How to Help Your Stuffy Baby Breathe Better Fast

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Having a stuffy baby is the worst! Watching them cry in frustration from not being able to eat or sleep can you make you both downright miserable! Today I’ll give you some of the best tips and remedies I’ve found dealing with my own, always stuffed up babe.

Cute baby with baby aspirator in nose

When your baby is stuffed up and congested, it can be physically and emotionally draining.

After all, babies need their nose to breathe while they eat and they eat so often!

My baby was blessed with my allergies and having to clear his nose was a constant struggle. 

Luckily there are lots of remedies to help your baby’s blocked nose clear up quickly.

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Using Saline Drops (the right way) To Clear Up Baby’s Nose

Saline drop solutions are basically water with salt added to them, making them closer to the bodies’ natural fluids.

They work by loosening up the mucus in your baby’s nose to make it easier to suck the mucus out.

The salt in the saline solution also helps to clear nasal congestion by shrinking the blood vessels inside the nose so that your baby doesn’t produce so much mucus.

It’s a temporary solution, but it’s quick and easy (except for the squirming baby part) and can be repeated as necessary.

To use the saline drops effectively lay your baby flat on a soft surface. Drop a few of the saline 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 and risk growing harmful bacteria in it. 

Use an Aspirator to Suck Out Mucus

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 you would have no idea and wouldn’t be able to check it without cutting it open.

You risk squeezing the mold directly back up into your babies nose. 

This could be a total disaster for your baby’s health.

I was one of those moms that freaked out the first time my baby had a stuffy nose.

After all, he couldn’t eat with his nose blocked up like that.

This sent me into an aspirator shopping frenzy. 

I bought every type of aspirator I could find in a desperate attempt to find something that would work for my baby.

I didn’t much care for any of them except for the nose frida.

This strange little thing works really well and is a lot gentler than the bulb suction because you have complete control over the suction.

My baby was much more tolerant of it. Even at 2 months old he would tilt his head toward the little device getting ready for it.

I guess he knew it would help him breathe better!

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 silently chanted “my baby needs me, don’t be a wimp.”)

Rest assured, no mucous gets anywhere near your mouth. It gets sucked up from the babies nose into a small filtered container, far from your mouth.

Using the nose frida to aspirate a baby's clogged nose.

The Power Of Steam

Another way to help unclog your stuffy baby is to use some hot steam. 

Now, I do not mean boiling water and holding your baby over it! 

Instead, what works well is a nice steamy shower.

The easiest way is to simply go into the bathroom and run a hot shower. You can put a towel under the door if it has a large gap. 

The steam will help loosen up the mucous and open up the airway.

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 them down before bed.

Another perk is that it can even help your stuffy baby to breathe better.

You can read my favorite recipe for a baby herb bath here. In this case, I’d concentrate on chamomile & lavender to help calm baby for sleep.

The warmth of 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.

I prefer to use organic teas with my baby. This brand of tea is my favorite, has chamomile and lavender in each bag and is all organic.

It’s delicious and calming for mama too!

And in case your wondering, chamomile is considered safe for nursing moms.


You can use a humidifier to keep the room moist while your baby sleeps.

This can help keep the mucus 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 babies.

In fact, eucalyptus and menthol vapors can irritate baby’s sensitive lungs and even cause breathing distress (this includes essential oils.)

It’s best to stay clear of these completely until your child is older.

We used a cool air humidifier, and it worked like a charm while our baby was sleeping.

What to Do When Your Baby Has a Stuffy Nose at Night

Another way to help your congested baby is by keeping his head above the rest of his body.

This allows the mucus to flow and reduces congestion.

During the day this is easy, you can simply let baby sleep on you or let him sleep in a baby carrier if you are running around.

At night you can put a few towels under one side of your baby’s mattress to elevate their head.

Unfortunately, if you co-sleep this is a bit more difficult.

For safe co-sleeping, it’s not recommended to sleep with your baby on your chest. (Although technically co-sleeping is not recommended at all by the APA.)

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 headboard.

Or using bed risers just under the headboard feet.

If you have a floor bed you can use extra blankets and such to create an incline under your mattress.

Extra skin to skin

Skin to skin time is an excellent way to help your baby through a variety of issues, including congestion.

If your baby is feeling sick, try to find extra time during the day to rest in bed with them and give extra skin to skin.

This is a great way for breastfeeding moms to help their sick baby feel better fast, but it’s also beneficial for formula-fed babies as well.

It feels amazing and has so many benefits for baby’s health. There are numerous studies that show that pre-term babies improve faster if given daily skin to skin time. (source)

Fewer studies have been done on healthy full-term babies, but I’m sure that it’s just as beneficial for them too.

Having a stuffy baby can be really hard. But using just one or two of these tips should help you clear up your baby’s nose fast!

How to help your stuffy nose baby breathe better. Simple tips and tricks to make your sick baby feel better.
unclogging a babys nose
how to clear a stuffed up baby

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