Miracle Cure for Baby Congestion

30 Dec

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Are you looking for the miracle cure for your baby’s congestion?  Me too.  Sorry, it just doesn’t exist.  I tell families all the time that if I find it I will market it and retire.

In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help.

1) Suction, suction, suction.  Your old friend the bulb suction (aka nasal aspirator or booger-sucker) is the best thing you have against congestion.  Many times people tell me they don’t get anything out when they use it but that is usually because they aren’t doing it right.  Depress the bulb, push the tip in the nose until you have a seal on the nostril and then release.  Repeat for each side.  There are other devices that you can use to accomplish the same goal.  I’ve seen a mom place her mouth directly over the nose and suck (yeah, wow) and there’s also the battery operated device.  The other one that I have a handful of families using is the Nose Frida (http://www.fridababy.com).  This device allows you to suck mucous out of baby’s nose with a tube that has a filter in it.  Seems kinda weird to me but my families who use it swear by it.

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My two main recommendations about suction are that you should stop whenever you are no longer getting anything and that you shouldn’t suction thousands of times a day.  If you continue to suction without production, you are only causing swelling in the nasal passage and making the problem worse.  If the child is happy and noisy, there is no reason to suction them.  Reserve your suction times to before meals and at bedtime.  If they are just noisy, it is bothering you more than it is bothering them.

2) Nasal saline drops-putting some nasal saline drops in the nose can be very helpful with that hard to reach congestion in the back of the nose and when the congestion seems to be thickening such that it cannot be extracted with suction.  Just place a few drops to each side of the nose and then pull with suction to get a little more snot out.

3) Humidity-keeping the nose nice and moist actually helps to smooth the air flow as it goes from the nose to the trachea and into the lungs.  This helps the babies breathing stay comfortable.  I get asked all the time about whether it should be warm or cool mist and I frankly don’t care.  If you have child have bad congestion/coughing, getting the bathroom with the shower going can be helpful as well.

4) Upright positioning-having the baby sleep in a little bit of an upright position can help that drainage to go on down in the tummy instead of sitting in the back of the throat.  We don’t want our babies sleeping in the swing all the time but if you need to in order to help them breathe for the night, then I’m ok with the trade-off.

5) Vicks baby rub-The Vicks baby rub is able to be used as young as 3 mo old.  I used to make fun of grandmothers in my office for this all the time until April 2010 when an independent study showed that it was useful.  How the heck does rubbing some chemical on the baby’s feet or chest help with congestion you might ask??  I don’t know either but the study and my personal experience since then say that it does.

So, these are my helpful tips for congestion.

Any one else have anything that they have used out there?  Any one used the Nose Frida?


16 Responses to “Miracle Cure for Baby Congestion”

  1. kelly December 31, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    Vicks does help, but we have found eucalyptus globulus on the feet covered with socks, and a few drops on shirt a few times a day works great and preferred over cold chests with vicks….works awesome for coughing too. Our pedi also recommends Briar Rose and Lithy Tree and vitamin D3, and suctioning of course like you said….

    • jrsmith120880 December 31, 2012 at 4:46 am #

      I have heard about eucalyptus oil and done some research on it in the past. It does seem to be effective but as with anything need to be careful about amount and making sure that your child doesn’t find the bottle as ingestions of even 1 tsp have shown to cause severe toxicity. Briar rose, lithy tree and vitamin D3 are a little harder to find anything about. They seem to be recommended by homeopathic doctors for the most part and no large scale studies on their effectiveness that I can find. I probably wouldn’t recommend them to my patients because of this. Thanks for the comments!

  2. Megan Boyd December 31, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    I have a nose frida. My (almost) 6 month old has RSV. The nose frida is amazing!!! I’ve been doing all the things you’ve listed above! I’m hoping we are at the tail end of this sickness!

    • Megan Boyd December 31, 2012 at 4:51 am #

      I’ve also used the Johnson & Johnson baby vapor bath in my baby’s nightly bath right before bedtime. It seems to open his breathing and relax him right before bed! It’s great!

    • jrsmith120880 December 31, 2012 at 4:53 am #

      RSV typically lasts about 5-7 days with the middle days being the worst if that gives you any idea where you are. Praying your baby gets well soon!

  3. myghan meadow December 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Justin- I just love reading your articles! And I’m not even a mom! Keep up the wonderful writing!

    • jrsmith120880 January 1, 2013 at 2:08 am #

      Glad you like them…will keep working to get stuff out there.

  4. Amanda January 3, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    The nose frida is awesome, but it is very weird! It’s also really easy. I’m pretty sure that only doctors and nurses know how to use that nasal bulb thing correctly!

    • jrsmith120880 January 3, 2013 at 12:49 am #

      That might be true. You have to be more aggressive with the bulb than most families are willing. I was considering adding some video posts later in and had bulb suction use on my list of possible topics. Do you think that would’ve been helpful before you upgraded to the Frida?

      • Amanda January 3, 2013 at 2:44 am #

        Maybe. I think a nurse showed me how to use it shortly after Jude was born, and that is really probably one of the worst teaching moments, especially if the mom had a difficult delivery. I remember being very frustrated trying to use it once we got him home (he was pretty congested for 2 weeks or so), and being so happy to discover the nose frida. I think it could be helpful to show a new parent how to do it during the 1 week checkup, and then direct them to a video they can reference at home when they need to use it again. A lot of people have changed diapers or burped a baby before having their own baby, but most have never used a bulb syringe. It really is learning from scratch.

      • jrsmith120880 January 3, 2013 at 3:02 am #

        That’s an interesting thought. Might be one of the more important things to talk about at the 1 week checkup…back to sleep and feeding issues are my primary points but bulb suction could be right up there…Thanks for the thoughts.

  5. Cherishe. Mondics January 12, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    I have the Nose frida for Caroline. It works great a lot better than a bulb syringe. The one problem I have with it is that the nose piece is a little big for her since she’s such a petite one. Other than that it works wonders.

  6. Keatin January 14, 2013 at 3:40 am #

    I use Johnson & Johnson vapor bath at night when I give my daughter her bath and the combo of warm water and the vapor sent gets her mucus nice and loose. Then I suction her once I get her jammies on. It works like a charm.

  7. Lex Smith January 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    I use lemon essential oil when mine have a runny nose. I put one drop of lemon essential oil/10 drops of almond or coconut oil. There are many kinds of oils and I’m picky about where I get mine. http://Www.nativeamericannutritionals.com is where I order them. I rub it under their nostrils, on their nose, and some on their feet. 9 out of 10 times it makes their nose stop running and they can enjoy an hour or so without me on snot duty. (I can enjoy my shoulders, pant legs, and couches free from the shiny snot bomb)
    We use the Nose Freida it works great! Which is why both of my kids run panic when they see it! Ha!


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