16 answers

Congestion in 6 Week Old Infant -- Possibly a Food Allergy or Environmental?

My 6 week old son has sounded congested for the past 2 weeks. We saw the dr two days after it started and she didn't seem concerned because he has no other symptoms: no fever, no cough, no hives, his nose isn't runny, and he is eating well (he's exclusively breast-fed). He is not fussy at all either. However, he sounds very "snorty", like all the congestion is in the back of his nose/throat and occasionally he will gag on the phlegm, like he has post-nasal drip. My husband, daughter and I all suffer from seasonal allergies and have had stuffy noses, itchy eyes and post-nasal drip for the past few weeks, too, but I didn't think infants developed seasonal allergies so early in life.
I wondered if the other cause was food-related. I don't eat a lot of any one food, especially not dairy, peanuts or soy, but I DO eat all that stuff. Food allergies run in my family; my nephew was severely allergic to dairy, soy, peanuts and tree nuts for the first three years of his life and my husband is very sensitive to dairy.
I should also mention that we have a cat, but take special precautions because my husband is slightly allergic to cats. I also don't wear perfume or have scented candles, air freshners, etc. in my home because they cause me to get migraines.
Anyone else had an infant with a similar problem? What was the cause? Was it food or environmental? Any input would be appreciated!

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions! I suspect that the whole thing bothers me more than it bothers my little guy, particularly since he seem so happy and content. We have his 2-month appointment in a couple weeks, and I plan on addressing the issue with the dr then. Now that I think about it, I recall a friend's daughter being really congested for the first few months of her life for no good reason; this is probably the same sort of thing. But it's comforting to know that I am not alone in my experience with this! Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Hi E.!
I don't think that it is food related or allergy related. My son (who is now one and sometimes still has this problem) had those same exact symptoms when he was that age. It would freak me out at night because I was afraid with the junk running from his nose down his throat and him occasionally gagging that something might be wrong. I brought it up to his ped and she suggested saline drops and using a suction bulb, that did wonders!! I think it's just normal, I don't know what causes it and I can't say that for certain but I wouldn't be too worried about it.

Sorry, I probably wasn't much help. :)

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Hi E.!
I don't think that it is food related or allergy related. My son (who is now one and sometimes still has this problem) had those same exact symptoms when he was that age. It would freak me out at night because I was afraid with the junk running from his nose down his throat and him occasionally gagging that something might be wrong. I brought it up to his ped and she suggested saline drops and using a suction bulb, that did wonders!! I think it's just normal, I don't know what causes it and I can't say that for certain but I wouldn't be too worried about it.

Sorry, I probably wasn't much help. :)

1 mom found this helpful

I agree it's probably nothing but a little case of the sniffles, and it sounds like you do an amazing job of keeping allergens to a minimum. However - if it continues you may want to stress the allergy issue. Are baby's eyes red/runny? Is he developing a rash or swelling as would likely be the case with a food allergy? My sister had a several page list of allergies when she was young (two is the earliest I remember seeing the list, I don't know if she had one earlier) so I know you can develop allergies, etc young. My son developed asthma at two and my baby sis was earlier than that. With such a strong family history of allergies, it is best to keep an eye on it. However, there's no sense worrying over nothing either. Sometimes little bodies just do wierd things as they work out thier own personal kinks. My kids all developed symptoms that mimiced a cold when they were teething. People were constantly commenting on their "bad cold" when all it was was excess mucus, etc from teething! Each child/family is different. If it continues for too long, and your baby does seem to be experiencing allergic symptoms, ask your doctor about safe antihistamines for infants, etc. If baby keeps suffering and doc keeps brushing you off, get a second opinion from someone who treats more cases of allergies in children (not *necessarily* a specialist -though that's an option, in a lot of practices, there tends to be one pediatrician who treats the bulk of these cases because word's gotten around that they are "good") at the very least, the extra input will put you at ease. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,

My son had the same symptoms at about the same age. I stopped nursing him and the symptoms continued. It wasn't until he was just over 1 yr that we got him on allergy medicine and his symptoms got 100% better. Your baby is probably too young for allergy meds but I would definitely keep up on it. We ended up on steroids, nebulizers, anti-biotics for ear infections until finally I got the ped dr. to refer me to a pulmonary dr who thought his astham type triggers were allergy related. It's definitely possible it's allergies with your family history. Good luck and keep at the ped dr. They don't know everything like we wished they did.

