While nasal congestion is common in babies and children, it can be heartbreaking to see your baby struggle with their first stuffy nose. And they need your assistance to overcome it because they aren't old enough to clear their nose on their own.
Fortunately, it is usually not serious. A stuffy nose, on the other hand, can be very upsetting for a baby, especially during sleep and feeding times. Given how vital sleep is for a baby, having nasal congestion can throw off both of your schedules.
Here you can discover the various causes of nasal congestion. Tips on how to naturally unblock your baby's nose. As well as other tips you can do to reduce your baby's frustration.
Key Points of Nasal Congestion in Babies
- There are a lot of reasons that a baby might have nasal congestion but that doesn't always mean they're sick.
- Nasal Congestion (if a result of illness) can worsen their sleep and have negative effects on sleep and overall health.
- Always consult with your pediatrician if their condition worsens or your baby develops a fever.
What is Nasal Congestion?
Nasal congestion is a condition in which the nasal and surrounding tissues become swollen with excess fluid, resulting in a stuffy feeling. It may or may not cause nasal discharge or a runny nose, but it can be extremely irritating for babies. It may also disrupt their sleep cycles and have a negative impact on their biological clock.
Nasal congestion is not a cause for concern; it could be a common cold or infection complication. You should not be concerned if your baby is still happy and eating and sleeping normally. It may, however, become a source of concern if the baby's fragile defense system fails to drive excess mucus out.
Among the most common nasal congestion symptoms are:
- Breathing that is too loud
- Snoring while sleeping
Causes of Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion frequently occurs when the tissues inside the nose swell. In the early years of life, infants and toddlers are subjected to a variety of conditions. Nasal congestion in newborns is also not uncommon. It becomes difficult because the baby's weakened immune system puts them at risk of contracting other bacterial or viral infections.
The following are some of the possible causes of their frequent susceptibility to such infections:
Viruses, such as the common cold, cause nasal infections in babies. As long as the virus is present and actively multiplying in that region, your baby's body responds by producing thick mucus secretions and inflammation that can obstruct their nose.
Because a baby's nasal passages are so small, it doesn't take a lot of mucus for their noses to be blocked. You can actually hear the congestion. If you find your baby both have a small nose and frequent congestion talk with your pediatrician to explore options to keep your baby's nose free and clear.
Using artificial heat and air conditioning can cause the air in your home to become extremely dry. This can cause nasal irritation, which can lead to congestion. If your local area allows it, try using natural cooling methods such as open windows, swamp coolers, and light fans. Heating is a bit more complex and will depend on your area and how your home is heated.
Can't blow their nose
Imagine being too young to clean your own nose and being unable to blow your nose! All of your secretions would get trapped and stay there for a while, at least until you sneezed. It's useful to know that sneezing is one-way infants unblock their delicate nasal passages.
Because your baby's nose is highly sensitive, irritants such as cigarette smoke, animal dander, artificial scents, perfumes, cleaning products, or dust can cause problems. There are several ways to address this issue that you will find below.
Objects lodged in the nose
Most things that babies can reach end up in their mouths. They may inadvertently insert objects into their nose, obstructing normal breathing and increasing nasal secretions. Keep in mind that excessive nasal suctioning can cause mild to extreme irritation, mucus formation, and nasal congestion. Babies can sometimes get their fingers into their noses, causing irritation and even bleeding.
It is normal for babies to spit up a lot. It can even come up through their nose at times, which can be startling for mothers. The stomach contents and acid irritate the nasal passages, and if this occurs frequently, even where it cannot be seen, it can cause the back of the nose to be blocked.
The development or enlargement of abnormal nasal tissue is unusual in infants. It can be caused by nasal polyps (which are more common in children with cystic fibrosis), cysts caused by tear duct dilation, or rare nasal tumors.
When allergy season arrives, those who are affected are immediately aware. Your child may be sensitive to the same things as you. Pollens can wreak havoc on the nasal passages, which is exacerbated on windy days when the particles sail through the air and into your nose. These effects are typically seasonal, but other allergies, such as those to milk products, can result in ongoing increased mucus production.
In addition to nasal passage growth, babies can be born with a structural problem that blocks the airway. When the cartilage in the nose is not straight, a narrowing called stenosis occurs, which can prevent air from flowing smoothly. Also, during the development of the nasal structures, a problem can occur that causes them to be misshapen, affecting airflow. Choanal atresia is an example of this.
Bacterial and viral infections are the most common causes of sore throat and nasal congestion. However, any condition that inflames the nasal tissues can cause these problems.
