Is It Normal for Newborns to Be Congested?

Updated on May 01, 2011
M.R. asks from Corona, CA
11 answers

My son is about to be one month old on Tuesday. Since we brought him home he's been congested. Is this normal? We've been using saline drops, nasal aspirator and cool mist humidifier on him and it doesn't seem to work. The doctor said it could just be the weather changes, we live in California and right now it's going from hot to cold, sunny to rainy. We have a short haired cat, I'm not sure if it could be making things worse or not. I feel so bad for my baby he's too small to constantly have a stuffy nose.

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answers from New York on

I agree with several of the previous posts...congestion is normal in newborns. However, keep an eye on it. Frequent congestion is also a sign of acid reflux.

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answers from Houston on

Extremely normal, because their nasal passages aren't fully formed yet and also their immune systems are not as developed. The other moms gave great ideas.

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answers from Boston on

Does he just sound "stuffy" or is his nose really running? It's normal for babies to sound a little "snargly" because their noses are so small and they are "obligate nose breathers" - they don't learn to breathe through their mouths for a couple of months. If he really has a runny nose, something is probably up. I wouldn't worry about it too much if he otherwise seems content.

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answers from St. Louis on

my poor baby is STILL congested from when he was born. The doctor said at 1 month that he wanted to wait and see if it cleared up. All their sinus cavities are still developing after birth and it is easy for infections to get up in there, but it is also just easy for them to get congested sounding because everything isn't fully developed yet. At 2 months, they did a round of antibiotics, just in case there was an infection cause it still hasn't gone away (they did also test for RSV, but he was clear for it). That helped somewhat, but not really. Now he is really snotty and it's actually draining out so I've been suctioning away. The doctors have finally concluded now at almost three months that its the weather (we've been getting weather much like yours) and the still developing sinuses and that we are just going to have to wait him out and keep doing what I'm doing to help him breathe. Now I usually just have to clean out his nose once before bed and once in the morning and he sounds alright for the rest of the day (a little congested, but breathable). So ya, your doctors may not be too concerned until he gets to 2-3 months and its still consistent. It's definitely normal in the very beginning though.

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answers from Detroit on

you may need to keep the cat in a different part of the house for a little while just to see if it might be the irritant and making the baby congested. also the weather could be big factor also. just continue to keep a close on it and keep in close contact with his doctor about the situation. good luck and i hope your little guy feels better!

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answers from Los Angeles on

My 4 yo was a home birth and had no problems with congestion. My 6 month old started getting really congested at the hospital, enough that I was worried he couldn't breath, and sure enough they got all kinds of yucky goo out, but he still wakes up snotty. We have two cats and a dog, but mostly I just put some saline in and let him sniffle and snort it clear. It is rare anymore that I suction it out, but I did for about 3 months. I asked the Doctor, but she said just continue with the saline and suction as needed...
Good luck!

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answers from Allentown on

One of the other things to consider is his birth. Some obs and mws are moving away from vigorous suctioning at birth with the idea that the irritation is less ideal than allowing the baby to clear the gunk his/herself. That was a surprise I wasn't prepared for with my FIFTH baby, lol.

If you haven't already, I would suggest keeping tabs on his temperature. Mine did switch from "gooey" to actually sick (100.8*) before he was a month old (though that was due to his 4 older siblings @@.)

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answers from Provo on

I agree with the fact that most newborns sound congested. If you had a vaginal delivery his nose may have been pressed in a little bit and will pop out after a while.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My son also went through this when he was 1 month. I just assumed that he had a bit of a cold. It cleared up after about three weeks. Elevating his head just slightly seemed to help at night a lot.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I'm in Ca too with a three month old and she's been congested as well since birth. Not enough to warrant bulbing her nose but she does sound kind of stuffy and snorty when she sleeps sometimes. We also had cats and our ped doesn't think it's allergies, neither do we but we'll keep an eye on it.
It hasn't gotten worse and is slowly going away. I agree with the other post to just monitor his temperature and make sure it's not getting worse. I'm sure it will clear up.
Congrats and good luck!

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answers from Atlanta on

Hi Maria,

His little immune system is having a hard time adjusting to his environment. Building it can be simple but you have to have the first piece of the puzzle in order to understand the logic behind it.

Little ones are susceptible to a lot of things in the home because their lungs are smaller and their immune system is not built to fight off some of the things we have. Everything synthetic attacks the immune system so we don't have enough strength to fight off the natural things like the cat. If the immune system is strong, the symptoms should go away.

Laundry detergent is a big thing because we wash everything in it, it leaves residues on the clothes and bedding and then our skin absorbs the toxicities. Even some of the "baby" detergents are not safe. Diet is important as well. Sometimes dairy will cause congestion. If he is on dairy formula that could be an issue that is exacerbating the problem.

Principled chiropractic care is also another way to build the immune system. I took my youngest daughter straight from the hospital to the DC because the birthing process is traumatic on a little ones spinal column and entire nuerological system. I can explain more in detail if you are interested.

One of the first symptoms of a compromised immune system is a simple sniffle. PM me if you'd like more info or would like to talk. I'm available.

God bless,


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