Home Remedies for Nasal Congestion
Newborn and Toddler

by Paula

Medicines are not the only way to relieve a stuffy or runny nose. You should first try gentler home remedies for nasal congestion to thin the mucus and help the child breathe easier.

When Marius and I came home from the maternity hospital with Roxana, we knew almost nothing about newborns. We were fortunate enough to have our mothers to aide us with proven remedies and words of comfort.

One problem we faced even from her first days was a congested nose. Roxana had trouble breathing through the nose especially when she was drinking milk.

What we found later is that a stuffy nose is usually caused by common cold, flu or sinus infection. The congestion typically goes away by itself within a week. There are also other causes of nasal congestion like:

  • Hay fever or other allergies
  • Use of some nasal sprays or drops for more than 3 days (may make nasal stuffiness worse)
  • Nasal polyps
  • Pregnancy
  • Vasomotor rhinitis

Newborn
Roxana had a congested nose during her first days of life. In the hospital, the nurses gave me saline vials. This solved the problem and the little one could breathe normally again. However, it was a problem that occurred almost weekly. In this phase, saline was the only home remedy for nasal congestion that I used.

To use it, lay your child on his or her back. Put 2 or 3 saline nose drops into each nostril and wait 30 - 60 seconds. Turn the child on the stomach to help the mucus drain and clean it with a tissue or a swab. Don't insert the cotton swab into the child's nostrils.

Also, you can use a nasal bulb (aspirator) to remove the mucus. It works best if you try this right after the bath because the steam will fluidify the secretions and they will come out easier.

Another tip you can try is to moisten the air with a cool-mist vaporizer (avoid too much moisture) or by putting moistened towels or a pot with water on the radiator.

I heard that other mummies also tried successfully the so-called "wet room" method. They covered the baby's crib with a well drained, moist bed sheet.

Toddler 1-2 years old
After the first year, we used a sea water nasal spray (Sterimar). For quite a few times, Roxana woke up at night crying because she couldn't breathe through the nose, but after just one fssss with the nasal spray in each nostril she would fell asleep again.

One of the safest home remedies for nasal congestion we also used is a few drops of chamomile tea instead of saline drops.

herbs_for_nasal_congestionToddler 2 years old

After 2 years, you can use aromatherapy. Herbal volatile oils are the best, but also the gentlest home remedies for nasal congestion. The most effective proved to be Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Chamomile essential oils.

Eucalyptol is the active substance that gives Eucalyptus oil its decongestant and anti-fever properties.

Put a few drops of essential oil on a moist tissue and leave it 1 meter away from the child's head. Or you can put the drops in water into the aromatic oils lamp.

Check that the oils are of good quality (they won't leave an oily stain on a piece of paper if dripped). They are usually more expensive.

You should first try these gentle remedies instead of medicines to bring nasal congestion relief to your child:

  • Use gentle saline nasal sprays.
  • Increase the humidity in the air with a vaporizer or humidifier.
  • Drink extra fluids. Hot tea, broth, or chicken soup may be especially helpful.

Remember to always check with your physician before using any medicine or herbal remedy.

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