Baby's instinct is always to breathe through their NOSE, so when Baby's nose is stuffy, they can't breathe properly to nurse, eat or sleep.
Know how to loosen baby's stuffed up nose? Dry boogers won't come out easily, but applying 1-3 drops of saline solution* to one nostril at a time loosens the mucous enough to use an aspirator to suck it out with. (Don't use the long pokey aspirator they sometimes give you in the hospital when the baby is born - get a NASAL aspirator with a removable clear plastic tip that is rounded and won't hurt if baby wiggles while you are doing it!)
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SALINE SOLUTION:
*Saline solution is salt water in a concentration simlilar to our body. You can make it yourself using a half teaspoon of salt dissolved into one cup of warm water.
Now the TRICKY PART - getting baby to stay still while you are trying to help him. Baby will cry and fuss unless you plan first. If you can have someone else hold the baby while you are applying the saline drops and using the aspirator it is a little easier.
Tips to hold baby steady - this works even when no one else is there to help you:
TEN STEPS TO REMOVE BABY'S MUCOUS SAFELY
1 - Have all your supplies ready first:
Blanket to wrap baby in
Saline Solution with an eye dropper or similar applicator
Tissues or Toilet Paper
2 - Wrap baby tightly in receiving blanket or towel so their arms and legs are not able to wiggle free.
3 - Sitwith one leg crossed over the other, (like the picture here) on a comfortable chair (with the seat closed, the toilet works fine). Place baby in the bent part of the crossed leg, the head near the knee. If you're right handed, the left leg should be crossed. Then your left hand can be free to hold the baby's head steady while your right hand can apply the saline drops and use the aspirator.
4 - FIRST TALK! Talk to baby - in a calm reassuring voice. Babies are smarter than we give them credit for!
5 - Explain what you are about to do. Perhaps something like, "Mommy's going to get rid of those boogers now. Then you can breath better "
6 - THEN SHOW! Show the baby the nasal aspirator and dropper for saline.
7- Explain what you are doing. For instance, show the Aspirator first. "See this bulb? It takes the boogers out ". Let the baby have a chance to hear the noise it makes before you use it. Count to three: Squeeze the bulb onONE, TWO and release on three: "One, two -three" (release) as it makes its 'whoosh' sound.
8- Then, setting the aspirator down, show baby the dropper with saline in it and, say "Now I'm going to wet your boogers just a little". Holding baby's head steady with one hand, DROP (Do not poke or squirt it in)1-3 drops of saline solution into only ONE nostril. Do not worry if it misses, or drips onto the cheek, etc - just try to get 1-3 drops into the nostril. Baby may fuss, but remain calm, and continue to speak assuringly, "You're doing fine. Now we'll use the bulb to suck them out."
9- Pick up the aspirator now and, COUNT to THREE just as you did before. Squeeze the bulb on "ONE - TWO" then place the tip firmly against the nostril for a tight seal and RELEASE on "THREE" as you suck out the mucous. Say "Yay!" and let the baby know you are happy when it works. Try again if needed.
10 - Repeat for the other nostril.
You may have to do it several times till the nose gets 'unstuffed'. Even if you are not able to get all the boogers out, it will still help to relieve a bit of the congestion and help them nurse and sleep better. Wash baby's face afterwards with a washcloth or wipe with tissue, and give a big hug to let them know everything is allright now - and say how proud you are of them.
Many other things worked to help my kids feel better during the stress of being congested. One was giving them extra vitamin C in their juice (you can usually get powdered vitamin C at Trader Joes, or just crush a vitamin C tablet to dissolve it. Most health food stores carry Homeopathic teething tablets, colic tablets, etc for different symptoms, too. They're such a low dose they are quite safe and the lactose tablets melt in a drop of water.
Make sure your little ones always get lots of liquids, and allow them to drink as much as they want. Dehydration is one of the chief causes of many illnesses. We wash the outside of the body, but the only way to clean the inside is by drinking enough water. How much is too much? Click HERE. As much as I didn't love changing diapers, per se, I noticed most of the time that my kids were sick they hadn't been pooping enough. So one of my favorite sayings is "Constipation is the thief of health". However, diarrheah isn't good either!!!
There are plenty of other good tips on how to keep your digestive health here.