22 answers

Best Ways to Treat Congestion in 3 Month Old

Hi Mamas! I need some help. I will be returning to work on Thursday and my little one has a cold. I took him to the doctor last Thursday and they assured me it was just a cold that needed to run its course. I REALLY do not want to go back to work and it is going to be so hard to leave my son. Having him sick is making this harder! It seems to me that this cold is really hanging in there. I just want to cuddle with him non-stop. What can I do to help with all the nasal congestion (and occassional chest congestion in him)? My son woke up at 4:30am horribly congested and was literally unable to move any air through his nose. Any advice on how to make using the nasal aspirator less traumatizing? Also, my son has been sleeping through the night since 7 weeks but for the last two weeks has been waking up around 4am. I can get him back to sleep without a bottle but it takes a while and by then I am wide awake. Any ideas about that? Thank you!!! :-)

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all the great advice! Here is what we did: cool mist humidifier with one of those vick scent pads in it, Baby Vicks on chest and on feet covered with socks, saline nasal spray and aspirator and elevated head with a crib wedge (use one for reflux anyway). My son slept wonderfully! He could breathe so well!!! Every time I checked on him he was breathing normally and was not stuffy or wheezy. He made it all the way through the night like he was before this runny nose set in. He is in such a great mood this morning! Thank you for all your advice - it worked great!

Featured Answers

My daughter had her first cold at about that same age. We called the doctor and they told me to use a saline drop to loosen the mucus before we used the aspirator and it also keeps the nasal passages moist. They also told us about a special VICKS for babies. It specifically says for ages 3 months and up. That seemed to help some too. Good Luck

are you using saline in his nose before you use the aspirator bulb? also run a humidifier at night. I would but just a little vicks vapor rub on the top of his shirt at bedtime, I would not put it on his chest just yet because it may irritate his skin.

More Answers


We went through the same problem with our daughter, who is now 10 months (today). It stinks that there is nothing you can give a baby...however, when she was diagnosed with a sinus infection, she did get Amoxicillin. It worked wonders.

What to do. Turn on a humidifier in his room. We have a warm air mist one (Vicks) that we love, and some days it runs all day long to keep her room humid. Do your research about the pros and cons on warm vs. cold air humidifiers to see which you prefer.

Eleveate his mattress. You have a couple of options. You can buy the wedge at Babies R Us and put it under one side of his mattress; you can elevate it with a rolled up blanket; or you can do what we did and stick some books under the legs on on side of her crib. The elevation helps with drainage, and really helped our daughter.

I'm not sure if your doctor mentioned this, but sometimes a cold can lead to an ear infection. We, unfortunately found this out the hard way. Tell, tell signs for us...baby did not want to lay down and fought to stay upright and her appetite changed. (Our daughter never ran a fever.)

As for the aspirator, I found that using the Little Noses saline spray with the aspirator made it more effective. I still haven't found a way to make it easier to use. My mom can cradle her in her arm and use the other hand to work the aspirator and it seems less invasive. I'm not that good.

I'm not sure I'm the right person to give advice about sleeping. We didn't try to get our daughter on a schedule until four months and we used Dr. Ferber's book to help us establish one. If we got seven to eight hours straight from month 3 to 7, we were happy. We finally started putting her to bed later so the 4 a.m. (we had it, too) waking became a 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. waking. She now goes down at 7:30 p.m. and wakes at 7:30 a.m. with two naps (2 hrs in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon).

I apologize if I was too wordy. I hope this helps. Good luck with the cold (I know they are not fun) and with your transition back to work.

J. S.

Hi L., sorry to hear that your sweetheart is sick. When they are having trouble breathing that is terrifing! I have a 21 month old, but when she was younger she had the croup and head colds several times. Saline nasal drops helped a little, always elevate him on a pillow (make sure to keep him close to you though) Another thing that helps is to get the bathroom really steamy and sit with him in there. That will help open him up. However, when my daughter was that congested, I insisted that they give her something to help. (even though it is a cold and can't be "cured" they can recommend or prescribe something to help clear the congestion. Best of luck.

PS Our babies are only young once, I say if you want to stay home with him then do it. I work part time as a speech therapist at an elementary school, and I just make it clear that my family comes first. It will be hard at first but, most people have been there and will understand. I hope your son feels better very soon! God Bless!

When my kids were little, I placed a phone book under one side of their crib to elevate their heads. This helped with their congestion and breathing during colds. My daughter, especially, responded right away to this.

Also, as disgusting as I always thought it was, it works..use one of those little nasal bulbs to suck out the congestion from the nose and rinse in warm water each time you take it out. My kids hated it, but then in a minute they could breathe again.

