Baby congested after feeding

Baby Sounds Congested but No Mucus? Causes, Treatments, and More

While the sniffles and snuffles that go along with congestion aren’t a medical emergency the first time you hear them from your own baby, it can sure feel like it.

Especially if your baby sounds congested but you don’t see any boogers or mucus in their nose, it may seem like a problem without a solution.

So what’s going on with your baby and how do you help them?

Healthy babies can often sound congested simply because they’re tiny new people with baby-sized systems, including miniature nasal passages. Just like those itty-bitty fingers and toes, their nostrils and airways are extra small.

It doesn’t take much for these teeny pathways to become affected by minor dryness or by just a bit of clear mucus. This may simply be a normal part of their growth and development.

But there are things that can affect the amount of congestion they have, and knowing what those are may help you relieve some of their sniffles with home treatments — or signal when you should call the doctor.

Here are some factors that increase the chances of chances of congestion:

  • Preemie babies. The air passages of preemies are even smaller than those of your average newborn. This may make slightly noisy breathing even more likely.
  • Air irritants. Think tobacco or cooking smoke, heavy perfumes, room aromatherapy diffusers, or fumes from household cleaning products, paint, or varnish. These can irritate your baby’s nasal passages.
  • Dry air. Low humidity can dry out and irritate nasal passages. This can be a result of using your home’s heating system or simply living in an arid climate.
  • Weather changes. Waving goodbye to summer heat may sound like fun, but when the drop in temperature brings low humidity and dry air, your baby is more likely to sound congested.

What about illness?

Not all congestion is part and parcel of nasal passages that need to grow up. Sometimes, congestion can be related to illness and may even develop deeper in your baby’s chest.

This congestion can be due to illness such as:

  • a cold
  • flu
  • respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Congestion that affects your baby’s breathing or moves into baby’s lungs may signal a more complex condition such as:

  • bronchiolitis
  • pneumonia
  • asthma
  • cystic fibrosis (typically identified during newborn screenings.)

Several things can signal that your baby has congested nasal passages. Here’s what to look out for:

  • sniffles and snuffles
  • slightly blocked or runny nose
  • noisy breathing
  • snoring when asleep
  • touch of difficulty when feeding
  • light coughing

With these light symptoms you, at least, can breathe easy. Look for other signs that may indicate illness, like fever or vomiting, to determine whether to call the doctor.

If your baby has any of the following symptoms, you’ve got some reason for concern:

  • The sniffling turns into labored breathing.
  • You can hear wheezing that makes it sound like each breath is an effort.
  • Your baby’s nostrils flare in and out every time they breathe.
  • Your baby’s chest retracts with each breath.

If your baby is demonstrating any of these symptoms, call the doctor right away.

Sometimes your baby may sound congested, but, try as you may, you can’t see much mucus. What gives? The first step is to look for any other signs of illness.

  • Does your baby have a fever?
  • Is your baby listless?
  • Have your baby’s diapers been sufficiently wet and frequent?
  • Does your baby refuse to breastfeed or reject their bottle?
  • Does their congestion interfere with their sleep?

If you see any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor to determine the best treatments to help your baby.

On the other hand, if your baby seems generally content and is eating, sleeping, and dirtying diapers regularly, you may not need to do anything but wait for the congestion to pass. In some cases doing too much (like frequent use of a nasal aspirator) can irritate the nose further.

If you’re looking for a way to help a fussy congested baby, you may want to start with some of the home remedies below.

Home remedies to ease congestion

You may not see any mucus in your baby’s nose, but that doesn’t mean it might not be there. Since your baby spends so much time lying on their back, mucus can easily collect in the back of their nose or throat, causing the sniffling you don’t want to hear.

