16 Best Home Remedies for Blocked Nose in Babies
Babies cannot fight most minor ailments like a cold by themselves. And, if they have a blocked nose, they can become cranky and uncomfortable. Either way, a cold and a blocked nose will give both of you sleepless nights. Most parents would rush their little one to a paediatrician; however, some may not want to consult one thinking it is just a cold. But, you must know that for babies, the level of discomfort is way too high than what it is for the grownups. You may try some home remedies to soothe the cold and clear the congestion so that your little one can breathe and sleep properly. Read on to learn about home remedies for blocked nose in babies.
Is It Normal for Infants to Have a Blocked Nose?
Yes, it is normal for infants to experience a blocked nose. Nasal congestion in infants can be caused by factors such as dry air, exposure to irritants, or a common cold. It is important to keep their nasal passages clear, use a humidifier, and seek medical advice if there are concerns about their breathing or if symptoms persist.
What Are the Causes of Blocked Nose in Babies?
A blocked nose in babies is a common occurrence and can be caused by various factors. Understanding the potential causes helps parents and caregivers address the issue effectively. Here are some common reasons why infants may experience a blocked nose:
- Dry Air: The air in the environment may be too dry, leading to nasal congestion in babies.
- Irritants: Exposure to smoke, dust, or strong odors can irritate the nasal passages and result in congestion.
- Viral Infections: Common cold viruses can cause nasal congestion in infants.
- Teething: The process of teething may also contribute to nasal congestion.
- Allergies: Allergic reactions to certain substances, such as pollen or pet dander, can lead to a blocked nose.
- Anatomical Factors: In some cases, anatomical factors like small nasal passages can contribute to nasal congestion in babies.
Natural Remedies for Blocked Nose in Infants
In India, many parents resort to home remedies as they are not only inexpensive but also safe, unlike antibiotics (which may have side effects) and over-the-counter medicines (which should not be given to infants). Here are some of the best home remedies for nose congestion in infants.
Focus on breastfeeding your baby. Breast milk has essential nutrients and antibodies that develop and strengthen your baby’s immune system. A good immune system will help your baby fight against a cold and cough. You can also put a few drops of breast milk into your baby’s nose to open up the nasal passage.
2. Nasal Drops
You can make nasal drops for your baby at home. To 8 teaspoons of water, add ½ a teaspoon of salt and mix well with a sterilised spoon. Pour a few drops into your baby’s nostrils once the solution cools down.
3. Elevating the Head
Elevating your baby’s head with the help of a pillow helps the mucus flow out, thereby opening up the nasal passage.
Keeping your baby hydrated is important, more so when she’s down with a cold. Fluids dilute the mucus and relieve stuffiness in the nose. You can also feed warm and unsweetened apple juice and chamomile tea without honey if she’s older than 6 months.
5. Chicken Soup
Clear chicken soup is another useful home remedy for a cough and cold. Chicken contains anti-inflammatory properties that clear up the nasal passage as well as improve your baby’s immunity.
6. Indirect Steam
In case the nasal congestion is severe, turn on the shower and let the hot water create steam in the restroom. Then, take your baby into the bathroom for a few minutes. You can also give him a bath with warm water.
7. Nasal Aspirator
A nasal aspirator can do wonders for a stuffy nose. Just squeeze the air out of the aspirator and gently insert the tip into your baby’s nostril. Then slowly release the bulb so that the mucus gets sucked into it. Do the same for both the nostrils. After every use, wash the aspirator and sterilise it.
A cool-mist humidifier will create moisture in the air and clear out the congestion in your baby’s nasal passage. In case you don’t have a humidifier, keep a bucket of warm water in her room while she sleeps. The warm water will help ease your baby’s stuffy nose.
9. Mustard Oil Massage
A mustard oil massage is another effective way of treating cold and nasal congestion. To 1/4th cup of mustard oil, add 3-4 cloves of roughly crushed garlic and methi (fenugreek) seeds and heat it. Once the oil cools down, massage your baby with it. Apply the oil to the nasal bridge, forehead, cheekbones, chest and the back with soft and gentle hand movements.
10. Gently Patting
This is a simple baby stuffy nose remedy. Lay your baby across your knees and pat her back gently. This brings the mucus up from the chest, and she can cough it out easily.
11. Warm Compress
Give your infant a warm compress. Soak a small piece of cloth in warm water, squeeze out the excess water and place on her nose and cheeks. Repeat this a few times.
12. Honey and Ginger Mixture
For babies older than 1 year, mix a small amount of honey with ginger juice and give it to them. Honey has soothing properties, while ginger can help alleviate congestion.
13. Eucalyptus Oil
Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and place it in the baby’s room (out of reach). The menthol-like properties can provide relief from congestion.
14. Thyme Tea Steam
Prepare a thyme tea by steeping thyme leaves in hot water. Allow it to cool slightly, then inhale the steam by holding your baby near the cup (but not too close) to help ease nasal congestion.
If your baby is old enough to consume solids, consider incorporating probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, into their diet. Probiotics may support the immune system and overall health, potentially reducing the frequency and severity of colds.
16. Neti Pot (Saline Rinse)
For older infants, a gentle saline rinse using a pediatric Neti pot can help flush out nasal congestion. Use a saline solution specifically designed for infants, and follow the instructions carefully to ensure safe and effective nasal irrigation. Always consult with your pediatrician before attempting this method.
When Should You Visit the Paediatrician?
If home remedies aren’t working for your baby, she may need a medical check-up.
Consider visiting a paediatrician if:
- The cold doesn’t clear up within three weeks.
- Your baby takes quick breaths.
- She is running a high temperature.
- She coughs up blood.
- Your baby’s condition seems to be getting worse.
- Your little one has a persistent sore throat.
- You see her wheezing and her skin turning pale or blue.
How Does the Diagnosis Happen?
A paediatrician will check your baby’s temperature and observe her breathing pattern. For more clarity on her health condition, an X-ray may be suggested.
1. How Can You Help Your Infant Sleep With a Blocked Nose?
Ensure the baby’s head is elevated using a pillow or crib wedge to allow natural drainage of mucus. Ensure proper support for the neck. This sleeping position is optimal for infants experiencing a blocked nose.
2. Are Over-the-Counter Medications Safe for Babies With a Blocked Nose?
Over-the-counter medications are generally not recommended for infants without consulting a pediatrician. Many of these medications may not be safe for young children and can have side effects. It’s crucial to seek professional advice before giving any medication to infants, and pediatricians may recommend specific remedies or treatments based on the baby’s age and health condition.
Home remedies for cold, cough and nasal block are practised in every Indian household. However, we must understand that all cases of nasal congestion cannot be cured through home remedies. Care and precaution should be taken in case of babies. If the symptoms do not subside, an immediate visit to a paediatrician is a must.
1. Common Cold; University of Rochester Medical Center; https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=P00620
2. Nasal Wash Treatment; National Jewish Health; https://www.nationaljewish.org/conditions/medications/asthma-medications/alternative/nasal-wash-treatment
3. Stuffy or runny nose – children; Mount Sinai; https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/stuffy-or-runny-nose-children
4. Nasal Saline Rinse; Children’s Minnesota; https://www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials/childrensmn/article/16567/nasal-saline-rinse/
5. Suctioning the Nose with a Bulb Syringe; Nationwide Children’s; https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/helping-hands/suctioning-the-nose-with-a-bulb-syringe
6. Breastfeeding; Johns Hopkins Medicine; https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/breastfeeding-your-baby/breastfeeding
7. Why your wheezing baby may need TLC, not medication; Harvard Health Publishing; https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-your-wheezing-baby-may-need-tlc-not-medication-201601128959