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My Baby Has Phlegm: What Should I Do?

Mucus in a baby is often a concern for young parents who wonder how they can help their baby. What causes phlegm in an infant, and how can you help your child evacuate it? Truck Mania brings you the answers in the rest of this article.

Mucus In Babies: What Is It?

The mucus in the baby is nothing but thick mucus produced by the mucous membranes of his body, which can clog his nose, throat or bronchi. This excess mucus has a biological utility: protecting the mucous membranes against irritating substances or germs (viruses, bacteria, etc.) that spread within its ENT pathways. When a baby has mucus, it is, therefore, only a normal reaction of his body to fight against the presence of an irritant or infectious agent. 

My Baby Has Mucus: Is It Serious?

It is ubiquitous for newborns to be clogged with “birth mucus” in the hours following their birth. It is, in fact, a mixture of amniotic fluid, gastric secretions and saliva, which comes up from his stomach due to the immaturity of his digestive motor skills. Generally, birth mucus tends to disappear entirely beyond birth and is relatively benign. When it occurs a little later, phlegm in infants is most often the result of an infection of the respiratory tract, such as nasopharyngitis. 

When they are present in excessive quantities or are particularly thick, they can obstruct the child’s nose and bronchi, causing respiratory discomfort which is accompanied by noises (the baby gives the impression of “purring” while breathing), difficulty eating and sleeping and sometimes mucous diarrhea if the baby swallows them. In infants, a few months old who are still unable to cough it out, mucus can also cause vomiting. 

The mere presence of mucus is generally not very serious if you help your baby get rid of it by washing the nose and if it is not accompanied by other symptoms such as fever and deterioration in the child’s general condition. On the other hand, it can be more worrying in very young babies who cannot cough or spit up. Their particularly narrow airways can become easily obstructed with the risk of creating respiratory distress or significant weight loss linked to the inability to eat.

What To Do If Your Baby Has Mucus?

Consult A Doctor

If your baby has phlegm, it is always best to consult a general practitioner or pediatrician to ensure there are no complications or particular risks for the child. The consultation becomes all the more urgent if mucus is accompanied by fever, a deterioration in the baby’s general condition or respiratory signs such as cough. The occurrence of respiratory distress constitutes an absolute emergency. It is identified by observing a particular difficulty and noisy breathing, flapping of the wings of the nose and a “suction” of the skin of the thorax between the ribs (intercostal drawing).

Help Him Evacuate Them

Since your baby cannot blow his nose on his own, it is necessary to help him evacuate the excess mucus that clogs his nose or throat by washing his nose repeatedly. Several nose passes a day are therefore essential when the airways are congested. Generally, the moments before meals and bedtime are preferred to help the baby eat better and sleep better.

Washing the nose with physiological serum allows mucus to come out, reduces the local infectious load and keeps the nasal mucous membranes well-hydrated. Concretely, to unclog your baby’s nose, you must use simple single-use saline pipettes for toddlers. In babies over six months old, nasal wash syringes with a silicone tip can be used, which are generally more effective. 

Pressurized nasal sprays that combine thinners and local antiseptic agents can also be used for older children. If nose washes are insufficient to remove all the mucus clogging the baby’s nose, you can finally use a baby aspirator to suck out the residual mucus. To facilitate the evacuation of excess phlegm, it is also advisable to thin the secretions as much as possible by hydrating your baby and humidifying the air in the house and his room. 

To keep your baby well hydrated despite a likely decrease in appetite, offer the breast more often if he is breastfed or increase the frequency of bottles.  From the child’s six months, you can even suggest that he drink a little water between his main meals. Using an air humidifier at home can also help thin phlegm and make it easier to eliminate. If you don’t have one, you can just as quickly place a large bowl of hot water in your baby’s room or hang some clothes to dry there. 

Also, consider raising the mattress of your child’s bed a little so that their head is slightly higher than the rest of their body. Raising him like this can help relieve his nasal congestion while sleeping. Do not place a cushion or pillow in your child’s bed to create a recline safely. Simply slide a rolled-up blanket under the mattress, not making a gap between the bed wall and the mattress, where the baby could get stuck.

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