It's almost inevitable that your baby will catch a cold, complete with a blocked nose, at some point during the first year. Colds are not (generally) dangerous to babies, but nasal congestion can be a real challenge to deal with. Babies tend to try to breathe through their noses even when they are blocked up, and the result is discomfort and lots of waking up during the night. How do you get that nose cleared up as soon as possible?
1. Nasal decongestant spray!
Nasal sprays with a saline solution really do work wonders for blocked up little noses. Make sure you check that the spray you are getting is baby friendly, though many nasal sprays have things like vitamins and minerals added to them. Ask your pharmacist or pediatrician if you're not sure. Of course, receiving a squirt of liquid in your nose isn't necessarily pleasant. Tiny babies will cry, and bigger ones will struggle and try to take the bottle away (after they've learned what it's for). At that point, it's a two-person job; one can hold the baby down and the other can spray. This way, potential damage to the nose is avoided.
Having a sliced or cubed onion next to baby's sleeping place helps unblock the nose and help breathing. The smell may be unappealing to some, but this really works.
3. Bulb syringe
This handy tools sucks the mucus right out of that little nose. Of course, like the spray, it isn't exactly nice to be on the receiving end so expect crying and struggles.
4. Sleeping in an upright position
Apparently, being upright makes breathing easier. Why not pop your baby in a nice baby carrier, like a mei tai or Ergo, for his naps? You can go about your business, monitor your baby's breathing, and make him as comfy as can be all at the same time.
5. Breast milk
I'm not sure about the scientific basis for this, but it's worked for my babies. Breast milk is often promoted as a magical cure for different things, including conjunctivitis, as a disinfection for an umbilical cord stump, and... when I tried it as a way to free up a blocked nose, it seemed to work. If you are a nursing mother and don't have anything else at hand, you may like to try a little milk.