I feel your concern because, I have allergies and now asthma. My doctor told me that my asthma came from the fact that I had allergies, so please becareful about subjecting allergiens to family members to known allergiens.

I came across this video and I was blown away by this story. Watch toxic brew 1 and 2, you will see that we are in the right place to help yourselves and others that we care about.

Melaleuca is the answer and we are with the right team, so past this on to the ones that you love and care about.


L. Lock

Probibly just bringing up some left over gunk from being born or a slight cold...
Your doing good by keeping an eye on it. If it doesn't lessen soon or you notice anything else,then listen to your mommy sense and go back to DR...
Everyone I know has really been hit this year by runny noses and coughs. Not suprizeing to me that your little one, even though he's nursing may have ended up with a light case of something. Your protecting him from being hit hard by nursing him...:-)

Hi E.. I had the same problem with two of my three children. By the time they hit ten weeks, this cleared up. I was so worried about it, we made about 6 trips to the doctors office. In the end, the doc told me that you have to remember that they are newborn and their bodies are just reacting to the very many things in the air that we have surrounding us. I would suggest that you just watch him and make sure his phlegm doesn't get any worse. I know how difficult it is to watch your baby suffer with even the most minor ailment. I just wish us moms had a magic wand we could take to just make it all better! Good luck and congradulations!!

My son just turned 1 in April and has started having a lot of congestion also. His doctor thinks that it could be allergies. We have started children's claritin and an antibiotic to try and clear up the congestion. We take him back to the doctor Tuesday. If the congestion is not better then the doctor is going to start allergy testing. So allergies can appear at a very young age. If it persists I would take your child back to the doctor because severe allergies in a young child can cause asthma.

You might want to consider it to be time to have your ducts cleaned out. That could be a major part of everyone's problems. Check where mildew might be a problem, like bathrooms or basements.

But yeah babies get stuffy. You could try using a vaporizer in the baby's room. Or some Vick's on his chest to help clear the breathing passages.

actually reflux can sound like congestion and is completely normal as a little ones digestive system continues to develop outside of the womb... call your pediatrician and they will share with you some techniques that will help such as keeping the baby upright after a feeding :)

Hi E.~
My boys were all like that, too. One even ended up in the hospital with RSV (I know it's not related). Have you tried plain saline spray and then cleaning his nose out with a bulb syringe? I have found that to be a HUGE help to my boys. There is a baby brand of saline and the blue hospital type bulb works best. It not only helps clear the junk out, but helps keep allergens, bacteria and germs out. Other than that there's not much to be done for a newborn. Sounds like you are great about keeping allergens to a minimum...sometimes babies are just more stuffy than others. I hope that's all it is!


Hello E., My youngest had severe asthma at a very young age. By the time he was 6 weeks old he had had broncidis 4 times and was treated with antibiotics. That is what the docs told me it was. At 4 months old he started waking up in the night in a total panic. The pediatritions said he had night terrors. Then he started turning a greyish-blue color during these "night terrors". He was actually unable to breath!! His worst allergy turned out to be dust mites, which is why he had such severe allergies while in his crib. (It was a handed down mattress.) Also the pediatriciians were treating him with oral asthma meds and hadn't even told me that was what I was giving him. A friend of mine knew the meds and said they were for asthma. I confronted the doc who said that my son was wheezy at each visit!! But he didn't think he had asthma. I asked why he was on asthma meds then. He said because he was weezy. When my son was 7 months old, we had been in and out of the ER several times in the middle of the night for his turning blue, but by the time we got him there, he was always breathing better. (Away from the mattress that was full of the dust mites). The hosp was going with my sons docs diagnosis, wouldn't listen to me!! None of the docs would refere my son to a specialist because they thought I was the problem!!! I finally called my insurance company and asked how I could get a referal to a specialist. Because my son was being treated with the asthma meds, I didn't need to have one. So I set up an appt. with a pediatric allergist. This doc listened to my son for one breath with his scope and looked me in the eye and asked "how long has this baby been this bad!". I started to just cry, finally somebody was going to believe me. When I told him my story he was mortified. So please, learn from my story and know that yes babys can have severe allergies. And doctors don't always know all of the answers. My son had to use a nebulizer at home most of his childhood. Three times a day when he was well, and every 4 hours while ill. For his first 7 months, not knowing what was going on and having the docs think I was making him sick, was such a night mare. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. Trust your insticts on this one, there is a family history. If your son's doc won't listen, go to one who will. Good luck.