These home remedies may ease congestion:

  • Warm baths. A calming bath in warm water can help clear congestion.
  • Saline drops. A few saline drops in each nostril can help to loosen and thin the mucus. Thank your lucky stars if your baby sneezes and releases the mucus independently.
  • Nasal bulb syringes or nasal aspirators. If your baby isn’t sneezing on their own to clean things out you can clear away the excess mucus mechanically by using a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator.
  • Cool mist humidifier. A humidifier can prevent dry air from irritating your baby’s nasal passages.
  • Positioning. Hold or wear your baby, or put your baby in the swing when they’re awake so they’re spending less time flat on their back. Do not place anything in the crib with your baby to position them as that can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Facial massage. Use your thumb to gently massage the nasal bridge, forehead, temples, and cheekbones. This may help drain the nasal passages.
  • Clean air. Clear away dust, allergens, and pollutants. Clean air and clean surfaces can reduce your baby’s exposure to irritants. Throw open your windows and go on a housecleaning spree.

While some people may recommend vapor rub, at least one study suggests that it’s not the best choice for babies and should be avoided.

The same goes for the various cold medications that are available over the counter — stick to the home remedies listed above or consult your doctor about other treatment options.

While you’ll want to keep an eye out to ensure that nothing else is in the wings, usually a congested nose in your baby is simply part of their growth process. As they get a bit bigger it’s likely to simply resolve itself.

If you’re concerned, check with your baby’s pediatrician and discuss whether further treatment is needed.

How to Clear Your Baby’s Stuffy Nose

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Congestion occurs when extra fluids (mucus) accumulate in the nose and airways. This is the body’s way of fighting foreign invaders, whether they are viruses or air pollutants. Congestion may give your baby a blocked nose, noisy breathing, or mild trouble feeding.

Mild congestion is common and not much concern for babies. Babies sometimes need extra help to clear congestion because their lungs are immature and their airways are so tiny. Your care will focus on clearing any mucus from your baby’s blocked nose and keeping them comfortable.

If your baby has a stuffy nose or is congested, they may appear to be breathing faster than normal. But babies tend to breathe pretty fast already. On average, babies take 40 breaths per minute, whereas adults take 12 to 20 breaths per minute.

However, if your baby is taking more than 60 breaths per minute, or if they appear to be struggling to catch their breath, take them to an emergency room right away.

Symptoms of baby chest congestion include:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • grunting

Potential causes of baby chest congestion include:

  • asthma
  • premature birth
  • pneumonia
  • transient tachypnea (in the first day or two after birth only)
  • bronchiolitis
  • respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • flu
  • cystic fibrosis

A baby with nasal congestion may have the following symptoms:

  • thick nasal mucus
  • discolored nasal mucus
  • snoring or noisy breathing while asleep
  • sniffling
  • coughing
  • trouble eating, as nasal congestion makes it difficult to breathe while they suck

Potential causes of baby nasal congestion include:

  • allergies
  • viruses, including colds
  • dry air
  • poor air quality
  • deviated septum, a misalignment of the cartilage that separates the two nostrils


You can tell if your baby is getting enough food by how many wet diapers they make every day. Young infants should wet a diaper at least every 6 hours. If they are ill or not feeding well, they may be dehydrated and need to see a doctor right away.

Safety note

Sleep positioners and wedges are not recommended while feeding or sleeping. These padded risers are intended to keep your baby’s head and body in one position, but are not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration due to the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).


Unfortunately, there are no cures for common viruses. If your baby has a mild virus, you’ll have to get through it with tender loving care. Keep your baby comfortable at home and stick to their routine, offering frequent feedings and making sure they sleep.


A baby who can sit may enjoy taking a warm bath. The playtime will distract from their discomfort and the warm water can help clear nasal congestion.

Humidifier and steam

Run a humidifier in your baby’s room while they sleep to help loosen mucus. Cool mist is safest because there aren’t any hot parts on the machine. If you don’t have a humidifier, run a hot shower and sit in the steamy bathroom for a few minutes multiple times per day.

You can purchase a humidifier online.

