It can be difficult to see your baby suffering with a stuffed up nose; viral infections can make it difficult for infants to eat, drink and even sleep, predominantly because infants breathe through their noses and can't naturally alternate to mouth breathing to compensate for stopped up nasal passages. Since cold medications are not recommended for children under the age of two, it's important to equip yourself with a variety of natural solutions you can use to help loosen the congesting mucus and alleviate your baby's sinus symptoms.
Use a portable vaporizer or humidifier to add moisture to the air. The moisture can help to loosen the mucus that is causing the nasal congestion. Set the humidifier in the room you spend most of your time with your baby. Move it to your child's room approximately 30 minutes before bedtime. Use only cool mist vaporizers and humidifiers. If you don't have either of these units, steam up the bathroom with the shower and sit in the room for a few minutes to relieve congestion.
Prop up your infant's crib from beneath the mattress to help relieve congestion only after consulting with your health care practitioner, recommends the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Do not prop up an infant's head with a pillow. Since pillows are a suffocation hazard for young infants and they are not recommended until a child is about two years of age and no longer sleeping in a crib.
Administer saline drops to your infant's nostrils with a medicine dropper to loosen mucus. You can pick up the drops at a local pharmacy or make your own with about 1/8 teaspoon salt and 4 ounces of warm water. Tilt your baby's head back slightly and squeeze just one or two drops into each nostril and then keep your baby's head in the same position to allow the saline to maximize the solution's effectiveness.
Extract mucus from your baby's sinuses with a rubber bulb syringe. If the saline is not entirely effective on its own, use this syringe afterward to extract the loosened mucus. Squeeze the syringe bulb to force the air out, tilt your baby's head back gently and insert the rubber tip of the syringe into one nostril. As you release the bulb slowly, the suction created will extract the mucus. Do the same for the other nostril to help alleviate stuffiness.
Breastfeed your baby in an upright position when her sinuses are congested, recommends the La Leche League International. This position helps to encourage mucus to drain down the nasal passage during feedings.
Items you will need
- Cool mist vaporizer or humidifier
- Saline drops
- Medicine dropper
- Rubber bulb syringe
- The Everything Baby's First Year Book; Marian Edelman Borden, et al.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Safe Sleep: Bedding, Pillows, Safety and More
- La Leche League International: If Your Baby Bites
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images