Q&A: congestion in teeny kids

Thanks for the suggestions yesterday. I've been thinking about it a ton, and realized that the guilt I'm feeling is not about being a working mom (I love working, and am so much better at that than I was at staying home, although I certainly don't regret my time at home), but about the logistics of my current situation (teeny apartment that's difficult to haul supplies into, a custody/time-management situation that I don't think really works well for any of us but that we can't figure out how to change easily, the commute that defeats me every day, having my kids in two households, etc.) and about somehow raising kids who won't eat pasta or grilled cheese.

Anyway, thank you. I'm going to play around with the moving parts, and I'll report back in in a few weeks.

Now on to Amy, who has a 9-month-old with a really stuffy nose that's not letting him sleep. She wonders what she can do about it.

The bad news: There's no magic bullet for relief. And baby/toddler congestion is really hideous. It's gross and snotty, and your baby can't sleep and gets super-cranky, and it can drag on for weeks.

There are some things you can do about it, though, so you might as well try what you can.

The standard treatment (and what my friend the ER doctor told me to do about my own congestion) is to steam it out. Sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running so the steam gets unavoidable and then just suffer through it for 15-20 minutes. The steam should help open things up.

Another treatment is to put sterile saline drops in each nostril, wait a few seconds, and then suck them out with the bulb syringe.

If your child is a little older and you're OK with giving a little medication that doesn't go through their entire system, just in the nose, Little Noses brand makes a decongestant that's basically baby Afrin--you put a drop in each nostril and it helps clear things up. This isn't something that will be in their entire system, but it *is* medication, so use your own judgment.

Another treatment is to rub Vicks Vap-o-rub on the child's chest or the soles of the feet. Again, it's not like giving oral meds, but anything you put on the skin (especially the feet) is going to absorb into your kid's system--the skin is the biggest organ in the body. (OTOH, unless you go super-crazy with it, Vicks is unlikely to do much to you--my mom remembers her mother making her swallow a lump of it to help her congestion, and she's still alive, so...)

Anyone have anything else? Or just tales of snot?