8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant


No one likes a stuffy nose. A stuffy nose can make it hard to breathe, hard to eat, and sometimes even hard to get any type of work done. However, imagine the difficulties a congested nose can have for an infant, who not only cannot take care of himself, but also has a very small nasal passageway. Therefore, all parents must know the ways to help your congested infant in order to give relief and avoid additional problems.


Signs and Symptoms of a Congested Infant

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

Is your baby irritable? - Photo credit: newkidscenter.com

Before we tackle the ways how to help your congested infant, we must first know how to spot nasal congestion right away. Early diagnosis can lead to early treatment, which will not only benefit you, but your baby’s health as well. Here are the most important signs and symptoms of infant nasal congestion you need to watch out for:

  • Difficulty in feeding/rejection of feeding
  • Irritability/frequent crying
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • A low fever
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • A runny nose

If you observe one or two of these signs and symptoms in your baby, you need to take action immediately. Delayed treatment can lead to more problems that can greatly harm your baby’s health.

Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

1. Take your baby for a check up

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

See the doctor right away - Photo credit: multibrand.pgsitecore.com

Once you see that your baby’s not feeling well and nasal congestion is most likely the cause, it’s best if you take your baby to a physician for a check-up immediately. It’s also better to have a professional diagnose your baby instead of making your own diagnosis, because nasal congestion is the result of other underlying conditions, which can be infection, allergies, or the common cold.

Moreover, your doctor will also tell you the best course of action. Following the doctor’s instruction is important for you to be able to find the root cause of your baby’s nasal congestion. Moreover, it’s not a good thing for you to get used to self-diagnosis since babies are very sensitive to ailments.

2. Use a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator to give your baby relief

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

Suction out excess mucus with a nasal aspirator - Photo credit: i2.wp.com

In nasal congestion, mucus accumulates in your baby’s nasal passageways. This can make it harder for your baby to breathe, eat, and sleep. A bulb syringe is one of the most common tools to address a health problem in babies, alongside the best baby thermometer. I recommend buying a good bulb syringe along with your other baby essentials, such as clothes, diapers, baby food, toys, and others. In this way, you have a bulb syringe ready at any time just in case your baby experiences nasal congestion.

Using a bulb syringe is simple. To suction out the mucus from your baby’s nose, squeeze the bulb part of the bulb syringe to remove the air inside, insert the tip into your baby’s nostril, and gently release the bulb part to suction out excess mucus. You can do this a few times every few hours in order to give your baby relief, especially when he is about to sleep or feed.

3. Make sure your baby is adequately hydrated

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

Keep your baby well hydrated - Photo credit: http://static.guim.co.uk

Keeping your baby hydrated is a good way to combat nasal congestion. Mucus thins out with enough fluid intake, so you need to keep your baby hydrated in order to help clear out congestion. Moreover, fluid is used up in the production of mucus, and when there is excess production of mucus, your baby’s fluid status may decrease.

It is highly recommended that you upkeep his fluids after using the bulb syringe to suction out excess mucus. In this way, your baby can drink fluids more easily and he is more compliant in doing so.

4. Use saline drops or spray

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

Saline drops will help decrease congestion - Photo credit: http://fesslittlenoses.com.au

Saline drops or spray are used to help clear out nasal congestion. The saline solution causes the blood vessels in the nose to constrict, thus pushing out mucus. It can also help reduce the swelling in the sinuses. Saline drops or spray should also be part of your baby’s shopping list alongside best diaper pail, cribs, swaddling blankets, and others.

To give your congested baby saline drops, simply tilt back the head and gently administer two to three drops of saline into his nostrils. Soon enough, your baby will hopefully be feeling better and less congested. Take advantage of this time to let your baby drink fluids or feed.

5. Do not place your baby flat on his back

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

Keep your baby in an inclined or upright position - Photo credit: http://www.bluemaize.net

Mucus can end up in the throat when the head is constantly tilted back, as in lying in a supine position. That is why we often get coughs after suffering from the common cold, because the mucus ends up in our throat. To keep your baby’s throat from getting irritated or covered with mucus, keep him upright as much as possible.

When your baby is sleeping, you can also put a slight incline on his bed by putting a pillow between the crib and the mattress. This position will help his nose getting stuffed up with mucus too much.

6. Make the room more comfortable

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

A humidifier can help decrease congestion - Photo credit: http://sites.psu.edu

A room with conditions that are unfavorable will most likely contribute to the worsening of your baby’s nasal congestion. A room with dry air is bound to make congestion even worse. To prevent this from happening, it is also recommended that you run a humidifier in your baby’s room to increase the moisture in the air. More humid in the room can help reduce congestion faster.

Steam can also help your baby’s congestion lessen. You can create a steamy room by running a hot bath and letting the bathroom fill up with steam. Then, you can sit in the steamy bathroom for a few minutes with your baby (do not bathe him in the hot water!) to help the stuffy nose unclog.

7. Do not wipe your baby’s nose excessively

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

Excessive wiping can irritate the skin - Photo credit: shutterstock.com

As we all know, a baby’s skin is sensitive and thin. Thus, wiping your baby’s nose with a cloth or tissue when the mucus is running can chafe and irritate the skin. This will only create a more irritable baby and increase the discomfort and pain he is feeling.

To avoid this from happening, do not wipe your baby’s nose excessively. Or better yet, use a very soft cloth and be gentle with your actions. Do not use toilet paper or napkins since these can be rough on the baby’s skin. Moreover, you can wipe a little bit of Vaseline or petroleum jelly on your baby’s upper lip to avoid irritation and chafing from the wiping.

8. Gently remove dried up mucus

8 Best Ways to Help Your Congested Infant

Remove dried mucus to allow easier breathing - Photo credit: http://herbabystuff.com

If mucus dries up inside or along your baby’s nose, it can make it exponentially harder for your baby to breathe because of the hard blockage in his nostrils. You can prevent this from happening by regularly aspirating your baby’s nostrils to suction out excess mucus, but if drying occurs, you can also remove it with an alternative method.

The best way to remove dried up mucus from your baby’s nostrils is to use a cotton swab wet with warm water. Gently wipe your baby’s nose with the tip until the hardened mucus softens. Then, remove it completely from the nostrils. It is important that you are gentle with your actions, since the baby’s nose is tiny and you don’t want the cotton swab to accidentally go too far up your baby’s nostril.


A congested baby is definitely not a happy baby. It can affect his sleeping, eating, and playing-- and it will eventually affect you as well. Therefore, you need to give him relief with these ways to help your congested infant. In no time, your baby’s nasal congestion will have definitely disappeared!

I hope you picked up a lot from this article. Feel free to ask us questions in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this with your friends as well! Thanks for reading.

Rosanna Mai

I am a new parent with a 1 year old and my husband's lives. Although still new to parenthood, I can give a lot of valuable info on financial management in the home, DIY projects to save money, and generally the frugal way of living.

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