How to help a baby with a blocked nose

Posted in Health & Safety Advice, Newborns and tagged .

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When cold and flu season hits, your little one can suffer more than most. When their nose gets blocked and they can’t yet blow out the bad stuff, it can make breathing hard and settle into sleep even harder. Your bubba’s nose might be as cute as a button, but when it’s all stuffed up it can make them feel pretty tired and cranky.

Newborn bubs in particular struggle through their first cold as they need their tiny noses to breathe for the first 3 or 4 months, when their little bodies develop enough to let them mouth breathe. Until then, you’ll probably notice your bubba can only breathe through their mouth after letting out a big cry.

To help them get the rest they need to get well again, here are our top 7 tips to help a newborn with a blocked nose.

1. Clear the congestion

Mother clearing a baby blocked nose

While the green stuff might go flying when they sneeze, your baby is a long way off being able to blow their own nose. Many tots can’t blow their nose until they’re two or even older. Regularly wiping their nose helps clean away the mess, but you can give them a little hand to help them clear the congestion. Try using an aspirator to suck out mucus. Or a squirt of a kid-friendly saline spray can help loosen the mucus and clear their airways.

It’s also a good thing to do before milk time, helping them breathe while they’re feeding so they can concentrate on filling up their little belly.

2. Use a warm steam vaporiser

Euky Bear Steam Vaporiser

A warm steam vaporiser is a great natural way to give your baby bear all-night relief from a stuffed up nose. The Euky Bear Steam Vaporiser ($69.95) creates a soothing flow of warm steam, helping loosen phlegm and congestion in their chest and nose and make it easier for bub to breathe. Adding moisture to the air also helps them get a more comfortable sleep, soothing their throat and dry itchy eyes. Suitable for newborns, it’s whisper quiet you don’t have to worry about it disturbing your their sleep. Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

3. Lift their mattress

Bednest Co-sleeper bassinet

Keeping your bub’s head slightly elevated is an easy way to help relieve the dreaded postnasal drip during the night. Use a rolled up blanket or towel underneath their mattress, or invest in a Bednest bassinet and lift it about 30 degrees, or roughly 15 cm. Position bub so that their head stays higher than their stomach, helping them breathe a little easier and stopping the drip that can keep them coughing and unsettled all night.

4. Keep them hydrated

Mum breastfeeding at night

Good hydration is important for everyone, especially when they’re sick. While your bub is probably too young to guzzle down the H2O, try introducing some extra breastfeeds or bottles to keep their fluids up. They’ll probably also enjoy the extra snuggle time with mum.

5. Keep a thermometer handy

Braun Baby Thermometer

While your baby’s snuffles are an obvious sign of a cold, be sure to keep an eye out that it’s not something that needs a little more attention. Keep track of your bub’s temperature so you know if they start running hot, and the Braun ThermoScan 7 ($154.95) is a quick and gentle way to get an accurate temperature reading, even while bub is sleeping.  Fever can be a sign of infection, so seek medical advice if your baby has a temperature of 38°C if under 3 months or above 39°C for babies 3 to 6 months.

6. Warm bath

Crying newborn baby in the bath

While your bambino’s body is working overtime on getting better, a good bath is just what they need to soothe and settle. Not only is it a nice warm hug, just like being back in mummy’s tum, the warm steam in the room can help their breathing and you can wash all the nasties away.

7. Extra snuggles

Dad cuddling a newborn on his shoulder

If a mother’s love could be bottled, it’d be the only medicine you’d ever need. Your bub will love a little extra cuddle time before bed. Not only does it help them feel safe and soothed, holding them upright lets them breathe a little easier, helping them drift off into the land of nod and get the rest they need.


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