How to Decrease Mucus Production in Babies

Decreasing your baby's mucus production is possible by thinning out the mucus usually caused by colds and other viral infections. Mucus buildup and the resulting congestion your baby may experience can make it difficult for your baby to sleep or eat; in some cases, large amounts of mucus may cause choking. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend the use of over-the-counter cold medications in babies and children, the best recourse is to use at-home remedies that keep your baby's congestion under control.

A baby sneezing. Credit: Andrei Kiselev/Hemera/Getty Images

Step 1

Offer your baby plenty of fluids through his regular feedings of formula or breast milk. There is no need to increase feedings, but encourage him to eat as he normally would when he is not sick.

Step 2

Give babies older than 6 months old warm liquids, such as broth or chamomile tea, in a sippy cup.

Step 3

Run a warm-mist humidifier in your baby's room while he sleeps to moisten his airways and break up mucus.

Step 4

Place a rolled-up towel or a pillow under the head of your baby's crib mattress to elevate it. This places your baby's head up, allowing the mucus to drain instead of building up.

Step 5

Run your shower on hot with the door closed and sit with your baby in a bathroom during the day whenever he seems congested to break up the mucus.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm-mist humidifier

  • Saline drops

  • Rubber-bulb syringe


Spray over-the-counter saline drops into your baby's nose to loosen thick nasal mucus.

Suction mucus out of your baby's nostrils with a rubber-bulb syringe, particularly after you spray the saline drops into his nose. Squeeze the bottom of the syringe up to expel the air out of it. Insert the syringe about 1/4 inch into your baby's nostrils. Release the bulb slowly to start suctioning the mucus. Remove the syringe from his nose and press on the bulb to release the mucus from it.

Clean the bulb syringe after each use with soap and warm water.


Do not suction your baby's nostrils more than three times a day or you may irritate the lining.

Call your physician if your baby's mucus discharge lasts for more than 2 weeks.

Contact your physician immediately if your baby refuses to feed, coughs up blood or coughs hard enough to vomit.

Call 911 if your baby has difficulty breathing.

Is This an Emergency?

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