Shower together. "A steamy room is great for clearing congestion, but some bathrooms are too big to get steamy enough," says Julia K. Yang, M.D., a pediatrician with Westchester Health Associates, a clinical affiliate of The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "So I bring my baby into the shower. It really does make his nose run and helps clear things up." (Use your best judgment about how hot the water needs to be to create steam.)
Protect her nose. "I put some petroleum jelly or Aquaphor ointment on her nostrils to keep them from chafing when her nose runs a lot," says Dr. Yang.
Use a cool-mist humidifier. "I set it up on the floor about a foot or two away from the crib," says Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital. "It shouldn't be blowing right at your baby, because that will make him cold and uncomfortable, but you don't want it across the room, either. It really relieves coughing and congestion."
Pace her feedings. "When babies have a lot of mucus, it's hard for them to breathe and swallow at the same time. If you're bottle-feeding, slow the flow by going down a nipple size, like from size 1 to newborn," Dr. Swanson says. "Then pull the bottle away every few minutes so she can take a breath."
Originally published in the November 2010 issue of Parents magazine.
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