Aspiração das secreções com seringa de bulbo

Baby with a blocked nose: what to do and main causes

Stuffy nose

A blocked nose is a relatively common situation, but it can be very uncomfortable for the baby, as, up to 6 months of age, babies can only breathe through their nose. Therefore, when the nose is blocked, the baby has to make more effort to breathe. This causes the baby to lose his appetite and end up having difficulty gaining weight and developing normally.

There are some resources to unclog a baby's nose, such as dripping a few drops of saline into each nostril, using a nasal aspirator or even giving a warm bath.

Throughout the day it is also very important to clean the baby's nose several times, to remove the secretions that come out. Keeping the nose always clean allows the baby to be more relieved, sleeping peacefully and being able to feed better.

Aspiration of secretions with a bulb syringe

How to unclog your baby's nose

The main homemade ways to unclog a baby's nose are:

1. Take a warm bath

Bathing with warm or hot water produces steam which, when breathed in by the baby, helps to fluidize and eliminate secretions in the nose.

A good tip is to close the bathroom door to accumulate as much steam as possible. At the end of the bath, it is very important to dry the baby well, dress him and avoid leaving him in drafty areas.

2. Apply saline drops

Applying 3 to 5 ml of saline solution in each nostril, 2 to 3 times a day, helps to fluidize secretions, making them easier for the baby to eliminate naturally.

Another option is to use a nasal solution designed to remove nasal secretions from babies, which can be purchased at the pharmacy.

3. Aspirate with a bulb syringe

The bulb syringe is similar to a small, pear-shaped air pump that can be purchased at the pharmacy. To use, you must squeeze the body (balloon) of the pump and then insert the tip into the beginning of the baby's nostril. Then, the pump is released and the secretions are gently aspirated.

It is very important not to squeeze the syringe while it is inside the baby's nostril, as this can push secretions deeper, making them more difficult to eliminate.

After using the syringe, it is very important to wash it with hot water and soap to prevent the development of fungi and bacteria, as well as letting it dry completely before using it again.

4. Humidify the room environment

Placing a basin with hot water in the room where the baby spends the most time humidifies the environment, making the baby breathe more water particles that help fluidize secretions.

It is very important that the basin is kept out of the baby's reach, especially when they can crawl or walk, to avoid accidents.

5. Put a pillow under the mattress

Placing a cushion or pillow under the head of your baby's crib mattress is also a great way to unclog your baby's nose. This way, the head is higher and the secretion does not accumulate in the throat, allowing the baby to sleep more peacefully.

Main causes of blocked nose in babies

It is normal for babies to have a blocked nose several times throughout the first few months of life, as their immune system is still maturing. Although it does not represent anything serious for the baby, it is necessary to treat a blocked nose, as it can cause great discomfort and interfere with sleep and eating.

The main causes include:

1. Flu or cold

Due to their poorly developed immune system, it is normal for babies to have the flu or a cold in their first year of life, and it is common for them to have watery eyes, a stuffy nose and fever, for example.

What to do: The best way to treat a baby's flu or cold is through breastfeeding. Additionally, babies over 1 year old can use some natural juices, such as orange or acerola, for example, to fight the flu faster and strengthen the immune system. See more about home remedies for flu in babies.

2. Allergy

The allergy, often called rhinitis, can be caused by contact with dust or animal hair, which easily sensitize the baby's immune system and cause sneezing, runny nose and constant coughing. Find out more about rhinitis in babies and how to treat it.

What to do: It is important to identify what causes the allergy and prevent the baby from coming into contact with it. In addition, you should keep the baby hydrated and go to the pediatrician if the allergy becomes more intense and frequent.

3. Enlargement of adenoids

The adenoid is a set of lymphatic tissue located at the bottom of the nose and is part of the immune system, thus protecting the body against microorganisms. This tissue grows according to the baby's development, but in some cases it can grow excessively and interfere with the baby's breathing. Learn more about the adenoid.

What to do: It is recommended to go to the pediatrician when you notice difficulty breathing, continuous coughing and a blocked nose in your baby with no apparent cause, as this may be indicative of an enlarged adenoid. This way, the pediatrician will be able to advise how the treatment should be carried out.

When to go to the doctor

A blocked nose is, in most cases, a minor and temporary situation. However, it is advisable to consult a pediatrician whenever there are doubts about the baby's health, as well as when the baby often has a blocked nose or when other symptoms appear, such as:

  • Intense cough;
  • Constant sneezing;
  • Wheezing when breathing;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Fever above 38º C;
  • Excessive tiredness.

Furthermore, if the baby shows signs of difficulty breathing such as very rapid breathing, bluish color or paleness, you should go to the hospital immediately.