My son who is now 11yrs. old was that same way when he was born and my doctor had me give him baby juice (apple baby juice) and that was the only thing that made him not so congested. He was allergic to milk when he was born (just like I was) and he had to drink Isomile formula. But even that didn't stop him from being congested. I gave him is formula in his baby cereal and only a little in a bottle and had to follow it with baby apple juice. My doctor said it broke down the phlem that the milk or formula causes. Now, these days he does drink regular milk but not a lot of it. When he was 5yrs. old we decided to have his tonsils and agnoise taken out and the doctor was supprised of how large they were and asked me if he had ever stopped breathing in his sleep when he was smaller, because it was closing off his air passage way when he layed down. Now he does have a noticable diformatey to the roof of his mouth (only if you look there you can see it) but that was do to them being so large. He did have a bit of a speech problem because of it but do to speech thereopy he is getting better. Please understand this does not mean your son has the same problem, but this was my experience with my son. Thank you for listening and I hope in some way this helps you, and good luck with your baby boy.

My son (8mos) has had the snorty sounding breathing since shortly after birth. In fact, he got so bad, he was wheezing. You could feel it in his back when holding him.

Other than the snorty sounds, he's healthy. Eats well, weight is good, growth is good, nose isn't runny, eyes aren't red. He also was exclusively breast fed until 6 mos then we added food to the mix.

We had him on a nebulizer with albuterol and pulmicort, but nothing was helping. We took him to an ENT and a ped. pulmonologist. I really wanted to find out what was causing it. I alos have two children (daughter will be 4 in Aug) so I knew it wasn't normal which is what my ped. kept saying.

The ped. pulm. said it is most likely laryngomalacia and tracheomalacia. Basically, the trachea and larynx are "floppy" instead of rigid. Therefore, every time he breathes in the tubes collapse. It sounds alot worse than it is. It's not dangerous and he'll outgrow it (the tubes will "harden") by the time he is 18mos.

Without scoping my son, the pulm. couldn't make a definite diagnosis, but given that he is growing and interacting well, he really doesn't want to put him through a scope unless the symptoms don't go away by 18mos.

It sounds like your son may have the same thing. I recommend seeing a ped. pulm. I love the Dr. we went to. After being told over and over again that it was nothing, it was really reassuring to meet with him and have an answer to why my son was always snorting.

Good luck!

My baby girl has the exact same thing, actually I swear she came out sneezing!LOL! Anyway my doc told me some people naturally produce more mucas then others and since a baby's nasel passages are so small even a little bit sounds horrible.

Our doc recommended a warm mist humidifier at night and to suck out the extra mucas before she eats and sleeps. This has helped a lot and as long as we keep it up she does great. Although she does hate the booger sucker so much that at 4 months crys whenever she even sees it.

Good Luck and trust your instincts. If you think there is more going on then don't settle with your doc passing it off. Keep bringing it up.

God Bless
K. SAHM of 3

Hi E.
My youngest daughter had the same thing. Our peditrician said that some babies produce more mucus and just to bother with clearing up. She recommended we put a vaporizer in room for naps and bedtime. In the winter, I up-ed the humidity in our house. This went on for months, but in our case it was a developmental thing that eventually resolved. Sounds like from what your Dr. said, that it may be the same thing and nothing to worry too much about. It never seemed to bother my baby. I think it bothered me more!

My daughter, now 5 months, was also very boogery as a newborn. I had to use the "booger getter" at least 2x's a day. She started to outgrow it at about 3 or 4 months.
Blessings, K.

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