generally speaking, if your baby seems otherwise well and they are still eating and playing, it’s likely a mild case of congestion. You should be able to handle it at home. However, if you notice any of the following in your baby, it may be worth it to reach out to your pediatrician or emergency help:

  • Fever
  • A breath rate of more than 60 breaths per minute
  • Flared nostrils
  • Ribs sucking in with each breath (retractions)
  • A blue tint to the skin
  • Grunting or moaning after each breath

Green banner with text saying "When your email is blowing up and so is their diaper" and showing a caregiver holding a smiling baby.Congestion is unavoidable for your baby. Whether it’s the cold or a dry room, it’s bound to happen. Now that you are armed with more knowledge for how to handle it, it’s time to take the next step on your parenting journey. Finding quality child care is as simple as using Sittercity. You can connect to local sitters who are caring, compassionate, and competent.

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