Does your little one have a runny, blocked nose that just won’t quit? Even when they’re not sick with the cold or flu? ‘Snuffles’ are a common, but pesky problem—making feeds and sleep more complicated than they need to be. Here’s what you can do to help your snuffly bubs.
In the first few months of life, nasal mucous builds up in the nostrils, and because babies can’t blow their own nose (let alone move their hands in a coordinated effort to do anything) chronic congestion occurs. This is especially uncomfortable to tots as the nasal passages swell, so air can’t get through without some struggle.
Causes for the snuffles—besides the inability to get rid of mucous build-up themselves—include allergies (milk proteins in dairy products are a typical trigger), and reactions to things like perfume or cigarette smoke.
The condition tends to right itself as the baby gets older, but if the congestion is hampering proper feeds, it’s advised to contact your doc. To ease the blockage at home, baby nasal aspirators can help; first use some saline drops or spray to soften the mucous, and then gently use the aspirator. You can also sit with baby in a steamy bathroom: turn on the shower or hot tap and shut the door. Alternatively, invest in a humidifier—but remember to keep it out of reach as the devices get hot.
While your baby is awake, keep her positioned on a slight incline to help assist mucous drainage, but never use this positioning for sleep as infants must sleep on a firm, flat surface.