Sneezing/blocked noses

Babies nearly always breathe through their noses. Young babies have small nose tubes that naturally contain more mucus. Babies often sneeze, just like adults do, which helps keep their nose clear. 

Your baby may sound sniffly, since their nose is small and can easily become blocked – especially when they’ve got a cold. However, not all sneezes or sniffles mean that your baby has a cold. 

Nosebleeds

Bleeding noses are common in kids, are usually mild, and can be managed at home. 

Causes 

There are many things that can cause children to get nosebleeds, including: 

  • falling on the face  
  • hitting their nose being hit 
  • picking their nose 
  • blowing too hard or sneezing 
  • cold and dry air  
  • an infection in the airway, including the lungs, throat and nose. 

How to stop a nose bleed 

It can be scary for a young child to have a nosebleed, so reassure them by speaking to them calmly, as you help stop  the bleeding.  

  • Ask your child to siup and lean forward to help the blood drain out the nose, instead of down the throat. 
  • Gently squeeze the soft part of your child’s nostrils (below the bony bridge) for at least 10 minutes or until blood flow has stopped. If your child is old enough, you can ask them to squeeze their nose. 
  • Place a cold cloth on the nose to stop the bleeding. 
  • Check if bleeding has stopped after 10 minutes – if bleeding continues after 20 minutes of pressure or if there is too much bleeding, seek medical help.
  • Tell your child to try not to sniff or blow their nose for at least 15 minutes. 

When to visit a doctor 

See medical help urgently if your child is: 

  • under three months old 
  • bleeding has not stopped after 20 minutes 
  • if their nose has started to bleed after a head injury. 

Eyes

Your baby’s eye colour may change gradually over the first few months after birth. Many babies have red or purple patches on their eyelids. These are called ‘stork bites’. If your baby gets hot they can look redder, then fade again  as your baby cools off. They are nothing at worry about and will fade over time.  

Sticky eye

Your baby's tear ducts can sometimes become blocked, and this is called sticky eye. Tear ducts are tubes that drain fluid from the inside corner of the eye into the back of the nose. Newborns' tear ducts are naturally tiny and can block easily. When this happens, the normal eye fluids can’t properly drain away and fluid collects, making the eyes look watery and sticky. One or both eyes can be affected.

Your baby will usually grow out of sticky eye around three four months when their tear ducts are bigger.

If you notice your baby eye looks watery or sticky you can carefully clean their eye and help the tear ducts to drain. Here are some tips to help clean your babies eyes:

  • wash and dry your hands carefully before touching your baby’s face 
  • use a separate cotton wool ball or tissue each time you wipe the eye, and use a separate one for each eye 
  • moisten the cotton wool or tissue with cool, boiled water 
  • gently wipe the eye from the inside corner to the outside, discard  the ball or tissue and repeat with a clean one if the eye still looks sticky 
  • use another clean cotton wool swab or tissue to gently pat the eye dry 
  • repeat regularly a couple of times a day if needed.

When to visit a doctor 

If the problem continues, or the white of the eye appears red, or the discharge is yellow or green, see a doctor. 

Nails

Babies' finger and toe nails grow rapidly and need cutting regularly, often once a week. Baby nails are quite small, so it's a good idea to get someone in your whānau to help cut your baby's nails. 

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