There is nothing worse than not being able to bring relief to your child when they are sick. Infants are especially a concern and require immediate attention to ward off further symptoms. When an infant has chest congestion it is usually always caused by a bacterial infection or a virus. Over-the-counter medications are not safe for infants, but there are alternative chest congestion home remedies for babies. We have a few ideas listed here for you.
As with adults, infants benefit from the moisture of steam. Steam helps to loosen chest mucus and enables the baby to breathe easier. Turn your shower on the hottest setting and close the bathroom door as you are leaving. Wait for the room to fill with steam then bring the infant into the bathroom and sit for 10 to 20 minutes.
A humidifier in the baby’s room will help with breathing and chest congestion while the baby is sleeping.
Vapor rubs (3 months and older)
Gently rub the infant’s chest, back and neck area with a mentholated or a camphor vapor rub. For a home remedy, a ground nutmeg rub will work to pull the cold from the child’s body. Always check with your pediatrician before administering any medicinal product, as some infants may be sensitive to vapor rubs, and could make breathing for the infant more difficult.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend lying the baby across your lap with his face down and tenderly tap the back, working from the bottom to the top. This aids in breaking down mucus deposited in the respiratory tract. Be extra careful to support the neck of younger babies while doing this method.
An infant suffering from chest congestion needs to stay hydrated. Enough fluid intakes will thin mucus to offer relief. If the baby is breastfed, try to encourage him to eat as often as possible. Bottle-fed infants can benefit from water or diluted fruit juice.
If nasal congestion is keeping the baby from sucking, then a few drops of saline solution on end of nasal passages along with the bulb syringe will greatly help.
Honey is soothing and seems to calm the infant experiencing a cold or chest congestion. Dip your finger in honey and gently allow the baby to nestle on it. This can be done two to three times a day. Honey is not recommended for babies under a year old.
You can make your own saline drops each day by mixing a ¼ teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Place the saline in a nose dropper and put a little in each nostril. Maintain your infants’ head at rest for a few seconds, so the saline has time to work.
Your infant’s body temperature can be brought down by giving him a sponge bath with lukewarm water. The baby’s body will slowly cool.
Keep the baby from other sick children or adults. Always keep hands washed and surroundings clean so your baby isn’t at higher risk for getting infections.
Plenty of rest
The body can expend a lot of energy when fighting an infection; try to encourage your baby to rest as much as possible so a secondary infection does not become a problem. Sleeping is the body’s natural way to mend.
Babies always benefit from the touch of their loved ones. Gently massage the baby’s body with a warm mustard oil mixed with garlic. It may not smell so great, but it provides instant relief for a small one suffering.
Put a pillow or soft cloths under the infant’s head slightly, enough to give just a little elevation. This will help your child to breathe easier, as it affects the nasal passages drainage.
Dress the baby appropriately
Dressing your infant too heavily can raise the child’s fever. It is better to dress them lightly and then with a light blanket. When your baby has a fever, avoid heavy blankets and clothing.
Know when to wait it out—and when not to
Children are susceptible to every germ released, it is inevitable. Yet not every cold or runny nose means treatment. As long as your child is eating and drinking normally and maybe doesn’t even to be bothered by it, then it is okay to wait and watch.
If your baby has a fever or difficulty in breathing this is cause for immediate medical attention. Any symptom lasting longer than the normal period of a cold or flu should be evaluated by your pediatrician.
Children under 4 years of age should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Talk to your doctor about which medicines are age appropriate.