During the first two years, most babies get about ten colds or so. This often leads to blocked noses, and that's when you can give steam to your infants to help clear blockage. It will help loosen the mucus, which will open blocked airways and make breathing easier. This is also a good way of dealing with chest congestion and sinusitis. Your baby will sleep better, which in turn will speed up recovery. The problem is that it is easy for an adult to inhale steam, but you may have to try different ways like a steam inhaler for babiesor even a steam machine for baby. Keep reading to learn how to give steam to infantswhen they don't like it much.
How to Give Steam to Infants
It is worth mentioning that some mums may use a bowl of hot water to give steam to infants, but that's not safe and you may get her burnt. It is better to use a nasal decongestant to suck out the mucus, and then do the following.
1. Install a Humidifier in Your Baby's Room
The simplest way is to install a mist vaporizer or a humidifier in your baby's room. This will help a lot in preventing your baby's nose from drying out – this will prevent stuffy nose and keep breathing easy. Make sure your baby isn't too close to the equipment.
2. Create a Steam Room at Home
It doesn't have to be that difficult. You just need to block any gap that may be there in your bathroom and then turn on hot water. Get a towel and wrap it around your head. Let your baby sit in your lap and spend 15 minutes in the bathroom inhaling the steam. You may consider giving a gentle massage to soothe your baby.
3. Use a Vaporizer
If you want to know how to give steam to infants,consider using a vaporizer, which is another simple way to clear up any chest and nose congestion. Simply put your baby on a blanket spread on the floor when he/she is asleep. Now, place the vaporizer about a foot away and lie beside your baby to keep him/her safe all the time. Cover yourself and your baby with a blanket to ensure the vapors stay inside. Stay in this position for about 45 minutes for better effects.
Other Ways to Deal With Infant Colds
If you find it difficult to learn how to give steam to infants, you can always try some other ways to deal with infant colds.
1. Use Saline Drops
Using saline water is an effective way to deal with a stuffy nose. It is easy to prepare saline drops at home or you can consider buying read-made saline water kits online. A half teaspoon added to a cup of warm water will do the trick. Simply use a dropper to put a few drops of this saline solution in your baby's nostrils and massage his/her nose gently. Be sure to sterilize the dropper before you use it again.
2. Suction Devices
You can also use suction devices to get rid of the mucus that's causing nasal congestion. You can use a rubber bulb syringe, which is a one-piece bulb type device. You have to squeeze the rubber bulb to create a vacuum by pushing air out. Insert it into your baby's nose, release pressure on the bulb, which will create air pressure and help pull mucus out. Use it twice only because overuse may cause inflammation.
You can also use nasal aspirators to pull mucus out of your baby's nose. It will have a nasal syringe as well as a bulb, but it will also have a pipe attached directly to the bulb. You need to pull on the pipe after placing the syringe into your baby's nostril to pull mucus out of his/her nose.
3. Keep Them Hydrated
It is important to keep toddlers hydrated whether or not you know how to give steam to infants. If your baby is fighting with a cold, he/she will dehydrate quickly and many require a bottle more frequently. You should, however, stick to breast milk only if your baby is less than 4 months old. If your baby is older, you can also give him/her some water, and juices in case he/she is 6 months or older.
4. Avoid OTC Treatments
You can use ibuprofen and acetaminophen to treat common cold, but it is better to avoid any OTC cold medicines if your baby is less than 6 years of age. You may need antibiotics only when an ear infection has developed. You may need to see your pediatrician in case your baby has fever for the last three days and isn't getting any better.
5. Elevate the Head
It is important to keep your baby's head slightly elevated to prevent postnasal drop. You can also use a couple of towels for this purpose. It is advisable not to use pillows for elevation and never try to prop up the whole bassinet or crib to avoid accidents.
6. Wash Your Hands Often
You need to keep in mind that you won't have to learn how to give steam to infantsif you keep your hands clean and don't transmit any germs to your baby. You should also use baby wipes to clean your baby's hands, especially if you cannot make them keep their hands out of their mouths.
When to See a Doctor
You need to keep in mind that your baby's immune system is not strong enough to deal with a common cold quickly, but the symptoms should clear in 10-14 days. If that's not the case and your baby is younger than 3 months, it is important to call your doctor. It is equally important for newborns because a common cold can easily turn into pneumonia, croup, or another serious illness.
If your baby is older than 3 months, you may still want to call your doctor if he/she has high fever (over 38°C), is dehydrated, has ear pain, has red eyes, has persistent cough with troubled breathing, and has green nasal discharge. You should seek immediate medical attention if your baby is refusing to nurse and you notice a change in skin color or find blood-tinged sputum.