Mucus in infants can be a symptom of a very serious problem because infants have to breathe through their noses. Find out why babies born by C-section are susceptible to mucus with help from a pediatrician in this free video on babies and health care.
I'm Dr. David Hill and today, we're going to be talking about baby mucus and breathing. Now, I don't often get to bring up the topic of mucus in, in social situations; but, it's fun to talk about here because it is something we deal with an awful lot. And, when we think about mucus in infants, we can really be talking about a very serious problem. Why is that? Well, newborns have to breath through their noses. They don't breath particularly well through their mouth; they can get a little gas, but they can't really rely on that. Even more so when they're feeding. We call them obligant nose breathers. So, if something stuffs up a newborn's nose, that can actually be a life threatening condition. Now, that could be swelling, it could be mucus. When babies are first born especially babies who are born by cesarean delivery, we'll often see they've got some mucus. The nurses will use little suction bulb and sometimes even a hospital suction, like a suction cannister to get that mucus out and clear that baby's airway. From that point on, they make it a little stuffier, congested for another day or two, but then they should clear up. Some babies however seem to keep some nasal congestion. What could be going on? Well, there are a few things. First of all, they may actually have an anatomical blockage of the airway. That will take a doctor to examine and potentially fix; if both sides of the nose are completely bocked off, that can be a, a very dangerous and life threatening condition. Much more common, they get a little bit of congestion. Why is that? Well, obviously, colds occur. A child can get a cold even shortly after birth. Although for a little while they tend to be protected by a mother's antibodies. However, if your infant is getting cold, you're going to want to try and keep that mucus out of the nose. What can you do? You can make some saline nose drops. You can buy those at the store, but, you can also make them at home. Using one teaspoon of salt and two cups of water; a half teaspoon of salt and one cup of water; a quarter teaspoon of salt and half cup of water or you can do the Math there. You want to boil that so that it dissolves nicely and then, let it cool back down to room temperature. Dribble a couple of drops in each side of the nose and then get that little blue or red suction bulb that you probably got at the hospital. Just put it right at the tip of the nostrils; you don't have to jam its way in there and pull that stuff out after a minute or two after its had its chance to loosen the mucus. That should help your baby breath at least enough to be able to sleep or eat. Now, there are some nose drops that the doctor could choose to use for a couple of days; but, those nose drops are really quite dangerous for infants if they're used over a prolonged period of time. The reason is that when you stop using decongestant nose drops, the nose tends to become congested again and of course, that's just as dangerous as the first time around. Now, the other funny thing people ask me about a lot is mucus colors. "Is it okay if it's green; is it okay if it's yellow; does that mean they need antibiotics?" No. It doesn't. It's fine for the mucus to be green or yellow; that's a normal part of a cold, often occurring about the fourth or fifth day. So, the color doesn't bother me. But, if your newborn baby is having a tough time breathing, you should probably take him or her to a medical professional and have it looked at. Talking about baby mucus and breathing, I'm Dr. David Hill.