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How to treat your baby’s blocked nose

A stuffy nose can be uncomfortable for your baby, as well as affect his feeding and mean he doesn’t sleep well. Although it can be worrying, common colds are common in young children as their immune system is still developing. According ot the NHS, children will get colds far more frequently than we do as adults, and symptoms include a blocked or runny nose, sneezing or a high temperature. 

Although colds aren't normally serious, you should visit your GP if you notice any of the following: 

  • The cold has not cleared up within three weeks 
  • If your child is under three months old and has a temperatue of 38 degrees, or 39 degrees if they are between 3-6 months 
  • If your child is struggling to breathe
  • If they are coughing up blood
  • If they have a persistent sore throat 
  • If they seem to be getting worse rather than better 

How should I treat my baby's blocked nose? 

Usually your baby’s nasal congestion will clear up by itself within a week, but if not, there are lots of products to help clear his airways. You can use an infant nasal suction aspirator to help clear the mucus from his little nose, or saltwater nasal drops or spray. If your baby’s blocked nose doesn’t clear and he still has problems breathing after suctioning, visit your GP. 

We’ve picked out the best products to help ease congestion and treat your baby’s blocked nose so he can breathe more clearly:

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BEABA Ballidoo Electric Nasal Aspirator, £39, amazon.co.uk

It’s not always fun cleaning your baby’s nose but you can do it easily with this electric aspirator. It has a low noise level so it won’t scare your baby and the small ergonomic shape makes it easy to hold. You can also adjust the aspiration strength according to your little one’s age.
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Stérimar Kids Spray, £7.05, Amazon

This nasal spray is safe to use from three months old, so perfect if your baby has picked up the sniffles. It’s a 100% natural isotonic solution made from seawater that gently clears and unblocks your baby’s nostrils by clearing impurities and moisturising nasal passages. In clinical studies, it’s been proven to improve breathing which leads to better feeding and sleeping. 
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Boots Pharmaceuticals Mild Vapour Rub 3 Months Plus, £3.39, boots.com

This vapour rub contains a combination of volatile oils for effective cold relief. It can be used to clear congestion, blocked noses and coughs due to colds. Rub a small amount into your toddler’s chest and back, when needed. Especially useful if applied just before bedtime to aid sleep.
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ElectrIQ Air Purifier, £49.99, Amazon

This purifier helps clear and also prevent congestion, by clearing the air of your baby’s room of bacteria, indoor pollutants and odours, too. It uses special filters and ionisers, which sterilise the air and kill bacteria. The result is a much more hygienic and natural environment for your baby which can help ease and prevent allergies and congestion.
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Snufflebabe Inhaler Dummy, £7, tesco.com

This dummy has been created by doctors to use alongside Snufflebabe vapour oil. You simply put a few drops into the special compartment in the dummy, which sits near your baby’s nose, so that he can inhale the vapours while he sucks on the dummy. The oil contains a blend of lemon, pine and tea tree essential oils. Suitable from three months.
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Aleva Naturals Bamboo Breathe Easy Baby Wipes, £8.80, amazon.co.uk

These wipes are made from bamboo and enriched with a natural saline solution, eucalyptus and menthol oils. They’re also soft on sore, dry noses, so are great if your baby (or you) is bunged up. They are also 100% biodegradable so can be flushed away like normal toilet paper.
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Weleda Rhinodoron Spray, £7.95, Amazon

This natural nasal spray contains moisturising aloe vera and saline solution to help break down and clear the crusty covering inside a congested nose that makes it difficult for your toddler to breathe. Suitable from three months.
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Cussons Mum & Me Baby Bath to Comfort Snuffles, £3.49, Boots.com

A warm bath will help to soothe a poorly baby and the damp atmosphere can help to loosen mucus in your baby’s bunged up nose, too. Cussons Mum & Me Baby Bath to Comfort Snuffles contains a menthol fragrance to help ease congestion. Mild bubbles gently cleanse and the added moisturiser helps to care for your baby’s skin. It’a also hypoallergenic and paediatrician approved.
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Olbas For Children, £3.80, Amazon

Specially formulated for infants over three months, Olbas for Children contains a combination of essential pure plant oils, including eucalyptus, mint, clove, juniperberry and cajuput to act as a gentle decongestant to relieve stuffy noses and catarrh and ease natural breathing. Simply place four to six drops on a tissue and hold close to your toddler’s nose so he can breathe in the vapour. 
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Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator, £7.49, Amazon

The device works by helping you suck the mucus out of your baby’s nose to ease his congestion. No, don’t worry, you don’t have to eat your baby’s bogies. There’s a clever filter that means you insert the tube into your baby’s nose, and suck, without getting a mouthful of mucus.

What home remedies can help my baby's blocked nose? 

  1. Saltwater: If your baby is under six months old, try putting a few drops of saline into each nostril. You can then use a bulb syringe to remove mucus. This simple home remedy works by thinning the mucus which can help your baby feel more comfortable. It's suitable for babies of all ages, however older babies may get fussy when using the bulb. 
  2. Removing any hard mucus: You might notice your baby's nose looks crusty or sticky, however it can help to clean this away to prevent it blocking the nose. You can clean this with cotton wool and warm water. 
  3. Sit in the bathroom together: If you don't want to buy a vaporizer, sitting in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes with your baby is just as good. 
  4. Keep your baby hydrated: Being hydrated thins mucus. Use the saline steps above to try and clear congestion if your baby is reluctrant when feeding. 
  5. Keep your baby upright: This can help mucus drain. Try and encourage your little one to nap in her car seat or swing (whilst keeping an eye on her) so she gets some much needed sleep! 

How can I help my baby sleep better at night when they have a blocked nose? 

As you know, when you've got a cold things can seem much worse when lying down, and this is the same for your baby. For her daytime naps, try and keep her as upright as possible to help the mucus to drain: if you can, try and encourage your baby to sleep in her car seat or swing. 

You might also want to slightly elevate her head when sleeping as this will make breathing easier - fold a small towel and place it underneath your baby's mattress. However, be sure to keep an eye on your baby. 

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