Simple Solutions for a Newborn Stuffy Nose

How to clear up your baby's nasal congestion

Newborn baby (0-3 months) sleeping, close-up
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There's nothing sadder to new parents than a little newborn stuffy nose. Unfortunately, it's pretty common for babies to have nasal congestion from time to time.

Because babies noses are so small, they also have very small nasal passages. It's one of the reasons you might notice newborns sneezing so often. It's their little bodies natural way of dealing clearing their nose.

The good news: There are lots of simple solutions to help get her cute little nose clear, and knowing what congestion culprits to avoid is your first step.

Congestion Culprit: Nasal Irritants

A fairly simple thing you can do is to make sure you're not subjecting your baby to nasal irritants, things in the environment that can block their nose.

Common nasal irritants to avoid include:

  • Fuzz and dust (While stuffed animals and cuddly toys are cute decorations in the nursery, they are also dust magnets so be sure to keep them out of your baby's sleep environment.)
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Perfumes or scented body lotions
  • Hair sprays
  • Paint/gasoline fumes
  • Pet hair
  • Aerosol sprays

How to Treat a Stuffy Nose in Newborns

Some experts advise against treating your newborn's stuffy nose, especially if your baby is feeding well and filling up those diapers. The argument: Why irritate little nasal passages with salt water or blunt plastic objects unless it's absolutely necessary?

Still, others recommend some simple solutions to clear the nasal congestion. And, of course, it goes without saying that you must contact your doctor if the nasal congestion is interfering with your infant's breathing, especially during feedings.

  • Start with saline nasal drops. Over-the-counter saline nasal drops can be helpful at loosening the mucous-filled baby nose. What these drops do is loosen up snot and help your baby to sneeze blockages forward. You can then use a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator to suck out the sticky culprit and clear your baby's nose. Note: Don't be overly aggressive with these devices as it's quite easy to do more harm than good.
  • Invest in a humidifier. A humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer will add moisture to the air and help him breathe more easily.
  • Elevate your infant's head. Try to raise your newborn's head while he's sleeping. This can be done by adding a crib wedge under or mattress or simply by holding him a bit more upright during naps. Just remember: Avoid placing any pillows in the crib, as this can put your little one at risk for SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.

As you keep these tips in mind, one final word to comfort you. Often your baby's stuffy nose actually bothers you more than it does your baby. Stuffy noses are very common, and often your baby can cope quite well on his own.

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