How to treat baby's blocked nose

Baby's nose streaming non-stop. Keep getting colds? Our experts offer their tips on easing nasal congestion


My baby keeps getting colds

“Edward has had regular colds since birth. He doesn’t sleep or feed well when stuffed up, so I don’t sleep either. I don’t want to bother the GP with a cold, which I know is just a virus, but it does have a significant impact on our lives, particularly our sleep,” says Katharine Lewis, mum to six-month-old twins, Martha and Edward.

Expert tips to relieve a blocked nose

Consider a decongestant

“Small babies breathe mainly through their noses, which is why, when Edward has a cold, his feeding and sleep are disrupted. A saline nasal spray before feeds and at night can help decongest and moisturize nasal passages. Try a nasal decongestant device, too. It’s best used after applying the saline spray, as the mucus will suck out more easily!” says Angela Chalmers, Boots pharmacist. 

Feed him little & often

It’s normal for a baby to get eight or more colds a year. The best advice is to feed little and often, as babies can get dehydrated faster than adults. If Edward wants more milk than ‘proper food’, don’t worry: his appetite – and sleeping skills – will return when he recovers,” says Dr Ellie Cannon, Boots Parenting Club GP.

Raise the head end of the cot

“To help Edward sleep better, put a wet towel on a warm radiator – the humidity can help break down congestion. Put a book beneath each leg at the head end of his cot (making sure his feet are at the foot end), to allow secretions to flow and help him breathe. The good news is most colds are self-limiting, and will help him build a stronger immune system,” says Angela Davy, Boots Parenting Club health visitor. 

Always speak to your doctor if your baby is under three months, has any unusual symptoms, or isn’t getting better after a week or so.