Help Your Stuffy Baby
When your little one gets a cold all you want to do is help your stuffy baby feel better. These simple techniques can help you and your baby get more rest and peace of mind.
Saline drop solutions are basically water with salt added to them. They work by loosening up the mucus in your baby’s nose to make it easier to suck those boogies out. It also helps decrease the nasal secretions by shrinking the blood vessels inside the nose, so that it can’t produce as much mucous. It’s a temporary solution, but can be repeated as necessary and it’s quick and easy (except for the squirming baby part.)
To use them effectively lay your baby flat and drop a few drops into baby’s nose. Wait a minute to let it work, and gently use an aspirator to suck the mucus and saline solution back out. Just make sure when you spray it into their nose, you pull it out completely before letting go. Otherwise, you may suck mucous back into your saline bottle.
The aspirator they give you at the hospital is probably the best quality one you’ll find in the bulb form, however it’s impossible to keep clean. It can grow mold very easily and causes a serious health concern. I personally bought several aspirators (a desperate first-time mom move.) and didn’t care for any of them except for the nose frida.
This thing works really well and is a lot gentler than the bulb suction because you completely control the suction. My little one was much more tolerant of it, I swear that at 2 months old he would even tilt his head toward the little device when i brought it toward his nose, No joke!
It’s basically a little hose that mom sucks through one end with the baby attached to the other. It may sound a little (or a lot) gross, but I assure you it’s not. I did have to psych myself out the first time I used it ( I had to silently chant “my baby needs me, don’t be a wimp.”) Rest assured, no mucous gets anywhere near your mouth. It gets contained into a little filter far from the sucking action.
Help your stuffy baby by closing off the bathroom and turning on a hot shower. The steam will help loosen all that mucous and open up the air way. This works great for the nose if you feed your baby while the steam is going. This will force him to breathe through his nose and help open up it up. You could even get in a warm (not hot) shower with your baby.
The warm water and skin to skin will make him feel better. I usually had my husband undress him and hand him to me to make it easier. It’s a very soothing experience and great for bonding. In fact, my first one was such a fussy baby that there were times I couldn’t calm him. I’d take him in the shower with me and it would instantly to soothe him.
Its best to time the showers right before bed, to help them get a little extra sleep before they become stuffy again. If your baby is getting really frustrated during feedings you may want to take him into the steamy bathroom for meals.
An Herbal Baby Bath
An herbal baby bath is great for baby’s skin and can help calm and even destuff your baby. You can read all about baby herb baths here. In this case, I’d concentrate on chamomile & lavender to help calm baby for sleep. The warmth from the bath will help break up congestion too. In a pinch, you can use a few tea bags and put them in very hot water. Let it get cool enough for baby, and you’ve got a quick, calming bath.
You can use a humidifier to keep the room moist while you baby sleeps. This can help keep the mucous flowing more freely and reduce congestion. Some humidifiers come with those little vicks menthol packs to use with them, but these aren’t meant for baby. In fact, eucalyptus and menthol vapors can irritate baby’s sensitive lungs and even cause breathing distress (Yes, this includes essential oils.) Best to stay clear of these completely until your child is older.
Keep baby’s head up
Another way to help your stuffy baby is by keeping his head above the rest of his body. This reduces congestion. During the day this is easy, you can simply let baby sleep on you or let him sleep in a carrier if you are running around. At night you can put a few towels under one side of baby’s mattress to elevate their head.
Unfortunately, if you co-sleep this is much more difficult. For safe co-sleeping, it’s not recommended to sleep with baby on your chest. (Although technically it’s not recommended at all by the APA, but I don’t agree with this, & yes, we are co-sleepers.) You can however, find a way to elevate the head of your bed if possible. This requires some creativity though. Some people have had success with large bricks under the feet of their frame. If you have a mattress on the floor, like we did, you can use extra blankets and such to create an incline under your mattress.
Extra skin to skin
This is sorta my go-to fix for any baby issue. If your little one is feeling cruddy, try to find extra time during the day to rest in bed with them and give extra skin to skin. It feels amazing and has so many benefits on baby’s health. There are numerous studies that show that pre-term babies improve faster if given daily skin to skin time. This study stated that 20 minutes of skin to skin drastically reduced stress hormones in babies. Sometimes if I know my baby is feeling bad ill take my shirt off strip him down to his diaper and wear him in our moby wrap. If I need to move around I toss a loose zip up sweatshirt around us and he’s happy as a clam.