27 answers

Stuffed up Every Night

My three year old has had his adnoids removed and tubes in his ears. We matter of fact just went to the ENT for a checkup not so long ago. At that time I told him that my son has a lot of trouble getting good sleep. He is restless and sounds stuffed up every night. I hear him breathing which you are not suppose to be able to do! I have tried, vaporizers, humidity, saline drops, allergy meds, some help for a brief period but not all night. Last night I put him in bed with me and it was awful, he hates breathing through is mouth but that is all he could do. I got up three times to do saline to help, it did but not for long. The ENT said he had large tonsils but wasn't concerned with needing to remove them yet, he said he doesn't have allergy type symptoms. Neither of my kids have allergies and none of the allergy meds did anything anyway. He seems dry, but stuffed up. I know the dry air here is a killer on noses, I have tried steamy bathroom, humidifiers all of that and it isn't helping.
The ENT said he would recheck him or call him if it got worse. My concern is I can tell even though he is in bed 11 hours and seems to be sleeping he isn't sleeping peacefully. During the day he breathes through his nose a lot better too. I have cleaned all the dust out of his room, put a allergy pillow there in his room, kept the pets out just in case and it isn't helping at night! Anyone have any ideas?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for all the tips and advice. IT WAS NOT MILK Allergy, it was not due to his vaccinations (got into a huge debate on that one with someone), it was not anything I could pinpoint. HOWEVER, that said, I continued the saline drops but used them throughout the day like every three hours, I propped his bed up by his pillow area and he seems fine now. The first few nights I also did the Vicks Vapor Rub on his chest too. My daughter had seasonal allergies when she was younger and when I called the Dr again about it he felt to make sure if he played outside to give him a shower or bath before bedtime, this may have or may not have helped. On Sunday he had to go to a friends house to play while my daughter and I did something else and the mom said he sneezed like fifteen times or more in a row, then it was done. Don't ask me what happened, if indeed he just had this mystery virus or he indeed just needed the relief too during the day with the saline and got it all out. He has slept great the past three nights in a row, with mouth closed. When I take him in for his next ear tube check up the ENT said he would revisit the idea of removing his tonsils but at this point since there was no obvious signs of infection that tonsils that are just large he may grow into them. I have to say I think the propping of his bed was the big one to help him at night. Thank you all for all the tips and advice. I am relieved I did not have to take him off of milk as I am very pro dairy especially for kids that need it for healthy bones and teeth. I am very thankful it wasn't something major and hopefully it will just be something we won't have to deal with again unless he is truly sick.

Featured Answers

Prop him up a little. Depending on the type of bed you are using, If it is a toddler bed you can put a pillow under the mattress and then give him a pillow also. Make it real gradual. A twin size bed you can just slip it under the fitted sheet to keep it in place. My kids are movers when it comes to sleeping, to the point of trading places when they sleep (the share a double bed), But the stay less stuffy when I can get them on a slight incline. If it is to steep though they end up at the bottom of the bed.

Have you tried petroleum jelly? Just a little dab on the end of a Q-tip and rub it just inside his nose. The heat of the nose will melt the jelly and provide a sort of protective barrier inside his nose. Should help with dryness and prevent some nose bleeds if they ever happen.

D.,
Food Allergy? I know when I eat certain foods I get really congested. Dairy is a big one and wheat also can cause problems as well as corn.

Allergy meds don't always help. Try eliminating certain foods out of his diet and see if that helps.
C. B

More Answers

Hi D.--

I agree with the chiropractor suggestion. I also think you might want to have him checked for yeast. Yeast can get into the nasal passages and lungs and cause these type of symptoms. I have a great chiropractor/bio-energetic practitioner off of I-25 and Colorado blvd you can test your son for allergies, yeast, adjust, and anything else you can think of. He has a non-invasive diagnostic technique called electral dermal screening (EDS) that can give you some solid answers. I believe this man saved my son's health when he was a baby due to severe allergies. I highly recommend you take him to see him. Let me know if you would like his information.

