How to Help a Baby Whose Nose Is Stopped Up

Use a portable vaporizer or humidifier to add moisture to the air. The moisture can help to loosen the mucus that is causing the nasal congestion. Set the humidifier in the room you spend most of your time with your baby. Move it to your child's room approximately 30 minutes before bedtime. Use only cool mist vaporizers and humidifiers. If you don't have either of these units, steam up the bathroom with the shower and sit in the room for a few minutes to relieve congestion.

Prop up your infant's crib from beneath the mattress to help relieve congestion only after consulting with your health care practitioner, recommends the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Do not prop up an infant's head with a pillow. Since pillows are a suffocation hazard for young infants and they are not recommended until a child is about two years of age and no longer sleeping in a crib.

Administer saline drops to your infant's nostrils with a medicine dropper to loosen mucus. You can pick up the drops at a local pharmacy or make your own with about 1/8 teaspoon salt and 4 ounces of warm water. Tilt your baby's head back slightly and squeeze just one or two drops into each nostril and then keep your baby's head in the same position to allow the saline to maximize the solution's effectiveness.

Extract mucus from your baby's sinuses with a rubber bulb syringe. If the saline is not entirely effective on its own, use this syringe afterward to extract the loosened mucus. Squeeze the syringe bulb to force the air out, tilt your baby's head back gently and insert the rubber tip of the syringe into one nostril. As you release the bulb slowly, the suction created will extract the mucus. Do the same for the other nostril to help alleviate stuffiness.

Breastfeed your baby in an upright position when her sinuses are congested, recommends the La Leche League International. This position helps to encourage mucus to drain down the nasal passage during feedings.

Things You Will Need

  • Cool mist vaporizer or humidifier
  • Saline drops
  • Medicine dropper
  • Rubber bulb syringe

The Best to Places to Put a Humidifier


A lack of moisture in the air while you sleep increases the likelihood of nasal congestion, which causes coughing and interrupted sleep. The bedroom should be humid to improve your ability to breathe steadily while sleeping for a good night's rest.

Living Room

The living room is often one of the most frequently used rooms of the home besides the bedroom, and it benefits from a warm- or cool-mist humidifier maintains your furniture and hardwood floors by providing moisture. According to Real Simple, the humidifier provides moisture to reduce wood cracking.

Child's Room

Just as you benefit from a humidifier, a cool-mist humidifier moisturises your child's skin and decreases congestion caused by sinus problems. Cool-mist humidifiers are suggested over warm-mist, as the risk of injury is high if a child accidentally tips over the warm-mist humidifier.

Flat surfaces

Set the humidifier on a flat surface to avoid water leakage. The surface should be hard and not upholstered, as upholstered surfaces absorb moisture, allowing bacteria to grow in the fabric. Keep warm-mist humidifier at least two to three feet away from you to avoid accidental burns. For do-it-yourself humidifiers, place a pot full of tap water on top of a steam radiator to add moisture to the air.

The best humidifiers for newborns

Cool mist humidifiers

Cool mist humidifiers work by turning water into vapour through a rapidly turning disk within the water. A benefit of the cool mist humidifier is that it uses cool water. This helps parents feel secure that a child won't be scalded or burnt if the child gets close to the vapour or in case of an accidental spill. There are drawbacks to cool mist humidifiers as well. Cool water can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mould. With no heat involved, distilled water should be used instead of tap water because these machines disperse the minerals in tap water into the air. The maintenence for cool mist humidifiers include washing the tank daily with soap and water to cut down on bacteria and mould growth. Cool mist humidifiers help in aiding breathing with asthma and other related conditions along with sinus issues.

Warm mist humidifiers

Warm mist humidifiers, also known as steam vaporisers, work by using a heating element to cause steam. While these humidifiers cut down the risk of mould and bacteria being dispersed into the air, the water temperature is very high which adds the risk of being burnt. These machines are not recommended for use around young children. You can use tap water safely in a warm mist humidifier because the heating element effectively kills the bacteria and mould. This benefit also makes this type machine more cost effecient for new parents. Warm mist humidifiers help with cold, coughs and sinus infections. You can also use medicated inhalants with this type of humidifiers.

Ultrasonic humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers work by using a metal diaphragm that vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency. This causes vibrations in the water which produce a cool fog. This humidifier has the benefits of both the warm and cool mist humidifier with no heating element and minimal bacteria and mould dispersement. The ultrasonic humidifier does send minerals from tap water into the air. This causes the use of this machine to be a bit more costly by having to use distilled water. Ultrasonic humidifiers help with asthma, cough, cold and sinus infections.

What Kind of Humidifier Is Best for Babies With Colds?

Cool Mist or Steam?

While steam vaporizers have several advantages over cool mist units -- heating kills bacteria, for one -- the risk of burns from an overturned unit or from getting too close to the steam outweighs the benefits. Although steam might seem more soothing, by the time it hits the lower respiratory tract, it's the same temperature as the mist from the cool humidifiers, the Mayo Clinic website explains. Cool-mist humidifiers are also cheaper to run than steam units, since they don't require electricity.

Filter, Impeller or Ultrasonic?

If you're looking for a quiet unit that doesn't disturb your baby's sleep, look to an ultrasonic unit or one that uses an impeller; both are quieter than evaporative models. Impeller models use a high-speed rotating disc to produce a cool mist; ultrasonic units produce mist with the help of ultrasonic vibration. Evaporative units use a fan, which produces more noise, to push air through a wet wick filter.

Bacteria Busters

Bacteria can grow in water that sits in a humidifier. For this reason, you must empty it every time you turn it off and refill only before you're ready to use it again. Choose a model that's easy to empty and refill in order to increase the chance that you'll actually do it every time. Models that don't fit under your faucet can be a pain to fill, meaning you might be tempted to cut corners and leave water inside rather than emptying it. Putting a cleaning cartridge in the tank helps reduce bacteria and mold growth for up to 30 days.

Having a Humidistat

Too much moisture in the air, like too little, can cause problems for people with asthma or other respiratory disorders. Excess moisture promotes mold growth, which can aggravate allergies and lung conditions. A humidifier with a built-in humidistat helps you keep the humidity in your child's room between 30 percent to 50 percent, the recommended amount, says. Keeping the humidity at 30 percent in the winter months and no more than 50 percent in the summer helps prevent mold growth, according to the Health Canada site.