Nasal saline drops

Ask your doctor which brand of saline they recommend. Putting one or two drops of saline in the nose can help loosen mucus. Apply drops with a nasal syringe (bulb) for really thick mucus. It may be helpful to try this just before a feeding.

Breast milk in the nose

Some people feel that putting breast milk in a baby’s nose works just as well as saline drops to soften mucus.

Carefully put a little milk right into your baby’s nose while feeding. When you sit them up after eating, it’s likely the mucus will slide right out. Do not use this technique if it interferes with your baby feeding.


Gently rub the bridge of the nose, eyebrows, cheekbones, hairline, and bottom of the head. Your touch can be soothing if your baby is congested and fussy.

Home air quality

Avoid smoking near your baby; use unscented candles; keep pet dander down by vacuuming frequently; and follow label instructions to make sure you replace your home air filter as often as needed.

Do not use medication or vapor rub

Most cold medications are not safe or effective for babies. And vapor rubs (often containing menthol, eucalyptus, or camphor) are proven to be dangerous for children younger than 2 years old. Remember that increased mucus production is the body’s way of clearing out the virus, and it’s not a problem unless it’s severely affecting your baby’s ability to eat or breathe.

If a baby’s congestion is extreme, they may have a condition that requires extra oxygen, antibiotics, or other medical treatments. Doctors may use a chest radiograph to diagnose the issue.

Babies with congestion at night may wake up more often, have increased coughing, and become very irritable.

Being horizontal and being tired make it harder for babies to handle congestion.

Treat night congestion the same as you would in the daytime. It’s important that you stay calm in order to keep your baby calm.

Do not prop your baby on a pillow or put their mattress on an incline. Doing so increases the risk of SIDS and suffocation. If you want to hold your baby upright while they sleep, you need to stay awake and take turns with your partner.

Congestion is more likely among newborns living in dry or high-altitude climates, and those who were:

  • exposed to irritants, like cigarette smoke, dust, or perfume
  • born prematurely
  • born by cesarean delivery
  • born to mothers with diabetes
  • born to mothers with a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • diagnosed with Down syndrome

Hopefully, your child’s congestion will be short-lived and leave their immune system stronger than it was before. However, see your doctor if things don’t get better after a couple of days.

If you don’t already have a pediatrician, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

Get urgent care if your baby isn’t wetting enough diapers (a sign of dehydration and undereating), or if they start vomiting or running a fever, especially if they are under 3 months old.

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if your baby has signs of severe breathing trouble, such as:

  • panicked look
  • grunting or moaning at the end of each breath
  • flaring nostrils
  • ribs pulling in on each breath
  • breathing too hard or fast to be able to feed
  • blue tint to skin especially around lips and nails.

Congestion is a common condition in babies. A number of environmental and genetic factors can cause congestion. You can usually treat it at home. See a doctor immediately if your baby becomes dehydrated or has any trouble breathing.

advice on adaptation in kindergarten

To help those who adapt (children and parents).

From a scientific point of view, entering a kindergarten is a stress to which the child's body must adapt. The adaptation time of each child may be different - from 20 days to 2-6 months. Studies show that in the first years of life, children experience real stress when they part with their mother. The heartbeat quickens, and the survival program signals: danger! With great energy, babies mobilize all their reserves to keep their mother - they crawl after her, cry, cling. This is the oldest trick of nature: such behavior awakens a protective instinct in the mother, makes her stay with the baby, carry it everywhere with her, rarely give it into the wrong hands. However, no matter how hard it is for the mother and child, parting is inevitable. Seeing that the mother is not around, the child experiences deep anxiety, not knowing if she will ever return. Of course, at first the child will try not to let you go - this is normal. After all, you are for him the personification of the house, which gives them protection, in which they receive everything they need. But even the smallest children can endure separation, you just need to support them, help them.

Therefore, the first thing to do is to get ready to visit the kindergarten for your mother. After all, the child very keenly feels your inner vibrations and it doesn’t make him feel any better. Understand that people who work in the garden love children very much and wish them only the best. You are leaving your child in good hands!

