Up until they are six months of age babies really are nose-breathers, so when your infant gets a stuffy nose she may be quite fussy. As you might imagine, it is tough to suck and breathe at the same time when your nose is stuffed up! The best way to clear an infant’s nose is to suction with the bulb syringe. To make it easier to suction you can use saline nose drops which may be purchased at your local pharmacy. However, did you know that you can also make saline drops yourself? Just mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt in 4 ounces of lukewarm water and stir it until the salt dissolves. Then using a clean medicine dropper, place 3 to 4 drops into one of your baby’s nostrils and suction. Do the same with the other nostril. This will loosen up any dried mucus and make it easier for you to clear your baby’s nose. It’s helpful to do this before feedings and bedtime.
Using a cool mist humidifier in your baby’s room will also help to keep noses clearer and less dry and stuffy. Find an inexpensive humidifier that is easy to keep clean.
Babies are better able to deal with their nasal congestion and mucus if they are upright. Your baby may sleep in his/her carseat or infant seat during the day. Just be careful to fasten them safely into the seat. At night, you may want to elevate the head of the crib mattress. You can do this by raising the springs up a notch, or by placing a folded blanket under one end of the mattress.
Baking soda and Skin irritation
Itchy body rashes, diaper rashes and bug bites can be difficult to deal with in a very young child. Baking soda is non-toxic and inexpensive. For skin irritations simply sprinkle some into the bath water. It is also possible to make a soothing lotion that is safe to apply to the face or any other area where you might otherwise be concerned about applying a medicated cream. Just mix some baking soda with water and dab it on the affected areas. Even better, store the mixture in the fridge so it is nice and cold when it is applied. The cold temperature will help alleviate the itch. Baking soda won’t sting eyes and won’t harm your young child if it gets into his or her mouth.
**In addition to the Top Ten and the very comprehensive list of health topics on our General Health Information page, parents may find information on many other pediatric health issues on the Healthy Children website.