Blocked Nose in Babies ('Snuffles')


Baby snuffles are usually due to the normal mucus that may collect in a baby's nose. Snuffles are not caused by colds or infections - although an infection can make things worse. A baby who just has snuffles will be otherwise well, but may snort when breathing. However, feeding can sometimes become difficult if the baby cannot breathe very well through his or her nose.

Nothing needs to be done if the baby is happy and able to feed.

If feeding becomes difficult:

  • Try placing a bowl of warm water in the room where the baby sleeps making the environment moist.
  • Try giving smaller but more frequent feeds.
  • Saline (salt water) nose drops

Saline drops thin out the mucus and so make it easier for the baby to clear the mucus from the nose. You can buy saline drops from a pharmacist who can also advise on how to use them. Only use the drops just before feeds, and only if the nose is blocked.

If you are concerned that feeding is problematic then see your doctor. As a last resort, your doctor may prescribe a decongestant nasal drop to use for a few days if feeding is particularly difficult.

Nasal aspirators

Some parents buy one to suck mucus from the baby's nostrils before feeds. There are no research trials to show how effective they are, and there is some concern that they may do some harm if not used carefully

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