J.

My 3 year old daughter was just going through this same scenario. I thought it was her adnoids because her pediatrician told me that her tonsils were big but not big enough to be removed. When I took her to the ENT he said to take out her tonsils too. I was a little paranoid if I was making the right choice and not just doing it to do it, but since her surgery she sleeps soundly and quietly!
I was so glad that we did this!!!
(We also had her tested for allergies during her surgery just to see if any of her breathing issues were due to allergies--we went through the whole nasal sprays-- allergy stuff too prior to the surgery--and she came out negative for any allergies at all. I am telling you it was the tonsils!)
Good Luck--and just look around for a doctor who will do it if yours won't.

D.
my 5 year old daugher is the same way. What we have done is put her on flonase- it has changed her life. We also put her comforter in an allergen free bag and took her stuffed animals off her bed. She is now breathing much better at night- still snores but is doing better.

Good Luck and I highly recommend Flonase if you have not tried it- you will need a script from your doctor.

S.

Hi,

I have 5 children ranging from ages 6 to 27. 3 of my children have had tonsils and adenoids removed for numerous reasons. What a difference it has made for all 3 including rarely getting sick. This morning I went on line because my 6 y.o. who HAS NOT had anything removed but had tubes placed in both her ears at the age of 5 months, has been chronically stuffed up for almost a year. We are both soooo frustrated. She cries and goes thru at least 2 boxes of kleenexes a day trying to clear out her head. Now I'm beginning to think you have something here. Her tonsils are extremely large and I'll bet her adenoids are too. I will definitely be contacting her Pediatrician on Monday to be referred to our ENT Dooctor. Good luck, but please do not be afraid of surgery, it is extremely common and what a difference it will make for your child whom will be much more comfortable. At this moment I am listening to my 6 y.o. daughter cry because she cannot breath and I feel so helpless. It is not fair for her to be so miserable. Take Care! J.

Prop him up a little. Depending on the type of bed you are using, If it is a toddler bed you can put a pillow under the mattress and then give him a pillow also. Make it real gradual. A twin size bed you can just slip it under the fitted sheet to keep it in place. My kids are movers when it comes to sleeping, to the point of trading places when they sleep (the share a double bed), But the stay less stuffy when I can get them on a slight incline. If it is to steep though they end up at the bottom of the bed.

Hi D.,
What kind of pillow does he have.
It could be that he has an allergy to his pillow, to the laundry soap you use, to the type of fabric in his sheets and pillow case, or the blanket on his bed.
The first thing I would do is wash his bedding every day and see if that helps.
I would try a different laundry soap.
My youngest son had that at among other things, and when he was small I had to give him what the call a "clean room".
Every single day until he was 8 years old, I have to wash his walls, his curtains his bedding and put a plastic cover on his mattress and pillows.
But I would try just washing the bedding and sheets and pillow cases in a different laundry soap for a few days and see if that helps.
And they do make breathing strips for the nose at night.
Good luck honey.

D.,

That would be so frustrating. I know you Doctor said that the symptoms didn't look like allergies, but you have to wonder. Is the Doctor you talked to an allergist(specialist) or just a regular Doctor? I have a son with many allergies and the pediatrician kept wanting to give creams and medications, When we finally got to the allergist we got so many answers concerning his allergies. If you have good insurance that would be beneficial. Allergy testing can be expensive, but it is so worth it to improve the quality of your childs life. I wouldn't rule out allergies until you know for sure. Good luck! It is so hard to watch the people you love suffer.

K. P.

Get him off all dairy

I am surprised that they did not remove his tonsils also. When they pull one there is better success with pulling both. Have get a sleep study. This lets the doctors have solid proof there is a problem. For some reason most doctors don't believe what we as mom's tell them.

Until then, prop him up a bit while he sleeps. This really helps with the drainage. You don't have the problem during the day because he is up and about more.

