First Aid for Baby Choking on Mucus

An excess amount of mucus or phlegm in your baby's throat can lead to gagging, choking, and frequent swallowing. Your baby may experience it due to the common cold or flu. Whatever the case is, you need to take certain steps to deal with it. It is important to know what to do if your baby actually chokes due to excess mucus in the throat. 

First Aid for Baby Choking on Mucus

You should not wait for things to go bad if your baby is choking on mucus. If your baby has difficulties breathing or crying, here is what to do to help clear the airway:

  • Never try to remove the mucus from your baby's mouth with the help of your finger. You may end up pushing it farther into your baby's throat.
  • Ask someone to call 911 while you give first aid for choking.
  • Sit down and gently lay your baby stomach-down along your forearm. Use your hand to support your baby's neck and face. It is important to ensure that your baby's head is a bit lower than the rest of the body.
  • Now use the heel of your other hand to give a few back blows between your baby's shoulder blades. This should dislodge the mucus.
  • If the problem persists, turn your baby's face up and use your hand to support the head. Place a couple of your fingers between your baby's breastbone and push down about half an inch. Do this quickly for at least 5 times.
  • If the mucus is still there, you may want to repeat the same steps until your baby starts breathing normally.

While the first aid for baby choking on mucus helps make breathing easier, things are sometimes a bit serious than you might think. Call emergency service immediately if your baby becomes unconscious, is not breathing, or is unresponsive. You should lay your baby on a flat surface, such as the floor, a table, or the ground and start infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

  • Start with 30 chest compressions. Use a couple of your fingers only and push in the center of your baby's chest or below the nipple line. Push in about 4 cm.
  • Then, tilt your baby's head back and look for the mucus inside the mouth. Try to sweep it to the side if you can see it easily. Be very careful here.
  • Give a couple of rescue breaths. Lift your baby's chin up with head tilted back and cover his/her mouth and nose with your mouth. Give two puffs of air – do it gently with each breath taking about 1 second.
  • Do another 30 chest compressions and a couple of recue breathing if your baby has not started breathing yet.

How to Clear the Mucus in Your Baby's Throat

Baby choking on mucus is caused by too much mucus in the throat, here are a few guidelines for clearing mucus.

1. Avoid OTC Medications

You may feel tempted to give your child the same OTC medications you use to treat your allergies or flu, but be sure to resist the temptation because no OTC cough suppressant, antihistamine, decongestant, or expectorant is safe for children under 4 years of age. These products can actually make things worse.

2. Use Bulb Syringe with Saline

Baby saline drops and spray may help thin mucus, but you have to use them carefully.

  • Place your baby on his/her back and place the tip of the bottle just inside one of your baby's nostrils. Squeeze only one drop first and do the same on the other nostril as well.
  • After a few seconds, insert a rubber bulb syringe into your baby's nose – ensure the bulb is depressed already. Once in, release the bulb to suction out the nasal passages.

Be sure to talk to your doctor first if you do not know how the whole process works.

3. Increase Moisture in the Air

You can do it by putting a warm or cool mist humidifier in your room. You may want to go for warm mist if you notice your baby struggling with a dry, hacking cough. You can use cold mist if your baby has a wet cough with mucus. Simply keeping a pan full of boiling water in your baby's room may help add moisture to the air, which in turn will help clear the mucus and make breathing easier for your baby.

4. Make Use of Essential Oils

You can make use of essential oils to help thin mucus and improve breathing. Some good options include peppermint, eucalyptus, and spearmint oils.

You can simply place your selected essential oil into a humidifier or mix it in a pan full of boiling water. Your baby will inhale vapors of essential oil that will help improve breathing.

5. Other Options

It is important to keep your baby hydrated when he/she is having cough or lots of mucus. For this, you should continue giving your baby regular formula. Giving your baby breast milk is an even better idea.

Keep the head of your baby's crib elevated to make breathing easier. You can also place a pillow under your baby's mattress. Do not put anything directly under your baby's head.

When to See a Doctor

For baby choking on mucus, you can certainly take some steps but it is better to call a doctor in certain cases. For instance, you should consult your doctor when:

  • Your baby has a fever.
  • Your baby has decreased appetite.
  • Your baby has trouble drinking liquids.
  • Your baby has trouble keeping fluids down.

Be sure to call 911 or local emergency if your baby stops breathing or turns blue with choking.