Get familiar with the gardening routine in advance and stick to it at home (even on weekends). Do not arrange "sleeping" days: if the child does not get enough sleep, then reconsider your regimen.

Explain to your child what it is before going out into the garden. For example, you can say that this is now his job, because he is already big. Draw an analogy with mom / dad. Having said that, parents have their own work - the baby's work is a garden.

Give the child an idea of ​​what he will do in the garden (walk, play with toys and children, sculpt, draw, read fairy tales, sing and dance, etc.). Repeat your story many times, coloring it with positive emotions. You can give a positive example from your childhood. For example: “when I went to kindergarten, the children and I built sand castles, and I really liked it, it was so much fun!” You can also play with your child in kindergarten. Starting from household processes (feeding, dressing, sleeping), to games and activities. The role of the child can be played by the child himself or some kind of toy. “This is how Sasha eats neatly, like the children in kindergarten”, “All the guys went to sleep in their beds, and Tanechka will also go to sleep in her bed.”

Don't make endless farewell scenes! Excessive care of the mother or fussiness convince the child that parting is dangerous. And the child will be afraid to let you go. When leaving the garden, show with all your appearance that there is no reason for fear. Say goodbye firmly and cheerfully, but do not delay this process. When the baby feels your determination, there is usually no particular drama. Useful - for children and for you - there may be certain rituals that are repeated at each departure. Even babies, they give a certain sense of security, make it easier for them to separate, although they do not understand our words and cannot imagine how long mother will be absent. If at first parting is given with great difficulty, then it is advisable not to take the child to kindergarten herself, but to entrust it to someone else, for example, the father.

And one more circumstance that makes it difficult for small children to endure separation: they do not yet have a sense of time. It is necessary to divide the time spent in kindergarten into pieces that are understandable to the child, which he can focus on: “After eating you will sleep, and when you wake up, I will already be here.” Comforters such as a favorite teddy bear or car help babies cope with disappointment. If you then return to the child at exactly the appointed time, everything is in order.

Leaving the child in the group until the evening, remember that these days he is very tired, he is overloaded with impressions, treat with understanding his "unreasonable", in your opinion, whims and requests. He may ask to be held, may refuse to eat himself, be afraid to fall asleep alone, or often wake up at night and call his mother. Do not worry - this is a consequence of fatigue and longing for mom. Indeed, surrounded by strangers, the child often tries to restrain negative emotions, so they splash out only in the evening at home. Go to meet him, do not get angry and do not get annoyed. It's great if when you meet your child will feel how happy you are for him. It is important to find time to caress him, play with him. Remember: the baby is much harder than you. That's why he needs your help.

Communicate daily with the caregiver, not to ask who pushed and who took away the toy, but to find out how you can correct your relationship with your child at home so that he gets used to new living conditions more easily and quickly. Let the teacher be your assistant in the upbringing of the child.

It is advisable to put the child to bed early, stay with him longer before going to bed, talk about kindergarten. You can agree in the evening what toys he will take with him to kindergarten, decide together what clothes he will wear in the morning.

But the most important thing is to remember that each child's adaptation is individual! And only the boundless love of parents can help him survive this stress!

Successful adaptation to you!

Your «KorabliK»


Your child complains of pain in the abdomen, loose stools or constipation. What to do? Of course go to the doctor.

And now you hear the diagnosis: "Irritable Bowel Syndrome". What is it, and who annoys him? Previously, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was diagnosed only in adults, recently IBS has been increasingly diagnosed in children.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the so-called functional disorder of the colon. The term "functional" indicates that your child does not have an organic bowel disease, i.e. no inflammation, ulcers, cracks, worms, etc. But at the same time, the child complains of abdominal pain and has problems with stool.

