Health

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Experts Say These 5 Homeopathic Remedies Will Clear Your Baby's Stuffy Nose

The chicken soup thing is more than just a myth.

If you have a baby or toddler, one thing you can pretty much count on is that they’re going to have a cold or a stuffy nose at some point this winter. This year, when your little one starts sniffling, you might want to try these homeopathic remedies for baby’s stuffy nose, especially since babies can't take cold medication.

“We don't recommend any cough and cold preparations for children under 4 years old,” pediatrician Dr. Randy Thornton, M.D., tells Romper. In addition to being dangerous for young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that “cold and cough products that are taken by mouth don't work in children younger than 6 years and can have potentially serious side effects.” But when your baby has a cold or a stuffed-up nose (and is crying and not sleeping well as a result), you’re going to want to do something to help.

"Homeopathics, by definition, are products that do not contain significant amounts of active ingredients. There is little concern in trying these products, but they are typically not worth the cost," pediatrician Dr. Natasha Burgert, M.D., FAAP, tells Romper. So while you can probably skip the fancy sprays and natural syrups, the good news is that there are other homeopathic remedies that you likely already have in your house. From chicken soup to the good old NoseFrida, check out these homeopathic remedies which can help your tot breathe a little easier during cold season.

1

Saline & Suctioning

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While it's not the most glamorous job in the world, suctioning the snot out of your baby's nose with a bulb syringe (also known as a nasal aspirator) or a NoseFrida really works, especially when paired with a saline solution that helps to thin out mucus. "[Saline] is the best thing by far," Thornton tells Romper. "Keep in mind, babies do not know how to breathe out of their mouths. For the first four months, they are 100% dependent on their nose." He adds that it's not dangerous because if they get stuffy, they'll cry, which forces them to breathe out of their mouth. "But if they're crying, they're not going to eat or sleep as well. So in that first year of life, saline is the best thing for stuffy noses," he says. You can buy premade saline drops for babies at most drugstores, or you could learn how to make your own using distilled water and salt (just remember if you make your own, it won't have a preservative in it, so should be made fresh every day).

2

Chicken Soup

I always thought eating chicken soup to help rid a cold was an old wives' tale, but it turns out there's some real truth to it, and if your baby is old enough to eat solids, you'll definitely want to give this remedy a shot. "Grandparents have known it for generations, but there's science behind chicken soup," Thornton tells Romper. "There is an amino acid, cystine, in the chicken broth. It's the perfect expectorant. It works better than Mucinex for getting that mucus out." So if your toddler is super stuffy, you could try whipping up some homemade soup with chicken broth and some soothing spices; it will be both comforting and yummy, and could speed up their recovery.

3

A Humidifier

"I recommend my patients stick to the basics of good hydration, humidification, and rest," Burgert tells Romper. You may already have a humidifier in your baby's room, but if not, it's definitely worth the investment (and there are some really cute and affordable ones out there). Adding moisture to the air will help your child breathe easier when their nose is stuffy — just remember to clean the humidifier regularly to avoid circulating unclean mist.

They can also help prevent colds, too. "A humidifier is great, especially in the dry winter months. The little membranes in the nose get fragile and they can crack and bleed, and germs can more easily get in there," Thornton says. One thing to note is that if you're using a diffuser as a humidifier, skip the essential oils and diffuse just water. "Using essential oils can be especially triggering for kids with asthma or other breathing issues, so they are not typically recommended," Burgert says.

4

Fluids, Tea, & Honey (If They're Old Enough)

Staying hydrated is key when you're sick, plus the extra fluids can help loosen mucus and snot. If your baby is under 6 months old and isn't yet drinking water, it's a good idea to continue to regularly offer them a bottle or breastmilk as frequently as you normally would, even if they don't seem to have much of an appetite. You could also make a lukewarm herbal tea for your toddler; chamomile, fennel, ginger, and mint are all safe for kids, per Healthline. Thornton warns that you cannot feed raw honey to children under a year old (it's linked to botulism), but he adds that for babies over 12 months old, honey is great for easing a cough.

5

Other Tips

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Both Burget and Thornton stressed that while colds are pretty much inevitable, trying to prevent them is best. This means lots of handwashing (something your child likely mastered in 2020). "Toddlers’ hands go right to their face," Thornton says, and this can spread germs. If your child is coughing or severely stuffed up, Thornton says you can try Vicks Vaporub for kids over 2. You could also run a hot shower, then sit in the steamy bathroom with your child (which basically works as a room-sized humidifier).

It's always the actual worst to have a sick child, especially when they're too young for cold and cough medicine. But you don't have to watch to your little one suffer (or let your own sleep suffer) just because they have a stuffy nose. There are plenty of homeopathic remedies that really will ease congestion, and most of them don't even require a trip to the drugstore.

Experts:

Dr. Natasha Burgert, M.D., FAAP, pediatrician in Overland Park, KS who writes at KCKidsDoc.com

Dr. Randy Thornton, M.D., pediatrician at Wolfson Children’s Hospital