My 2-Month-Old Can't Breathe With a Stuffy Nose

An infant has an immature immune system and in the first months of its life it will be exposed to many agents causing infections, allergies and reactions. A stuffy nose is one of the signs of an upper respiratory condition and is very common in babies. It could prevent your 2-month-old from breathing properly and may interfere with feeding and rest. Contact your pediatrician to exclude any potentially serious infections.

A mother holding her baby during a medical exam. Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Causes

A stuffy nose may be caused by excessive salivation due to teething, allergies or a respiratory infection. A likely cause of congestion in a 2-month-old infant is the common cold, a viral infection. At this very young age your baby will probably catch more than one cold as his immune system builds up defenses needed to fight off future infections. In addition to a stuffy nose, your child will be sneezing and may develop a low-grade fever, a cough and loss of appetite.

Treatment

There is no cure for the common cold, but your baby's symptoms can be relieved as needed. Install a humidifier in your child's room to keep the air moist and elevate his head by raising the crib mattress under it. These remedies will help your baby breathe and sleep better. Apply some petroleum jelly under his nose to prevent chapping of the skin. Do not give your baby any decongestants, nose drops or cough medication unless your pediatrician advises you to do so.

Nose suctioning

The most effective method to clear your child's nose and improve his breathing is to suction mucus with a nasal aspirator. Lay your baby on your arm, keeping your hand gently under his neck. Soften the mucus with a few saline drops for 10 to 15 seconds. Squeeze the aspirator and place the tip at the entrance of the baby's nostril. Release the bulb of the aspirator and suction the mucus. Squeeze the aspirator on a tissue and repeat the same procedure on the other nostril. Wash the aspirator with soap and rinse with warm water.

Complications

An ear infection is one complication of the common cold in children. A baby isn't able to blow its nose, so the excess mucus will often reach the ears, causing bacteria to multiply and cause otitis. If your baby has a stuffy nose and continuously tugs at his ear, schedule a visit at the doctor's office. If your baby has a fever over 100.4 Fahrenheit and his cough continues for more than 14 days, visit your doctor to rule out bronchitis or influenza.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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