Because infants are nose breathers they will get upset quite quickly when suffering from nasal congestion. Ongoing and severe nasal congestion will also impact on the baby's ability to feed properly and cause other problems such as ear infections. Chronic nasal congestion can impact on infants' hearing development and, as a result, it can also have an effect on their speech development.
Nasal congestion is a common problem for infants and can result from a number of causes besides illness. Infants are particularly sensitive to their surroundings, and nasal congestion can result from dry air, irritants, infections, allergies, enlarged adenoids, foreign bodies, and the overuse of certain nasal sprays or drops.
To help your infant cope with these congestion-causing factors try applying saline drops to each of the baby's nostrils. This will help moisten the nasal passages and clear dried secretions. Adding moisture to the air by using vaporizers may also help relieve some of the congestion.
Congestion is made worse when a baby lies in a supine position. Placing a few extra pillows under your infant to keep him or her more upright may help ease the pressure caused by congestion. Check with a doctor what antihistamines are safe for infants if you believe the nasal congestion is caused by an allergic reaction to allergens in the environment.
An infant nasal bulb (aspirator) can also be used to get rid of excessive mucus from inside the infant's nostrils. To use this device, first squeeze out the air from inside the bulb. Then place the tip of the bulb in the baby's nostril and release the squeezed bulb. This will create a suction that will vacuum the mucus out of the baby's nose.
Nasal congestion caused by enlarged adenoids can only be treated through the surgical removal of the adenoids. But most doctors recommend exhausting all other options first before choosing this course of action.