Best Sleeping Position for Baby with Stuffy Nose

No matter how hard you try to keep baby in a clean and safe environment, there will come a time when baby suffers from a stuffy nose. And when baby suffers, everyone else does too. It’s incredibly hard to see your little one in discomfort and the helpless feeling grows when you’ve been kept up all night trying to comfort them. 

Why Do Babies Get Congested?

There are multiple reasons why your baby may suffer from a stuffy nose. The quality of the air, seasonal allergies, common colds or other viruses can all cause congestion in babies. Some symptoms include:

  • Noisy breathing
  • Sneezing and sniffling
  • Coughing
  • Fussy behaviour
  • Trouble feeding or sleeping 
  • Runny nose and mucous

Nasal congestion is particularly uncomfortable for infants as they haven’t learned to breathe through their mouths yet and even the littlest bit of inflammation in a teeny-tiny nose can make breathing difficult.

Have a Game Plan

One of the best things for baby to recover from a bad bout of congestion is sleep, putting you in a bit of a Catch 22 situation. Knowing how to alleviate the symptoms of a stuffy nose can help you help baby breathe better and get some much-needed rest.

Baby Steam Sauna

Get baby used to the fancy life by creating a little sauna to help clear a congested nose. Sit on a towel in the bathroom with the door closed and run some hot water for up to 10 minutes.  The steam created by the hot water helps loosen up the mucous and provides some relief. You can also do this by running a warm bath. 


Continue the health spa theme by giving baby a gentle massage. Use your fingertips to massage their temples, forehead, eyebrows, and cheeks. Apart from releasing the sinuses, your touch will also help baby relax.

Saline Drops and Suction Bulb

Many doctors recommend saline drops to relieve congestion in infants as they do not contain any medication. You can use it before naptime and bedtime as well as before feeds if the congestion is bad. Simply spritz a little into baby’s nostril to loosen blocked mucous. If you prefer drops, then one or two drops of the saline solution should suffice. Use a nasal aspirator to suck out the mucous so that your baby sleeps easier. A nasal suction bulb works similarly.

Use a Humidifier

The air at home can get really dry when the heat has been on. This in turn causes mucous to thicken and block baby’s nose. A humidifier increases the moisture levels in the air which in turn helps moisten baby’s nasal passages. 

Hydration Matters

A blocked nose can make it difficult for baby to feed. Make sure your baby stays hydrated through the day by shorter but more frequent feeds if necessary. Your pediatrician may also recommend an electrolyte solution like Pedialyte for infants 12 months and older. Remember to always consult your pediatrician before administering any vitamin or electrolyte supplements.

Sleeping Positions

Keeping your baby upright a great way to help mucous drain from their nasal passages. You can use a baby carrier or a wrap to keep your baby close to you and upright during the day. This helps drain the mucous away from the ears and can act as a preventive measure against ear infections. This also allows you to monitor baby through the day.

The only safe position for baby to sleep at night is on her back maintains the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Joint Statement of Safe Sleep, especially when baby is less than a year old. Hopefully, all the measures mentioned above should help baby drift off to dreamland easily. 

Do not use a pillow or a cloth to elevate baby’s head. If baby wakes up at night, you can always hold her upright for a while to help the mucous drain away and place her back in her crib once she has fallen asleep. 

Contact Your Pediatrician:

While colds tend to go away in about a week, contact your pediatrician if you notice baby:

  • Is wheezing or grunting
  • Flaring her nose
  • Showing worsening symptoms
  • Has a fever
  • Is dehydrated

Apart from nasal congestion, there are plenty of other reasons why baby won’t sleep. I have covered them in an article here

Do you need help getting a congested baby to sleep? Book your complimentary 15-minute enlightenment call with me today.