Wednesday 26 September 2012

Nasal Congestion & Mucus

My son has returned to preschool, which means more kids, which means more germs, which means more colds. Yes, yes, germs are "good" to build up their immune system but it's hard seeing your child sick. Very hard. For colds, he hasn't fully grasped the idea of blowing his nose - he relates it more to sneezing so he pretends to sneeze. Like everything, it will come with time - still funny though.

Although I don't remember him being sick as a baby, I remember the couple of times he had a cold and stuffy nose as a toddler. So what can you do if they can't blow their nose at a young age and need to clear the mucus from their little noses?

With loose mucus, you can use those infant suction bulbs or syringes. Although I had one, I never used it because of the feedback I got from my friends. The suction these provide including the rubbing of the syringe itself on the nasal membranes can be irritating, which in turn can cause even more inflammation and worsen or prolong the congestion. They do sell so I assume many have used them successfully.

Another option to remove loose mucus is to go old school - an option that I found gross to be honest. You can gently suck out the mucus by placing your mouth over the nostrils. You should do this for only a few seconds at a time so your baby can breathe - with the nasal passages congested, baby can only breathe through the mouth. Again, yuck!

For me, I chose to use the NoseFrida - my friends in Australia would be familiar with this. It's been available for some time now on this side of the Pacific Ocean. I think it's a God-send. It's better than a suction bulb because the tip is broad so it prevents you from accidentally rubbing it against the nasal membrane. It also provides you with more control over the strength of your sucking. Plus with the casing and filters, it's not yucky like the old school way. Of course, the more difficult task is getting your wriggly baby to stay still or older baby to cooperate but one could argue that this is a challenge with all methods.

For dried mucus, a saline solution/spray can sooth the inflamed membranes and help loosen the dried mucus blocking the nasal passages. I bought my spray but you can also make your own by using 1/4 teaspoon non-iodine table salt to 1 cup of gently warmed water. They say to use a dropper to get several drops in each nostril or use a wet cotton ball to squeeze several drops in. I prefer the spray versus dropper as it often triggered sneezing, which often cleared out the mucus.

Other tips that won't remove mucus but will help with nasal congestion are listed below.
  • Elevate baby's head safely to help keep airways open
  • Turn on the shower to create steam
  • Use a vaporizer in your baby's room
  • Use an all natural, non-petroleum based chest rub - many are not safe for young babies so ask the baby's doctor
  • Avoid products and detergents that contain fragrances or scents - babies have their own natural perfect smell
  • Use an air purifier to minimize airborne irritants - good for everyone, not just baby
  • Similar to the last point, I had the house vents cleaned especially given the age of my house as well as the year-long renovations last year

I'm sure there are many other tips but wanted to share some of mine with you. Oh I forgot - reason for this post is because my son has a cold. Poor guy but honestly, it doesn't stop my son - he is still energetic and active.

Summary point - go buy a NoseFrida for baby pick-up!

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!


  1. Thanks for the suggestion - I love this. My kids grew up with the "bulb of terror" as we liked to call our nasal suction bulb. I don't know what was worse the screams at the sight of the bulb or the stuffy nose. This seems like a great idea!

  2. You're very welcome. Kids are very good at conveying (loudly) what they fear and don't like! LOL! I'm not suggesting they love it but for me, it was so easy to use. Cheers!