Young Parents Team
Baby can’t sleep well because she has a stuffy nose? Here’s help from Dr Natalie Epton, specialist paediatrician and neonatologist at International Paediatric Clinic.
All infants are somewhat noisy breathers due to the anatomy of their nasal passages: The nasal bone is not yet fully formed, and the passages are, therefore, naturally narrower than those of adults.
We tend to hear our babies’ breathing much more at night because the ambient noise – from television, talking and older siblings, for example – is reduced, resulting in a quieter environment.
The use of air-conditioning may dry out the nasal passages, causing some babies to have breathing difficulties.
One remedy is to use a humidifier, or even just a bowl of water in the room, placed on a high shelf and out of reach.
If, however, your child has a respiratory infection, or is teething, this can increase stuffiness and make her breathing sound heavier.
You can try using saline (salt water) nasal drops to dissolve mucus.
Nasal decongestants such as Iliadin, Otrivin and Oxynase can be bought over the counter without prescription.
But you must be careful to use them for a maximum of five days. If not, it can result in dependency and rebound nasal stuffiness.
There’s also Vicks Babyrub, which has been shown in independent clinical studies to be effective in improving sleep quality in little ones with respiratory infections.
But if you’re concerned your baby has breathing difficulties, it is important to let her doctor assess how serious it is.