If your newborn is experiencing a stuffy nose, frequent sneezing and occasional coughing, you might be tempted to take him or her directly to the emergency room. Fortunately, this is not necessary in the vast majority of cases because the previously listed symptoms are typically an indicator of nothing more than newborn congestion. However, your baby may become highly irritable as a result of this issue, so it is important to know how to ease their discomfort
1. Use Saline to Soothe a Dry, Stuffy Nose
Saline drops are an easy solution for combating a dry, stuffy nose, and they can also clear and remove dried mucus. You should be able to find saline drops in the over-the-counter section of any pharmacy.
Simply place your baby on his or her back, and use a small pillow if needed to help tilt their head forward. Next, place two to three drops into each nostril, and then wait approximately one minute before flipping your newborn onto their stomach. This will allow the secretions to drain, and you can use a tissue to gently wipe away the loosened mucus and dried saline. Please be aware that you should not insert a tissue or cotton swab directly into your newborn’s nostrils.
2. Add Moisture into the Air
One of the most common causes of newborn congestion is dry air that makes their nasal secretions harden. This can be especially problematic during the winter, but the good news is that you can easily correct this situation. Putting a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in the baby’s room will add moisture into the air, which will provide relief for a dry, stuffy nose. Make sure that you clean the vaporizer or humidifier regularly in order to avoid the buildup of mold and mildew.
3. Ease Newborn Congestion by Aspirating Dried Secretions
You can use an infant nasal bulb syringe to clear the dried mucus out of your newborn’s nose. If you choose to go this route, you will begin by dripping two to three drops of saline into each nostril, but do not flip your baby over after a minute passes. Instead, squeeze all of the air out of the bulb syringe, and then gently insert the head of it slightly inside the tip of one of the baby’s nostrils. Releasing the bulb slowly will aspirate the nostril, and you can then repeat this process if both nostrils are stuffy.
It is important to note that you must observe your newborn’s breathing after you have completed the aspiration process. In the unlikely event that they showcase any breathing difficulties, you should take them to the hospital immediately.
4. Remove Hardened Secretions Around Your Baby’s Nose
One of the best ways to provide relief is to remove any hardened secretions that are found around the newborn’s nostrils. This dried-up mucus can be very uncomfortable, which may lead to obvious signs of discomfort. You can take action to remedy this issue by dipping a clean swap in warm water and using it to gently remove the hardened secretions. Again, ensure that you do not actually put the swab into either of your baby’s nostrils.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Serious Symptoms
There are several potential medical situations that do warrant a trip to the doctor or even the emergency room. Figuring out the difference between these scenarios and basic congestion may seem confusing or intimidating to new parents, but if you pay close attention to your baby’s symptoms, you should be able to make the right decision.
Some of the symptoms that indicate a bigger issue than congestion include a fever, a rash, labored and raspy breathing, green or yellow nasal secretions, swelling, extreme irritability and any major changes to their feeding or sleeping habits. You will also want to get immediate medical assistance if something is lodged in the newborn’s nose or their mouth begins to turn blue.
Aside from taking steps to relieve or prevent congestion, you should also take action right away if you begin to come down with a cold or the flu. This can help prevent your newborn from becoming ill with something that will make them feel much crankier than congestion.
Featured photo credit: Baby Boy Newborn Congestion/Big D2112 via flic.kr