Good luck.

Dear D., Have you tried Breathe Right Nasal strips, or simply rubbing mentholatum on his chest or even a little on his upperlip, right beneath his nostrils. That really seems to help my daughter when she's stuffed up. J. L

I had the same problem with both of my girls and the best thing that we ever did was take out their tonsils. They would "sleep" for 13 or 14 hours and still not feel rested because they had so much trouble breathing. After recovering from their surgeries they would only sleep about 10 hours but be well rested and much happier!! I slept with both of them before they had their tonsils out and was in agony listening to them trying to breathe and sounding so congested and snoring really loud. When I told my doctor about it he had me listen to them as they slept to see if they were experiencing sleep apnea which they both were. I had confused the apnea for a stuffy nose when in reality it was their tonsils all along! If your 3 year old has large tonsils I would seriously consider getting them out. When I would look into my girls throats their tonsils were so big that I could barely see the uvula hanging in between. Also, listen to your child and see if he is holding his breath at all while he is sleeping. My girls both had their surgeries right before they turned three and I am so glad we did it. As a side note...it also helped in the potty training process. After the tonsillectomy neither of them ever wet the bed again. Better sleepers are able to hold it all night long!

My daughter was having the same issue, and nothing helped. I even was using Eucalyptus oil in my vaporizer which is supposed to be the best thing, and it didn't help her breathe. Then, a friend turn me on to Little Colds Vaporizing Baby Rub. It's the same brand as Little Noses, etc. It's wonderful! She falls asleep and stays asleep with ease. It's not like Vicks where it's really pungent in smell and sticky. No, she loves it. The scent is lemon and chamomile and I like it. And the best part that I've found is after using it for a couple of weeks, I don't have to use it very often, and she still breathes easy. Definitely worth a try! Good luck and good sleeping to both you and your little guy.

Since he breaths better during the day when he is upright, try putting his mattress on an incline. I personally breath better at night if I incline my head.

D.,

My less than 2 yr old had both her adenoids and tonsils removed because of similar issues. It took about a month after the surgery until she was breathing completely normal. If it was me, I would go back to the ENT and ask him about the tonsils again. Ours thought the tonsils weren't too bad...but when she took them out she was shocked by how bad they were. If no allergies are present, this would seem to be the best option. It was life changing for us.

Good luck.

Have you tried petroleum jelly? Just a little dab on the end of a Q-tip and rub it just inside his nose. The heat of the nose will melt the jelly and provide a sort of protective barrier inside his nose. Should help with dryness and prevent some nose bleeds if they ever happen.

Tonsils are sneaky little buggers! Our son had his tonsils and adenoids removed and although the ENT didn't think we should worry about the tonsils, she took them out anyway and found out they were INFECTED! ENTs know a lot, but not everything. Your sons tonsil may be infected which causes cold, sinus infections etc. Be strong and tell the ENT what YOU want, not what the ENT wants. I learned that the hard way!

My 6 month old was stuffy every night for a while and the doctor suggested for me to have him sleep with his head elevated so the stuffiness would stay down thanks to gravity. If anything it is worth a shot. I ended up buying a triangle shaped pillow to elevate him in his crib. He sleeps 10 hours a night! :)

I don't know if this will help, but I have noticed that when I am stuffed up, it helps if I sleep slightly propped up. For my kids, I turn their pillow so it's long ways, then I put a throw pillow under the top of it, so it's just a gentle slope for them to lay on.

D. K,

Have you tried either of these 2 alternatives? Sometimes congestion is a sign of too much dairy. According to our pediatrician, milk and cheese can cause the congestion. I know it may be hard to give up the Mac-N-Cheese, but it may be helping to cause it.

The 2nd person I'd recommend is a chiropractor that specializes in children. Sometime, those baby falls knock the spine out of alignment. That too can cause congestion.

I would start with the dairy, and milk chocolate candy is dairy. If that doesn't help, talk to the chiropractor.

