how to clear baby's blocked nose

Real mums’ tips for curing baby’s blocked nose

It’s amazing how much a baby’s blocked nose can effect your entire household.

If the nasal congestion impacts their ability to breathe through their nose, it can not only cause them a lot of discomfort, but also disrupt their eating and sleeping too. And if they’re not getting any sleep, then you’re not getting any sleep – and that’s when the wheels start to fall off.

Fortunately, there are a few solutions inspired by Nature that can help do the job of curing baby’s blocked nose the natural way, without compromising his health.

So before you fall victim to the power of the blocked nose – try these tips and tricks from some real mums who have been there and done that.

real mums advice 2

Advice from other mums on curing baby’s blocked nose

A cold mist humidifier in the room helps so much. I also elevate his cot and put some baby vapour rub on his chest. I also firmly believe in an onion cut in half in the room, its absorbs the toxins. During feeds some saline drops for the nose help too – Jacinta Kemp 

A wee bit of butter across the bridge of their nose. My mum taught me this when I had my first child 9 years ago and I have used this method on all 3 of my kids – Ursula Flynn

Slices of potatoes on the soles of the feet, it draws the toxins out – Paula Manning

I try and get extra fluids into my little one throughout the day and always do a bath before bed whilst running a hot shower in the same room. I make it all steamy with a drop of tea tree oil in the shower tray, then before bed plug in the vapour plug-in and leave it on until I’m going to bed myself. Just before putting little one down for story time, I do a quick clearout by using saline spray up each nostril and encouraging my child to blow out as much as possible. Then put a dab of vaseline under each nostril to soften the skin and protect it after a day of being rubbed and wiped with tissues. The best therapy is extra hugs and cuddles all day long – Susan Fagan

Sea water nasal spray, available in pharmacies – it helps to liquify the thick nasal secretions. I also massage the side of the nose from top to tip. I often find this helps to bring down the mucus and I can wipe it away with a little tissue – Hilda Hanley

Prop the end of the cot up on books to raise the head, keep the heating low and also place wet towels on the radiators to keep the air humid – Laura, blogger at

Sea water nasal spray works wonders!! Also, have oil in a burner on in the evening. And a vapour rub massaged on their feet, then covered with socks – Louise Doherty 

Expert advice on curing baby's blocked nose

Advice from experts on curing baby’s blocked nose

Our expert Tracy Donegan from Gentle Birth  provides some top tips for offering relief, and advises on when it’s a good idea to call the doctor.

Offering relief

  • Feed in an upright position as much as possible.
  • GPs and pharmacists may recommend the use of a nasal spray to clear and unblock nasal passages in a natural way. If you’re nursing you can use breast milk  – it will work just as well and is 100% safe.
  • Nasal aspirators (bulbs) are found to be effective by many parents but it can sometimes stimulate the gag reflex in your baby resulting in vomiting and some babies can’t tolerate them and become distressed.  If you are breastfeeding nurse often during a cold to boost your baby’s immune system and use the bulb before baby nurses.  If you are not breastfeeding and your baby is prone to getting colds often talk to your GP or pharmacy about a probiotic to boost your baby’s immune system.
  • The use of humidifiers in the baby’s room may also help.
  • Try sitting in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes with the baby.  Run the hot shower and sit holding your baby in an upright position.
  • Although gaining in popularity essential oils should not be used on young children and infants, or products containing menthol or camphor as it can exacerbate breathing difficulties.
  • In older children, raising their head through the use of an extra pillow can facilitate easier breathing. With infants, putting something under the head of the cot mattress may offer relief – always put babies to sleep on their backs.

 curing baby's blocked nose

When to call the doctor

It’s important to know when a GP visit is needed. Here are some things to watch out for.

  • A high temperature
  • A rash
  • A stuffy nose accompanied by a swollen forehead, eyes, nose or cheek
  • Breathing very quickly or having difficulty breathing
  • Not interested in feeding or having trouble with breast or bottle feeding
  • Appears to be in pain and fussy.

Babies colds are of course very common due to their weaker immune system, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with, so be sure to use all the tips and tricks at your disposal.

And finally, don’t forget the most important one of all – the power of a good cuddle. It will do wonders for both your little one and you.

 curing baby's blocked nose



More like this:

How to boost immunity in your family
Decoding coughs
Common newborn skin problems

Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.


Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.