Aside from trimming those tiny nails and cleaning the ears, one of the things that new parents should learn is how to clean their baby’s nose.
Cleaning the nose of a baby is necessary, as they are still incapable of doing so. Babies’ noses can get blocked up, too and it might be a problem for them to breathe properly. They have very narrow nasal passages that can be blocked too easily.
If you notice your baby snorting, not feeding well and being irritable out of nowhere, that could signify a problem with their nose.
Nasal congestion picks no age to annoy, but babies who are incapable of cleaning their noses are a big problem. Treating your baby’s dirty and blocked-up nose is very important for them to breathe properly while breastfeeding.
Of course, we need simple solutions and “how-tos” that can allow us to maintain the cleanliness of our babies’ noses quickly with just a tiny bit of resistance from them.
Boogers and Other Causes of Blockage in Newborn’s Nose
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Often, babies can be resistant to nasal congestion remedies. And before doing their nose with a bulb syringe or aspirator, better confirm if congestion is the problem.
Sometimes, it is quick to determine if your baby’s nose is blocked. Mucus can be easily seen either within the nostrils or surrounding the nose.
Meanwhile, nasal congestion can be evident based on noisy breathing, snorting, or being irritable.
One of the most irritating problems your baby may face is the dry mucus or boogers as we call it. Boogers are not only challenging because it makes your baby irritated, but also these boogers are very difficult to clean out of their nose.
The following reasons can cause your baby to have dry mucus in their nose:
- reduced nasal airflow
- an upper respiratory problem, allergies, or other common cold symptoms
- lack of enough saliva due to dehydration
- frequent blowing of the nose that dries out the mucus
- dryness and not enough humidity in the air that stops noses from producing moist efficiently
What Other Factors Cause a Blocked Nose?
There are possible reasons why babies’ noses are blocked. It could be because of surroundings, common conditions, or illnesses. These are the following causes:
- Common colds or flu – this may cause mucus to block nasal passages, and shortness of breathing, and may be severe.
- Being exposed to dry air – lack of hydration in the air could also cause narrowed nasal passages to make moist, resulting in problems in inhaling more dirt
- Allergic reactions – some babies could have allergies to different factors like food, perfume, dirt, etc. Better confirm this condition with your doctor.
- Deviated septum (when nasal septum is displaced to one side, making the other nasal passage narrower than the other)
- Being exposed to pollutants, dirt, and irritants (causing boogers) – perfumes, cigarette smoke, pet dander, pollens, or house dust can all cause irritation, pollution to a baby’s nose.
- Serious illnesses – Respiratory syncytial syndrome (RSV) is an illness that can cause your baby to have nasal congestion, a hard cough, and suffer from some degree of difficulty in breathing. This can also create an illness called bronchiolitis. It is usually along with other symptoms like fever, irritability, and trouble eating.
Generally, babies are more prone to nasal blockage or congestion than adults and other children. Definitely, because their nasal passages are tinier than anyone, and need to develop over time.
Congestion is mild, but babies being incapable of cleaning their own noses, parents should be wary.
How to Clean Baby’s Nose: 3 Different Ways
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When you have a stuffy nose, you may resolve it by blowing it out moderately. However, your baby cannot do this alone. These are alternative methods for cleaning the nose of a baby, and how to do these often.
When suctioning a baby’s nose, we can use the methods of nasal spraying, bulb syringe, and nasal aspiration.
The use of these methods can be done 3 to 4 times a day. Any more usage than that might result in damaging the nasal passages. This will cause irritation and bleeding.
These methods are recommended to be done before feedings, to help the baby breathe properly while being nursed or drinking in the bottle.
Breathing and sucking in the mouth at the same time is difficult for babies, so their noses should be cleared to have a good feeding time.
You may notice that when babies’ noses are blocked, they find it hard to feed. So, mummies tend to feed their babies more, seeing their babies feed for only a short time.
This situation may make you neglect their hidden condition, which is having nasal issues.
