blocked nose

Relief for baby’s blocked nose

Stuffy noses in babies happen when the membranes lining the nose get swollen from inflamed blood vessels. The blocked nose may be accompanied by a runny nose.

Baby’s blocked nose

If the nasal congestion affects their ability to breathe through their nose, it can cause them a lot of discomfort. The blocked nose may also cause breathing and feeding problems, causing them further agitation.

Your baby’s blocked nose can be caused by a range of factors including dry air during winter; acid reflux; irritants such as dust; allergies; and viral illnesses such as colds. Symptoms include noisy nasal breathing; snoring and snorting; difficulty sleeping; and they may have a fever which should be brought to the attention of your GP.

Offering relief

  • Some relief may be experienced by seating an infant upright.
  • GPs and pharmacists may recommend the use of saline drops.
  • Nasal aspirations are found to be effective by many parents.
  • 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.
  • In older children, raising their head through the use of an extra pillow can facilitate easier breathing. With infants, putting something under the cot mattress offers relief.

Usually nasal congestion will clear up within a week but if it’s accompanied by a rash; swelling; difficulty breathing or extreme difficulty in feeding, contact your doctor.

Mum’s Tip

Caoimhe Lyons, mum to Lily-Mae (four) and Fiadh (four months) finds nasal aspirators effective. “You suck on one end of the tube and put the other end at the entrance of your baby’s nostril and there’s a valve. Snufflebabe nasal drops are also good, and I also find snuffle babe vapour rub good for putting on the baby’s feet at night, along with thick socks.”

More like this:

Top 5 baby ailments and how to treat them
Real mum’s tips to curing baby’s blocked nose
How to prevent a whooping cough



Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….


Bath before bedtime

A bath can be a good way to help settle your little one ahead of bedtime, writes Lucy Wolfe.


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.