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Causes and Treatment for Baby’s Blocked Nose

You are going to run into your fair share of obstacles as a parent, and some of the more concerning things will revolve around their health. No baby goes through their early years without getting sick, and most of the time, it’s nothing you should really stress yourself out over. That being said, it can be a good idea to educate yourself on some common problems so you are prepared – or at least know when to consult a primary care physician. One of the first ailments your bundle of joy will likely experience is going to be a blocked nose. 

What is a Blocked Nose?

A blocked or stuffy nose is the layman’s term for congestion problems. This refers to where you are having problems breathing through your nose and it feels like it is clogged.  There are a number of reasons why people of all ages experience a blocked nose from time to time. While the symptom itself is not something to worry about immediately, it is certainly something that causes discomfort to anyone. For those with a baby, you know that these slight discomforts can make a miserable baby. Learning more about this problem can make it much easier to deal with. 

The first thing to do is address the common misconception that blocked noses are just the result of an excess of mucus. Have you ever noticed that when your nose is stuffy, blowing your nose won’t always alleviate the problem? While too much mucus can certainly contribute to breathing problems in anyone, a clogged nose is caused by inflamed blood vessels located in the sinuses and the resulting mucus. 

Causes for blocked nose in a baby 


Babies can have allergies too, and it is not that uncommon at all. You child may have a pollen allergy, animal allergy (such as dogs) or hay fever. If they are experiencing these symptoms right around springtime or after a trip to a local farm, this may be it. If they are experiencing their first encounters with pets or other animals, this may also be the first sign you have that they have an animal allergy. When a baby is experiencing their blocked nose due to allergies, it is often accompanied by other symptoms such as a runny nose, runny eyes, rash, or even diarrhoea.

Visiting a doctor directly will allow your baby to undergo an allergy test so that you can better prepare or treat your child. Although there are some safe medications available for your baby, you may find that avoiding certain activities or keeping them away from certain animals may sold the problem rather immediately and pharmo-free. 

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There are a number of viruses that can contribute to a baby experiencing a runny nose. On the tamer end of things, your baby may have just caught a cold. While a cold can refer to a number of viruses, none of them are exactly curable so you just have to treat the symptoms and try to get your child’s immune system at peak performance. Luckily, a cold is a relatively safe ailment.

Somewhat similar in symptoms however, is the flu virus. The flu can be very dangerous, even lethal if left untreated. The flu is generally characterised by a runny nose rather than an inflamed nose, but the symptoms may be rather similar. The influenza virus is also accompanied by several other symptoms such as a sore throat and very high fever. This is a very dangerous illness for a baby to contract and it is highly recommended to get your vaccines up to date every year to avoid this. 



The source of the problem may lay directly in the sinus itself. Sinuses are air-filled sacs inside the nose. If germs make their way to this area, they may irritate the sinuses and cause infection. In these cases, the mucus will be slightly darker than normal and may be accompanies by a headache. 


Tonsils and Adenoids

Tonsils and adenoids are often the first to be affected by infection. When this happens the tissues of the tonsils and adenoids enlarge. This swelling exerts pressure on the nasal passages and makes it hard to breath and hurt to swallow. Sometimes, this inflammation becomes too much and doesn’t seem to go away.

In these cases, surgery is often advised by a doctor. It is a very common surgery for younger people and the surgery itself is actually much easier to recover from when you are younger. Of course, these procedures require a medical professional. It is up to an experienced medical physician to determine whether or not this surgery is necessary.

It may actually be the secret source behind some other problems you notice with your child such as problems sleeping or reluctance in eating. 

How to sooth a stuffy nose 


Cleaning their nose manually

One way to alleviate some of the irritation is to clean their nose yourself. While you can use one of those mucus suction bulbs or devices, this is not going to work at getting rid of the hard mucus. If your baby’s nose is starting to look a little crusty, you can remove these hard pieces to help them breath a little bit better. All you need is a cotton swab and some warm water. Make the cotton swab damp with warm water and clean around (and just inside) your baby’s nose. Repeat this as necessary. 



Steam is an effective and easy way to clear up nasal packages. There are a number of humidifying devices on the market that can do the trick. They are easy to use and safe to leave on all night long, so you can keep them plugged in while they sleep. Of course, if you need a more immediate remedy or do not want to purchase the humidifier, there is an even easier solution. If you set in the bathroom with your baby with the door closed and run a hot shower, that steam will help just as well. 



Keeping your baby in an upright position allows for gravity to take effect. While this is understudy not always feasible, keeping them off their backs and sides will allow the mucus to drain directly into the stomach vs getting stuck everywhere else and causing breathing problems. There are a number of ways in which you can achieve this ideal position. For one thing, you can meticulously place their pillows in their bed so they are forced to sit upright. It can be especially helpful if you have one of the pillows designed for this. You can also have your baby take a nap in their car seat or in a baby swing. Just remember, in these cases your baby should really remain supervised. 

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Stay Hydrated 

While this should always be something that you keep in mind while watching your baby, this can be a very important thing when dealing with sickness. Of course, there is the obvious notion that staying hydrated keeps you healthy and your immune system at an all time high. It can also help relieve the sore throat associated with a lot of blocked noses. Water also helps thin mucus which can make it much easier on your baby. 



If all else fails and your baby is really miserable, you can always consult with your doctor about an infant-friendly medication. There are a number of options available, many over-the-counter, so your doctor will be able to give you an effective and safe recommendation if necessary. This can be an especially good idea if your baby is prone to getting very sick or if the cause of their blocked nose is a little more serious. 

When should I visit a doctor for my baby’s blocked nose? 

Generally, a blocked nose is nothing to worry about, but it may be the symptom of a serious problem. If left untreated, your baby’s blocked nose should go away in about a week. If this is not the case, your baby may have contracted an illness that needs medical attention. Other signs to look at for when trying to determine if medical care is needed can be found by looking at your baby’s other symptoms. If the baby has a very strong cough or a high fever, contact your doctor right away. 


A blocked nose is a common obstacle that all parents face at one time or another. While it may be scary and difficult to see your baby so uncomfortable, try not to parent. There are a number of explanations for why this happen. Properly educating yourself on your baby’s health is the first step of getting your baby comfortable and giving yourself peace of mind.

Remember, while there are a number of home remedies that can help alleviate a baby’s symptoms, it is important to recognize when medical intervention is necessary. If you are ever unsure of this, contacting your child’s primary care physician can give you all the information you need to keep your child’s health in check.