A saline nasal spray or drops are one of the best ways to clean your baby’s nose. This spray or drop thins out mucus in the nasal passage to provide temporary clearing of congestion.
This is a recommended method for most paediatricians because of the force with which they go in the nose.
What to do:
- Lay your baby down on their back.
- Put a hand or pillow under their neck. Tilt their head back at a slight angle.
- Put one to two drops of saline into each nostril.
- Wait for a few minutes before turning your baby into their stomach.
- The mucus should flow down at this time. If not, you may use a bulb syringe (read the next method).
- Use any soft cloth or tissue to wipe off any excess mucus or saline that runs out from your baby’s nose.
Bulb syringes can be seen in every baby’s grooming routine kit. These rubber bulb syringes are made specifically for clearing a baby’s nose.
How to use:
- Lay your baby down on its back. Make sure that he is relaxed and comfortable.
- Squeeze all the air out of the bulb first. Make sure that it is flattened in your hand.
- Gently place the tip into your baby’s nose.
- Don’t insert the tip too deeply. But make sure to seal around the nostril to allow suction.
- Release your squeeze on the bulb. This will suck the mucus or any blockage from your baby’s nasal passage into the bulb.
- Squeeze out the stuck blockage to a piece of cloth or tissue before using it again.
- Clean your bulb out to prevent any spread of germs.
A nasal aspirator works like how a bulb syringe works. However, you need to create the suction yourself instead of using the bulb from a bulb syringe.
The aspirator has a tube with a mouthpiece used in gently suck the mucus out of your baby’s nose.
Side tip on using a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator: Put one drop of saline into each nostril. These can melt hard mucus inside your baby’s nasal passage.
How to use:
- Choose the suction power, starting with a lower level. Increase power level if necessary but not too much. This may cause inflammation in your baby’s nasal passages.
- Place the tip into your baby’s nose but not too deeply. Make sure to seal the nostril to create suction.
- Press the power button to turn on suction.
- Release when finished. Just a few seconds may do.
- Clean the filter according to the manual provided by the product manufacturer.
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How to Clean Baby’s Nose Without Using Aspirators
Using cotton buds or swabs may be applicable only for cleaning the nose of your baby if you will clear the outer part of the nostrils.
You must avoid and NEVER stick anything into your baby’s nose to clean it. Never insert cotton swabs, tissues, or cotton balls, inside the nose. This will crucially damage your baby’s nose.
1. Try steaming session: Unclogging nose with water steam therapy
You can try a steaming session with your baby to treat their clogged nose. Pour boiling water into your prepared bath water to make it lukewarm. Sit in the bathing lukewarm water with essential oils or eucalyptus essence while breastfeeding to soothe your baby’s breathing.
2. Cleaning baby’s nose with water while taking a warm bath
Cleaning your baby’s nose can be done also during their bath. Avoid using soap not appropriate for babies because it might irritate their eyes and skin.
A bath with warm water is a recommended method to clean your baby’s face, ears, and nose. The warm water can help reduce nasal congestion.
Pinch your baby’s nose gently while cleaning it with water to thin out the mucus inside their nose. Careful not to overdo it.
3. Place a humidifier in your room: Let your baby’s nose wet
Turn your humidifier on inside your room. Moisture alone can help your baby breathe properly even when sleeping. Humidifiers help in adding moisture to dry air which can help relieve dry skin.
These are the ways you mommies can do whenever your baby’s nose has dirt and congestion. Even so, try asking your doctor’s help for the right and appropriate ways to clean and decongest your baby’s nose.
Image from iStock
When to See the Doctor
Learning how to clean baby’s nose and suction out the snot, along with a few home remedies can save you a trip to the paediatrician. However, there are instances where your baby’s stuffy nose require medical attention.
Bring your baby to the doctor without delay if you notice the following symptoms:
- difficulty in breathing
- flared nostrils
- pulling in at the ribs
- fever (especially in newborns)
If your child’s stuffy nose does not clear out after a few days, better bring him to his paediatrician for a checkup.
This article was written by Nathanielle Torre and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.