Did you know that only around their third or fourth month babies start breathing through their mouths? This means that before they only get oxygen through nasal breathing. But their nasal pathways are only a couple of millimetres wide and there’s not that much space for anything else. So how well a newborn can breathe will depend on the people around them.
Most parents don’t know how to clear a baby’s nose, or are scared to hurt them. So I’d advise to seek help from a pharmacy (in Estonia there’s Südameapteek) or from a GP’s Office. Or if you happen to meet me, I’d be happy to help.
Also, when choosing a saline nasal spray, it’s important to check for any age restrictions to make sure it’s safe to use on newborns.
So how to clear a baby’s nose?
Take the baby into an upright position, with their side against your stomach, and spray the saline solution into both nostrils. Wait a moment until the mucus/liquid starts coming out. Then take a nasal aspirator (one end goes into your mouth and the other end into the baby’s nostril) and you can suction the excess mucus out. I usually wait a couple minutes before going in with the nasal aspirator, as quite often the baby sneezes and everything comes out a lot easier. This procedure can also be done a couple times in a row if necessary.
How often should I do it?
At least twice a day. But if you hear a slurring sound when breathing (meaning air doesn’t move well through the nasal pathways), then even more often. After using the nasal aspirator, always make sure to wash both the aspirator and the spray’s nozzle (after each use I wash it off and throw everything into a steriliser alongside with bottles and dummies).
I personally don’t recommend bulb syringes (if you remember the egg-shaped devices with a small long tip), as the pressure is harsh and can damage the inner tissue lining.
I’d also recommend getting an air humidifier (into the bedroom), as baby’s nasal passages can get very dry. In most cases the humidity levels are not enough for the baby. If you wake up and your own nose feels dry from the inside, then that’s a first sign you should perhaps think about getting one.
NB! If you start writing a list of things you need to prepare for the baby, then I’d definitely recommend adding a saline nasal spray, a nasal aspirator for babies and an air humidifier (unless you already have these in your list).
And if your baby has problems eating and sleeping, then first check when and how you last cleared their little nose.
Feel free to share this post with expecting mums and dads,