Everything you need to know about a nebulizer and nebulizing your baby

nebulizer and what you need to know

Winter has arrived and so have all the nursery school germs, as you will know if you have small children. Runny noses, coughing and wheezing will be running rampant for the next few months. A tool that many mothers don’t know about and don’t use is a nebulizer. We guarantee that once you do, you will never look back and your nebulizer will become a must-have in your medicine box.

What is a nebulizer?

A nebulizer is a medical device that turns a liquid into a mist that one can inhale directly into the lungs. This enables you to get medicine right where you need it, without having to administer it systemically. So you can treat the problem without exposing baby’s body to unnecessary medication and side effects. It also works with immediate effect.

There are different types of nebulizers. The older generation nebulizers were big and heavy and needed to be plugged in. They also made an exceptionally loud noise, which scared small children so badly that many moms bought one and never used it.

However, technology has really evolved and there are fantastic options available. The BabyWombWorld Portable Nebulizer is a hand-held version that operates on batteries and makes almost no sound. It is small enough to slip into your nappy bag. Because it is silent you can even use it when baby is asleep.

ALSO READ: Help, my child is coughing! What can I do?

A word of precaution

Remember that there are different causes for coughing. Nebulizing will relieve the symptoms, but it won’t treat the cause of the problem. If your baby or child is sick, you should see a doctor first. Don’t use nebulizing medication that was prescribed for a previous infection and is still lying in the cupboard.  It may not be what your baby needs right now, and many delay a proper diagnosis and start of treatment. When you see the doctor, double-check that nebulizing can be used as part of the treatment plan.

READ THIS: What to do when your baby has a fever

What medication to use in your nebulizer

You can enquire at the pharmacy for a Saline solution, which will help to loosen phlegm and make it easier for baby to cough out. Saline will be what you use when you treat congestion and coughing at home. Try to purchase small, metered doses that you can use when needed, rather than a big 1-litre bottle. The latter should be thrown away after a certain period and you will end up wasting most of it.

Your doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator which is a medication that relaxes and opens tight, wheezing airways.

A homoeopath can also prescribe some medication that can be used for nebulizing.

Don’t use any other medication that was not prescribed by a healthcare provider, or that was prescribed for another family member.

Tips for nebulizing your baby

  • You should read the product’s instructions carefully to ensure that you are using it correctly. Especially follow the cleaning instructions. Failing to do so will lead to bacteria and fungus growing in your nebulizer, and you may actually end up causing an infection in baby.
  • Although babies obviously won’t understand this yet, try to get your little one to breathe in deeply through the mouth if you wish to treat a cough and wheeze, and through the nose, if you wish to treat sinus and congestion.
  • One typically needs to nebulize for 15-20 minutes. It may be difficult to get your little one to sit still and inhale for this long. Try reading a storybook or watching some videos on your phone or tablet.
  • You can use it when they are sleeping. However, breathing is more shallow then, so it would be better to use it when awake.

Christine Klynhans is a midwife and lactation consultant with a firm believe that gentle parenting can change the world. She has worked in midwifery since competing her B.Cur nursing degree in 2004, and has a special passion for education and for writing. She currently works in a well-baby clinic and give antenatal classes and breastfeeding support. She enjoys working with parents of babies and toddlers, aiming to help them find gentle solutions to their parenting problems and assisting them in incorporating healthy habits and natural health alternatives into their daily lives.

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