As far as getting back to sleep, try this relaxtion therapy I learned at a working woman's seminar. It works! Clear your head as best as you can. Tell yourself your child is fine and does not need you for now. No one needs you right now. You need you to sleep in order to be at your best. Pretend that you are tucking in every single part of your body one at a time slowly. Start with your toes. Tell yourself they are very sleepy. Actually picture yourself tucking your toes into bed, covering them up and watching them drift off to sleep. Then go to your feet, your ankles, your calves, your knees doing the same thing each time. I tell ya, when I want to fall asleep, this works! I've never made it past my knees! ha ha. Good luck!

I am the mother of 6 children. I always had good luck with warm salt water drops. Just mix some salt in a small amount of warm water and drop two to three drops in each nostril with his head tilted back. You will then be able to use your bulb syringe to suck the stuff out of his nostrils. He should be able to breath better immediately.

A little about me:

I am a working divorced mother of six beautiful children, ranging from 15 years to 33 years and 3 beautiful grandchildren ranging from 4 to 15.

Are you using saline solution with the nasal bulb? that usually helps my baby with his nasal congestion more. My baby absolutely hates this procedure, and I've never heard of a baby who liked it. We also have a humidifier (adds moisture to air) in his room when he's congested. It helps a little bit, but not much. my baby is having congestion & allergy problems now so I'm sympathetic to what you're dealing with. It's hard to see your own baby sick. hang in there!

L. -

If you have a small bathroom or a closed in shower. turn the water on really hot and let the steam get real thick in the bathroom and then sit in the bathroom with your baby. It is just a BIG humidifier and has worked really well in the past for my oldest 2

I'm no doctor, but I say flush, flush, flush it out with saline nasal spray. It is not a fun task, I know. But it will help break everything up & get everyone back to getting good rest.

Hi L.,
I just saw your post after posting a similar post. I sometimes put some "little noses" saline drop in his nose and then let him stay on his tummy, this helps a lot of loose mucus to come out. Also for the past 2 days he lets me suction him.....(not sure if he finally realizes that i was only trying ot help him breath all these days) instead of directly suctioning, I play with him by blowing the aspirator air on his cheecks and hands, and sometimes let him hold it a few mins and the quickly suction him.... Hopefully he will continue this :) Good luck and know that you're not the only one going through these painful moments...I too am starting work next wk...:-(
Good luck!!!

are you using saline in his nose before you use the aspirator bulb? also run a humidifier at night. I would but just a little vicks vapor rub on the top of his shirt at bedtime, I would not put it on his chest just yet because it may irritate his skin.

Having a child sick is the PITS!! My husband and I have 4 children ranging from 13 yrs old to 18 months, and I have tried everything under the sun. One thing that I have found that works is VICKS vapor rub. The rub is actually call "Vicks Baby Rub". It is gentler for the baby. I used that alot, because then you don't have to introduce anything into his little body. I found that sometimes they can get over medicated. I used(and still do)to rub it all over there chest and then dress them, and the trick is to put the Vicks on the bottom of the feet and put socks on the baby. Do it during the day and especially at night. My grandmother told me about it when I had my first child. I can honestly say it WORKS!!
Also another thing that works really well for the nasal congestion is Sailine Solution. Our 3rd child had RSV and was
always in need of having her nose cleaned out.The sailine solution worked great. They have it by the brand "Little Noses". I would just put some in her nose a couple of minutes before I would clean out the nasal passages, it would soften and loosen up the mucus. Also just sitting in the bathroom with a hot shower works, the steam moistens up the airway and that helps. One thing our pediatrition gave us advice on was to have a Cold Mist Humidifier going in the house. It keeps the air moist and helps everyone breathe better. Especially in the winter, when its cold and dry.
Lots of hugs and kisses makes baby and mom always feel better.Hang in there, every cold will pass. Always remember to trust your motherly instincs, I have learned to listen to myself and trust what I think.Remember your are your sons mom and you know your child. Doctors are wonderful, but I have learned that the good Lord gave mommys something special,our ability to know our child and listen to our inner self. Doing what I thought was best for my child has gotten me through a lot. With 4 kids someone was always sick. Take care and good luck. Have a blessed day. Jennifer B.

My daughter had her first cold at about that same age. We called the doctor and they told me to use a saline drop to loosen the mucus before we used the aspirator and it also keeps the nasal passages moist. They also told us about a special VICKS for babies. It specifically says for ages 3 months and up. That seemed to help some too. Good Luck

Order a Nose Frida (http://www.nosefrida.com/)! I found it on a Google search one day when I was desperate to find the best aspirator (I even paid for overnight shipping!) Those traditional bulb-type aspirators worked terribly with my son and he screamed and fought me when I tried to use them (would you like something put up your nose?!?!)