How to Unblock Baby’s Nose, Naturally
When you notice your baby is constipated, you probably start wondering what you can do to help. Here are some remedies to try, depending on the severity of the congestion:
1. Provide Plenty of Fluids
Making sure your baby gets plenty of fluids is a good place to start when dealing with congested nasal passages. A lot of liquid will thin out any mucus, making it easier to soothe your baby's blocked nose. Babies who are still exclusively bottle-fed or breastfed do not require additional fluids but make sure your baby is eating enough and getting enough fluids.
When your baby has a blocked nose, they may want shorter and more frequent feeds, but pay attention to whether your baby is drinking less or has fewer wet diapers than usual. If this is the case, you should seek medical attention to ensure that your baby does not become dehydrated.
Massage their cheekbones, temples, forehead, and nasal bridge gently. VapoRub should not be used because it may clog the nasal passages even more. You can relieve chest congestion by gently clapping your child's back or chest with your cupped hand. Doing it quickly and rhythmically loosens the mucus, allowing it to drain. Avoid clapping directly on the skin; instead, cover the area with thin clothing or cloth. Form a cup with your hand by bending it at the wrist. You should hear a hollow “popping” sound when you clap.
Steam inhalation is an excellent way to assist your baby to unblock their nose. It will help the child breathe easier by moisturizing dry nasal passages, loosening clogged mucus, and soothing the throat. Going into the bathroom, closing the door, and running the shower for a few minutes, filling the room with steam, is an excellent way to accomplish this. Then switch it off. The temperature in the room should not be so high that breathing becomes difficult. Find a comfortable spot for you and your baby to sit for about 10 minutes, allowing the steam to do its work.
4. Allow Plenty of Time for Rest and Be Patient
If your baby isn't bothered by the congestion, you probably don't need to intervene just yet. Give your baby as much rest as you can.
When it comes to colds and respiratory infections, rest is just as important as it is for adults. Obviously, your child will be more restless than ever and will most likely have difficulty sleeping. The trick, however, is to allow them to rest whenever possible. Put them to sleep and let their bodies' natural defenses do the hard work.
However, don't abandon your evening bedtime routine. Even if you don't think your baby will fall asleep at the usual time, completing all of the relaxing and calming activities can still help to encourage your baby to sleep.
While your baby is sleeping, keep an eye out for signs of illness, such as concentrated, smelly urine, difficulty breathing, not urinating as much as usual, not feeding enough in a 24-hour period or fever.
5. Keep Baby’s Head Up
When your baby has a cold, the best default position for them is upright. This aids in the clearing of congestion and the improvement of breathing. Most importantly, it allows them to get much-needed rest.
Consider wearing your baby on your chest while they nap to accomplish this. The goal is to keep your baby upright so that fluid can drain and mucus can dry naturally from the nose.
You should not use a pillow for this because the AAP does not recommend using bed accessories. Please consult your child's doctor if you have any additional suggestions or questions about this.
When Is It Time to See a Doctor?
Your baby will most likely be miserable, but if a cold is to blame for the blocked nose, it should clear up in five to seven days.
Consult your healthcare provider if your baby:
- Is having difficulty breathing
- Has been suffering from cold symptoms for more than a week, a secondary bacterial infection is possible
- Has a cough that becomes more severe, resulting in gasping or wheezing
- Is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius, or they are under 6 months old and has a temperature of 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit or 39 degrees Celsius
- Is coughing up mucus that is yellow, green, or rust in color
- Begins to frequently pull or tug at his or her ears
- If you have any concerns about your baby's health
Please keep in mind that medications for colds and coughs are not recommended for babies and young children because they contain potentially harmful ingredients and have not been proven to be effective. Infants can be given Paracetamol or Ibuprofen depending on their age; if you are unsure, consult your care provider or pharmacist.
Keep in mind that giving these medications will only suppress symptoms like fever, not treat the virus that is causing the cold.
Nasal congestion can make for some sleepless nights for both you and your baby. It's difficult to be a parent and watch your child suffer, especially when they're so small and helpless.
Hold on, your baby's nose should be unblocked in a week or two. In the meantime, you can try a variety of natural remedies to help your baby feel better.
However, keep in mind that many over-the-counter medications and treatments have not been proven to be safe for babies.
Your baby will most likely have nasal congestion several times before the age of 2, so don't be too hard on yourself for it to happen so soon. Maintain a positive attitude and keep an eye on your child. If the methods suggested in this article do not work, you should consult with your baby's doctor.
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