By definition, functional disorders are a varied combination of gastrointestinal symptoms without structural or biochemical abnormalities. That is, the regulation of the activity of the organ is disrupted - it does not work correctly. The most studied are the mechanisms of nervous regulation disorders caused either by autonomic dysfunctions, often associated with psycho-emotional and stress factors, or by an organic lesion of the central nervous system and autonomic dystonia. At the same time, the motility of the organ is disturbed in the case of IBS - the colon. The intestine begins to contract chaotically, regardless of the progress of the contents through it. Because of this, a person has a stomach ache, constipation or diarrhea. Remember people with "bear disease" - when before exams, interviews, etc. there is an irresistible desire to run to the toilet, while going to the toilet does not always end "fruitfully". And some children from excitement "forget" to go to the toilet and they have constipation. Over time, the condition worsens, as dense feces injure the intestines, children are afraid to empty their intestines.

Our children have a very busy life schedule - school lessons, homework, extra classes, computer games, sports. As a result, children are afraid of being late, not completing assignments, getting a bad grade, falling behind friends and, as a result, chronic stress. At the same time, children can not complain to you. The child becomes more irritable, falls asleep badly, or vice versa quickly gets tired during the day, lethargic, wakes up with difficulty in the morning. Suddenly, a small (or already “big”) little man begins to complain in front of the school about abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. Someone immediately calls a doctor, while someone, on the contrary, considers all this to be an invention of a “lazy person”. But he REALLY has a stomach ache, and in fact EVERYTHING goes away as soon as you leave him at home.

What to do if you notice these symptoms in your child. First of all, do not worry and contact a pediatrician or gastroenterologist.

Don't be surprised when your doctor asks about your baby's first year (even if the "baby" is fifteen years old). Patients with IBS in the first year of life often have severe colic that does not go away from simple routine activities. The doctor will carefully ask how many times a day the child has a chair, in the morning or in the evening, because of which the stomach hurts (from hunger, after eating, before school, exams, etc.), how the child sleeps, eats, studies. Do not be surprised, as already mentioned, the cause of abdominal pain may not lie in the organ that “hurts”, i.e. intestines, and far beyond. Next, the doctor will prescribe your child various tests and examinations, including endoscopic examinations of the intestine from the inside. To clarify the diagnosis, you may need to consult a neuropathologist or psychoneurologist, a gynecologist for girls and other specialists. Only after making sure that the child does not have inflammation, worms, infections, etc. a doctor can diagnose irritable bowel syndrome.

If your child has lost weight, his temperature rises periodically without signs of SARS, there was blood in the stool, pay attention to the doctor about these symptoms, any of them rules out the diagnosis of IBS!

Therapy of a patient with irritable bowel syndrome is a complex step-by-step process. In the beginning, it is necessary to normalize the child's daily routine. Compliance with the daily regimen is one of the main links in therapy for such children. The child should not go to bed late, before going to bed, a soft shower is required, airing the room. These children should eat at the same time every day. Parents should daily monitor the defecation of the child, not only the preschooler, but also the younger schoolchild, and at an older age, you should regularly ask your child if he had stool today, what consistency, if there were any impurities (blood, mucus, not digested food).

Review your child's workload. After consulting a psychoneurologist, determine how many days a week your child can study, how many hours a day to study on the computer, and watch TV. Do not forget about daily walks and sufficient physical activity.

Try to identify what worries the child, what he worries about.

Complex drug therapy for irritable bowel syndrome. The doctor will prescribe drugs that normalize the consistency of the stool, correct intestinal motility, etc.

Do not forget that the correction of neurological disorders is one of the important links in the chain of IBS therapy. Do not neglect the appointments of a psychoneurologist. If you have questions about prescribed drugs, you are afraid to give them to your child, be sure to talk with your doctor - he will either replace the drug or explain its necessity and safety.

In conclusion, I would like to remind you that the disease is easier to prevent than to cure. Do not forget that a large number of activities can bring your child not only benefit, but also harm, calculate in advance the capabilities of your baby, and then your little man will be not only smart, but also healthy.

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