Q&A: Newborn Congested At Night? (What To Do & When To Worry)

  • Discover the typical causes of newborn congestion at night 
  • Find out how to ease congestion in a newborn who isn’t sick 
  • Plus, why you need to see a doctor before treating a newborn 
  • Bonus video: How To Help A Congested Baby Breathe

Do you have a newborn at home who is not feeling too well?

Do you think your little one is troubled with congestion especially at night?

Are you trying to understand why your newborn is suffering from congestion and what you can do to ease this?

If these are the kind of questions you have, we could help out with the answers! Check out if it’s normal for newborns to be alright in the day but feel congested at night around bed time. Also, look through some of the causes for this as well as find out a few ways in which you can help ease your little one’s congestion and make them feel better.

Is it possible for a newborn to seem fine during the day, but then suddenly be congested at night?

Is your infant congested at night?

As uncommon as it may sound, it is very highly possible that your newborn stays absolutely fine through the day, but once it is night and your little one is close to bed time, he or she starts feeling more congestion in the nose.

What could be causing newborn congestion at night?

There are quite a few reasons that could lead to the congestion in your newborn at night. Here are some of the causes that could be making your newborn uncomfortable.

1. Very narrow nasal passage:

  • The nasal passage of your newborn is very narrow, which means that your little one already has to put in a lot of extra effort to breathe properly in the first few weeks and even months.
  • Due to this narrow passage, there is always a higher risk that your newborn’s nasal passage can get blocked, leading to congestion especially in the night.
newborn congestion

2. It is possible that your newborn is sick:

  • Often, nasal congestion can also be a sign that your newborn is suffering from some other health issue.
  • For instance, even if your newborn has picked up a bit of common cold and cough, it is possible that he or she can then also experience congestion.

3. The air in your room could be too dry

  • If your newborn is born around the very harsh winter or summer months or if the area where you live is usually very dry, it can suck out the moisture from the air and make it difficult for your baby to breathe.
  • Often in such a case, you can use a humidifier or a cool mist vaporizer in the room where baby spends most of the time and sleeps at night, as it will help to add back some much needed moisture into the air. 
silent reflux and congestion

4. It is possible there are allergens and irritants in the air at home

  • You may be very regular with the cleaning of your house and especially the room in which your newborn spends most of the time, but often, there are tons of dust mites, allergens and irritants in our homes that we are unaware of, and are not able to see.
  • These can cause an allergic reaction in your newborn that can also cause congestion in the nasal passage and make it difficult for your little one to breathe.

5. The mucous is drying up inside:

  • If your newborn was earlier experiencing a cold and a runny nose which now seems to have gotten better, it can eventually turn into congestion that gets worse at night.
  • This is because if the cold is not completely healed, the fluid or the mucous can start to dry up inside your newborn’s nose, and as their nasal passage is already very narrow, it can lead to congestion.
how to clear newborn reflux congestion

6.  Sinusitis in the infant:

  • Some infants also suffer from a sinus problem very soon after birth and this can also make the nasal passage congested.
  • In case of infant sinusitis, there can be some swelling in your newborn’s nasal passage or the tonsil area or in the throat, all of which can also cause congestion.

If your baby isn’t sick, what can you do to ease newborn congestion at night?

Before you do anything else, it is important that you establish whether or not your newborn is sick or if this congestion is due to some other health issue. Once you are sure that your newborn is otherwise fine, you can try these to ease out your little one’s nasal congestion issues at night.

1. Use a saline nasal drop:

baby stuffy nose
  • You can check with your newborn’s paediatrician about the brand that they would prefer you to use for the little one.
  • Using a saline nasal drop will help to unclog the passage and in case there is any dried up mucous inside, it will also help to thin out the same.
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    To do this, you can gently get baby in sleep mode and help him or her to lie down in the crib or wherever your baby will be sleeping. Make sure that you place your newborn’s head at a slight incline so that the head is tilted back. This will allow the nasal drop to stay inside and not leak out.
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    Gently put the tip of the nasal drop just inside your little one’s nostril and squeeze out two or three drops. Do this for both the nostrils.
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    You can repeat this a few times through the day and night.

2. Use a nasal bulb syringe:

  • Your newborn is too small to be able to blow out the nose and as a result, a lot of mucous may be building up inside.
  • This can clog the already narrow nasal passage and make it more and more difficult for your little one to breathe.
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    Get a nasal bulb syringe and place it just inside your baby’s nostril. You have to be careful so that it does not poke your little one.
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    Press down on the bulb so that all the air gets out of the device, then wait for a second or two and then release your fingers. This will help to suck out the mucous. Repeat this a few times in the day.

3. Use a humidifier or vaporizer in the room:

baby blocked nose sleeping position
  • This can be of great use if the weather is too harsh and if there is a lot of dryness in the air.
  • A humidifier or cool mist vaporizer will add back moisture into the air, making it easier for your baby to breathe.
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    Refrain from adding any essential oils.

If you are uncertain whether or not this is caused by an illness or allergies, shouldn’t you consult with a pediatrician?

One of the golden rules of taking care of a newborn, infant or a very young baby is that, if you are even a little bit unsure about your baby’s health, you should first and foremost always consult with your baby’s paediatrician. This will ensure that you are giving your little one immediate care and are not delaying medical attention, which can often easily prevent the condition to escalate to any further health issue. Also, as a parent or as a caregiver if you are a little unsure about something or feel that your little one is not well, then it is always best to get them examined by the paediatrician rather than to wait and watch for more symptoms. 



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