The Nose Frida looks terrible but it works amazing! I've recommended it to other mama friends and they love it, too. I use ours daily with our constantly stuffy son.

I have no affiliation with them ... just a very happy mom with their product! Good luck!

(You can PM me if you have any questions after looking at the website, too.)

I have a 3mo old also and my doctor suggested a saline wash for my little girls' nasal cavity. She basically just shot a drop or two up each nostril and put her down on her stomach to let it all drain out. Afterwards, my little one was back to being happy and cooing as normal :) Later that evening at the store I picked up some Little Noses (in the pharmacy) and clean her nasal cavity out periodically. It seems to be a lifesaver for both my daughter and my 12 year old son who also has allergy like sinus congestion.

I have 4 kids and all of them have trouble with congestion. 3 has asthma and 1 just had sinus surgery. With your son being only 3 months old you might want to check with the dr. but we use Vicks on the bottom of their feet and put on a pair of socks right before bed time. You can also use it during the day. Also at night instead of formula try using pedialite because the formula coats the throat and make more congestion. That is what I found worked better for my youngest child. The cooler the room is the better. Hope any of these ideas work for you and hope that cute little man gets better.

Hi L.,
In addition to what the other mamas have said, I would recommend elevating one end of his mattress at night. This helps my little one when he is stuffy. I simply place a folded towel under one end of his mattress so his head is raised up a bit. When he is REALLY congested I place him in his carseat inside of his crib. This usually does the trick. We also use a cool-mist humidifier, even when he is not stuffy. Good luck!

I had the exact same problem with my baby. The nurse at the clinic said to have a humidifier all day. Replace a every other feeding with pedialyte and that shoul thin out the congestion. Hope this helps it helped mine.

Try elevating his mattress. We had to do this for reflux reasons, but you could try it as well. When my little one had a cold/congestion, I used the Johnsons and Johnsons Vapor Rub cream on her chest/neck area.

As for the waking up around 4am...it could be a growth spurt he's going through. I'd say if the bottle puts him back to sleep, do it :) If it makes you feel any better, my 9 month old still wakes up once or twice during the night to nurse (more for comfort reasons and she doesn't need the extra feedings).

Hope he gets to feeling better soon!

Take a couple of your thicker board books and put them under one side of his crib to slant it up slightly. That will help some. I also have a vicks vaporizer in the baby's room when they are congested and that helps some too. Make sure you suck out his nose before you put him to bed too. Other than that, and maybe if your dr. would prescribe a decongestant for a little one (there are a few safe ones out there for a little one)all you can do is wait it out. I'm on my third child now and these little colds just come and go. You'll get more used to handling them. The nasal aspirator doesn't get any easier...they actually get harder as the baby gets better at fighting it. Just get good at doing it quickly. Are you using saline drops in his nose? That sometimes helps to clear out congestion. I put a couple of drops in and then do the aspirator and that helps get more of it out.
As far as the waking up thing goes....keep things quiet dark and low key and that will make sure he knows it is still sleep time. Sleeping is one of those things I still battle even with my 9 month old. So it is normal to have disruptions and alterations in schedule.
Good luck!

The nasal aspirator is just a hard thing to use on little noses. I don't think there is any good way to use, but it does help. I would get a cold humidifier and a pedicare plug-in. The let out menthol at night which helps clear the nasal passages. I use them everytime my little ones are sick and it seems to help.

My 3 month old son has been suffering similar conditions, I have already taken him to the doctor and recieved a prescription for liquid sudafed. I am not very comfortable giving him medicine so to help reduce his congestion I have been using a humidifier at night and putting vicks vapor rub on his feet covered by warm socks.(It seems to be working well for him).
My physician told me not to use the nasal aspirator, but to use the saline spray in each nostril (2 sprays in each side but not one right after the other).
He hates the spray as much as he hated the "boogie sucker".
Hopefully you can try the Vicks trick and it will work well for your little one.

What I use to do was put up a vaporizer/humidifier and let it run all the time and also use triaminic syrup. I don't even know if they still make it. I also would rub Vicks vapor rub on my children. A new study says to rub it on infants feet. Hope this works.

have you tried saline nose spray? that works really well to get the congestion softened enough to get it out with the bulb.

also, I put a humidifier in my kids' rooms when their chests are congested. it usually happens in the winter when it's dry in the house due to the heater.

sorry, just read your response. so glad you both got a good night's sleep!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.