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newborns

newborn sneezing

4 minutes

17/12/2021

From tiny yawns to gentle snores, newborn babies do the cutest things, but top of the list has to be sneezing. The way their tiny faces scrunch up in concentration before letting out a little ‘achoo!’ is just adorable.

Babies can seem to sneeze an awful lot, though, and over time new parents might find themselves wondering if this is normal. Here, we reveal everything you need to know about newborn sneezing, including why it happens, and why it’s rarely anything to worry about.

  1. Newborn sneezing: why does my newborn baby sneeze so much?

  2. Is it normal for my newborn baby to keep sneezing?

  3. When should I see a doctor about newborn sneezing?

  4. How do I clear my newborn baby’s stuffy nose?

Newborn sneezing: why does my newborn baby sneeze so much?

It’s not your imagination, your newborn baby does sneeze a lot – but there’s a very good reason for it (well, a few actually). Like adults, newborn babies use sneezing as a mechanism to clear their noses. But because newborn nasal passages are a lot smaller than those of grown-ups, they get clogged more easily, causing baby to sneeze more.

Unlike adults, newborn babies also don’t know how to snort or sniff yet, leaving sneezing – which is beyond their control – as their only option to clear their noses.

Another factor is that newborn babies are nose breathers, which means they have a lot more air (and everything it brings with it) moving through their nasal passages than older children or adults do. They’re also learning to breathe air full stop, after not breathing at all in the womb.

Add all of this together and you can see why those tiny ‘achoos!’ keep coming.

Is it normal for my newborn baby to keep sneezing?

It’s as common for newborn babies to sneeze as it is for them to burp, yawn or hiccup. It’s their way of keeping their nasal passages free of everything from stray breastmilk through to pollen, dust, bacteria and bugs, and is a sign their little body is working as it should be.

As your baby gets bigger and begins to breathe through their mouth as well, their sneezing should become less frequent.

When should I see a doctor about newborn sneezing?

Occasionally, as with adults, sneezing can be a sign that your baby is unwell. If your newborn baby is sneezing frequently and has any of these additional symptoms, pay your doctor a visit right away as they may have a cold or other infection.

  • cough

  • lack of appetite

  • trouble breathing

  • fever

  • excessive tiredness

Frequent sneezing combined with watery eyes and an itchy or runny nose can also be a sign of allergies or hay fever. If you think your baby might be suffering from either of these conditions, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. It’s always worth getting these things checked out.

How do I clear my newborn baby’s stuffy nose?

Try as you might to keep them out of harm’s way, your newborn baby will more likely than not catch a few mild colds within the first few months of their life, leading to an increase in sneezing as their nose blocks up and their little body works harder to clear it.

While doctors generally advise that you don’t interfere too much with your baby’s nasal passages during this time, if your little one is having trouble feeding or is clearly uncomfortable, then there are a few things you can try to help clear your newborn’s stuffy nose.

Invest in a humidifier

Place a humidifier in baby’s room while they’re sleeping. This will moisten the air and help ease your little one’s congestion.

Cleaning gently with WaterWipes

Made from 99.9 per cent purified water, WaterWipes are a great way of safely cleaning around (and just inside) your baby’s nose. Wipe gently to remove any built-up mucus, making sure to wash your hands thoroughly first. This will help clear baby’s nostrils, allowing them to breathe more easily.

Try saline drops

Saline is a completely safe mixture of salt and water known for helping clear sinuses. To use, hold your baby in a slightly reclined position on your lap. Put three drops of saline into one of their nostrils. Wait a few seconds then suction out the loosened mucus with a bulb syringe. Repeat on the other side.

Massaging their nose

Gently massaging up and down the sides of your baby’s nose with your thumb and index finger can help loosen any mucus clogging up their nasal passages.

If you found this guide helpful, you might like to read some of the other features on our Parenting Hub? For example…

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