Originally published on 6th September 2013. Last updated 1st May 2015.
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In the same way a steamy atmosphere is a god-send for us grown-ups when we're all choked up, it works just as well for wee ones. When the boys were smaller, I'd take them into the bathroom to breastfeed. The steam in the air made feeding a lot more comfortable for them & prevented the pulling away, gasping-for-air scenario. Now though, I'll pop the shower on for 10 minutes before I run their bath to get things real steamy.
Top tip: Just be sure to change your wee ones clothes after sitting in steam: leaving them in damp clothes won't be comfortable, nor help with the getting-better process.Wipe their nose & apply a barrier cream.
Yes, it'll feel like you're wiping up snot every 10 minutes, but it really does pay to keep your wee ones nose clean. The brief mump & moan as you mop up the offending snot from a runny nose is much easier to deal with than the dried up snot that takes a good wrestle to remove. Also, to make them more comfortable & ease the nose cleaning process, apply of barrier cream across your child's top lip.
Top tip: Vaseline is good but I find Lansinoh is unbeatable in healing sore skin & removing redness.Clear their nose.
Can you imagine being filled with snot and not being able to physically blow your nose? Me neither but it is the uncomfortable reality for wee ones. So if they'll let you, try and help your child in clearing their nose for them. My best tried & tested method was using a nasal aspirator! I'm the first to admit that its not the nicest of things & always ended in a vocal protest from the boys but the difference in them following a shot of the 'snot sucker' was obvious. Now they can run away, we're unable to use this method but if I can still get some saline nasal drops to help soften the offending nostril-blockers, it'll help them breathe a little easier.
Vapour rub them up.
Unfortunately, due to recent changes in the law, there isn't a great range of cold & flu medicines for children on the market. One safe product though is vapour rubs (from 3 months old). Smothered over the chest & back, with loose pyjamas on, it's a full-proof way to help your little ones breathe a little easier. Another top tip for helping a troublesome cough is to apply some vapour rub to your child's feet and pop a pair of socks on - don't ask me how it works, all I know is that it does!
Top tip: I like the Snufflebabe range as it's gentler than the adult-aimed vapour rubs.Prop up their mattress.
Roll up a blanket or a towel and slip under it under your little ones mattress. Similar to how you'd sleep with an extra pillow to help ease congestion and coughing, it'll make your child a lot more comfortable and help assist in sleeping longer stretches through the night.
Lots & lots of cuddles.
Your wee one is bound to be a bit clingier than usual. Instead of complaining that the housework has to be put on hold, enjoy it! As they grow, they'll become more & more independent, making these cuddly moments less frequent, so enjoy it while you can. Plus they're less likely to try & run away from you! Win-win!
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What are your top tips for helping a little one who's all choked up?