Blocked-up Nose: Infants
Babies are miserable when they have a cold. If their nose is blocked, they can't nurse or suck on a bottle. Here's how we open the nose:
- First: If there is a watery discharge, remove it with a soft rubber suction bulb.
- Second: If the nose is stuffy with little or no discharge, it's usually blocked up with thick dried mucus. Suction alone cannot remove these secretions. Neither can medicines. Warm tap water nose drops are better than any medicine you can buy when it comes to loosening up mucus. They work just as well as normal saline nose drops. For infants, use 1 drop and do 1 nostril at a time. After about one minute, use a suction bulb to suck out the loosened mucus. For removing sticky mucus, a wet cotton swab may also come in handy. Repeat the nosedrops until the nose is open.
- Third: The main error in using warm water nose drops is not waiting long enough for the secretions to free up and not repeating this procedure 2 or 3 times until the breathing comes easily. Your child may cough a few times when the water runs down the back of the throat, but this is harmless.
- Fourth: Moisture in the air helps to loosen nasal secretions. Use a humidifier if you live in a dry climate or develop static electricity in your home.
In summary, you have to learn how to clean out your baby's nose. If you’re having difficulty, ask your child's nurse to show you how to do it. And remember, medicines by mouth have no effect on dried nasal secretions.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 11/1/2002
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.