A.

I agree with Jodi L. Try breath right or a generic nasal strip, rather than filling him with different medications. I swear by those things you can't believe how well they work opening up nasal passages.

Tonsils are toxin catchers. He is really toxic and needs to be able to get rid of those things. They are swollen because they can't handle the volume by themselves. I would love to help you and your son if you are interested about hearing what we have done in our family to help.

I'm shocked your doc said his symptoms aren't allergy. In my world, he has classic indoor/outdoor allergy symptoms. Sometimes congestion and repeated ear infections is sign of a corn or milk allergy. My husband gets very congested within 20 minutes every time he has milk or ice cream. He still eats dairy though and puts up with the congestion. Congestion is classic for dairy allergy.

Some allergy meds need to be taken for a week or two before seeing relief. Some meds work for some people, while they don't work for other people. Maybe the med you tried for him just didn't address his issue. You could try Benadryl for a week twice a day/12 hours apart and see if this gives him any relief. If it does, then it's definate allergy. Although, Benadryl can cause tiredness or excitablity or he may be too young for it.

Our son had ear aches and congestion from birth to 3 1/2 years old. He had his anoids taken out and two sets of tubes by two years old. We took him to a Gonstead Chiropractor at 3 1/2 years old and he hasn't had an ear infection since. He's turning 11 next month. He gets treated for his allergies, which caused him a lot of congestion in the past. Chiropractor treatments helped a lot as well with the congestion and getting the him to drain. He's on maintenance adjustments now (only goes when he needs to).

We go to Dr. Woods-Powers Chiropractic in Colorado Springs. Our daughter has had adjustments since birth and hasn't ever been sick enough to need antibotics. She's now seven. She rarely gets sick. Our oldest son (13) does great with the adjustments as well.

D.,
Food Allergy? I know when I eat certain foods I get really congested. Dairy is a big one and wheat also can cause problems as well as corn.

Allergy meds don't always help. Try eliminating certain foods out of his diet and see if that helps.
C. B

My son was only a week old when he started getting stuffed up everyday (which I am sure IS from the dry air here since my husband has the same problem and he's originally from Portland, OR). He at least can breathe through his nose, but he's a really loud breather at night if I don't suction it ALL out. I asked his pediatrician about XClear (I've been using it for a couple of years when I get all stuffed up from allergies) and his ped said, "we love xclear!" and it's because it's not as drying as the saline and it actually moisturizes (which is useful in this very arid climate we live in). So if you haven't tried it, try the Xclear and suctioning it ALL out before you put him to bed (my 8 week old hates having his nose suctioned out with the bulb - but he breathes so much better when I do).

Hi,
Very often stuffiness can be related to food allergies especially seen in young ones. Dairy and gluten are the major culprits with dairy often the more prevelant one. I would look into eliminating dairy form his diet for at least 6 weeks and see if that makes any difference. if it doesn't work you can try gluten. Feel free to email if you have any questions.
In good health,
T.
T. Sobel, Dipl.O.M.
Acupuncture, Nutrition & Herbs
###-###-####

I would ask your ENT about nasal polyps. There's a tissue in your nostril that can swell and block the nasal passage, either partially or fully. It can be aggravated by colds and allergies. You can actually try looking up his nose when he's having a hard time breathing, and if he has them it will look almost like a flesh colored bead stuck up his nose. I had a problem with them myself for most of my life till I got my tonsils and adenoids (both of wich had been large all of my life) removed just two years ago. Actually, the polyps still bother me some, but not nearly as much as before. Before they would swell so bad that I simply could not breathe through my nose. I've also read that corticosteroid sprays, (like Flonase) can help with them.

Nasonex has been a life saver for our baby. He also shows no signs of allergies, but it cleared up chronic ear infections and he breathes much more easily now. I also have an ENT that we absolutely love, who's very slow to do surgery unless absolutely necessary. If you want his name, I'd be happy to pass it on. GL

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