It happened when my baby was still very young. He would cry every now and then, and I would check whether he was dry, comfy and well-fed. His crying was normal for other babies his age. My bub was quite healthy.
And then one fine day, he started crying non-stop. Nothing soothed him. What was worse, he refused to feed. I could sense that he was hungry but he simply refused to accept feeding!
What are you supposed to do when you see your baby crying but still refusing feed? There can be nothing more depressing than the fact that your baby is hungry but you cannot do anything to soothe him! My whole world turned upside down.
Advice started pouring in.
“It’s normal, he might just be full. If he is hungry he will feed no matter what."
“He might be colicky."
"Try some remedies to release gas.”
And this from my sister.
“Try saline drops. He might have a blocked nose - it's common in babies.”
Wait, what? Saline drops? My baby didn't have a cold. How could his nose be blocked? And how was this connected to the fact that he was not feeding?
My sister had been my guide throughout. Her advice opened a new search for me, a possible cause I had never considered. But after thorough examination with a torch, there was no doubt about it. That very cute pink nose was the villain the source of my baby's discomfort. And the reason of my misery? Accumulation of snot, or a problem called snuffle.
The problem of snuffle - and what to do about it
Snuffle is nothing but mucus collection in the baby’s nostrils. It happens when your baby gets exposed to pollutants or irritants (in my case, the terrible Delhi pollution) and also happens in the winter when the moisture in the atmosphere is low. While mucus is naturally protective for the nose, excessive accumulation can lead to a blockage.
Newborn babies don’t know how to snort or sniff and hence cannot clear the nose on their own. Babies don’t know how to breathe through the mouth either and they breathe and feed at the same time. This is what makes it very uncomfortable to feed when their nose is blocked. Many babies simple refuse to feed at this time, and that’s the most frustrating part of this problem.
Here are a few remedies I have successfully tried for my baby and would like to share with you:
1. Keep saline nasal drops handy
This will save you in time when your baby is refusing to feed and has a blocked nose. Saline drops can be used multiple times in a day if required. The best way to administer them is to make the baby lie on the bed facing upwards. Put one drop each in both the nostrils. Let it be for few seconds and then lift the baby up. Keep his head on your shoulders and pat him - the snot will come out. Remove it with a wipe or wash cloth. Yes, your baby will cry and resist but he will be relieved the moment the snot comes out. So, all for a good cause, right?
Also remember to keep the wipes handy - you don't want your baby to breathe it in again! Plus, finding a wipe or wash cloth at the exact moment is next to impossible; they have a funny habit of disappearing just when you need them and reappearing the moment you have touched the slimy thing in your fingers!
2. Keep a bowl of warm water in the room
This will ensure that the room has enough humidity. This is a particularly important in the winter months when the moisture levels in the air are low. Breathing problems are common at this time. You can also consider getting a humidifier to keep your baby comfortable.
3. While bathing the baby keep a hot water tap running
This will make sure that steam is generated and mucus can come out of its own from baby's nose. Needless to say, keep a safe distance between the hot water tap and your baby.
4. Try using nasal aspirator
These are excellent especially if it is a regular problem with your baby and he is unable to feed. Also, if the baby catches a cold, a nasal aspirator is of great help in clearing the nose. There is no bigger relief than the baby sneezing the snot out by himself, particularly if this happens before bed time.
5. Never try to poke your finger into the baby’s nose as this will do more damage than it will bring relief.
6. Feed as frequently as possible, at regular and small intervals
When my baby suffered this problem, I would feed him standing up and keeping him in my arms. This keeps him upright and keeps his
nose passage open so he can breathe while feeding.
I must admit one thing: my life became easier after knowing about snuffle. I didn't know about the problem before it happened to us and spent many days in anxiety and fear. After I got to know the reason why my baby was refusing to feed, I could help bring him comfort. This stopped the common problem from becoming a nightmare for my husband and me and also a source of great discomfort for our baby.
I hope my tips will help you if you are facing the same issue with your baby. Understanding what causes snuffle and how you can cure it will help you keeo your little darling happy and comfortable.
Picture Via Shutterstock