Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tips for Using a Nebulizer with Young Children

This week, my little one unfortunately got sick. Conveniently, her sickness arrived just a few hours after I wrapped up the 12 hour flu bug. No bueno!

I ended up taking her into the doctor's office because she sounded so congested, was coughing, and was wheezing as she would breathe. After struggling to watch my daughter be poked and prodded with every test ran imaginable, we learned she just had a viral infection. The doctor recommended we continue what we've been doing (lots of rest, plenty of fluids, ibuprofen as needed, humidifier, mattress slightly propped where her head lays in bed) and provide nebulizer treatments three times a day for a week. No problem.

Wait, what?!?! I had never used a nebulizer and had no clue what I was doing! After a brief talk from the nurse on how to provide a treatment, I began preparing my first treatment. At home. All alone.

Don't worry, we survived!

Flash forward to today and I have quite the hang of distributing nebulizer breathing treatments to my 10 month old. Little ones have a hard time sitting still, even for a 5 minute treatment. Here are some tricks I learned:

1. Stay Calm

Little ones feed off of their parent's feelings. Take a deep breathe, you will get through this! The calmer you stay, the calmer your child will be.

2. Pre-plan with Your Child

As you start to think about getting the breathing treatment ready, share with your child what is coming next for them. We all have somewhat of a fear for the unknown. Take that fear away by telling your child that it is time to do their breathing treatment. Even with a young child (like my 10 month old), talking calmly about what is to come can help them to better deal with the process!

3. Create a Routine

Since this treatment is very important for your child's health, create a routine that works for your little one. For us, that meant allowing some tv time (generally our tv stays turned off during the days). 

I had to switch it up frequently though. Sometimes, the tv wasn't enough. We also used books, singing, dancing... You get the idea!

4. Make it Enjoyable

Although you are using the machine for a more serious purpose, kids live for fun! Try to find a way to make this experience enjoyable for all! Our little one enjoyed watching the steam come out and we were able to point out how fun that was! 

5. Reward Good Behavior

Each and every time your child completes their breathing treatment, give a genuine thank-you. Let them know they completed an activity that is very important. We also gave hugs and kisses! Rewarding behavior increases the chances that the good behavior will repeat the next time you complete a breathing treatment.

Having a little one sick has been no fun! On the plus side, the extra cuddles have been amazing for this momma!

What tips do you have?


  1. i'm so glad i came across your blog as i'm a new mom and always looking for advice or seeing how others are doing :) cant wait to read more!

  2. Thanks for stopping by! Welcome to motherhood! I hope you are enjoying the experience as much as I have!

  3. oh no I'm so sorry to hear she was sick but loved reading the tips about the machine! Always difficult first time round! Hope everyone makes a full recovery!

    1. Thank you! She is actually much better now (knock on wood)! Yes, it was quite trying in the beginning. Once we got the hang of a nebulizer routine, it got much easier!


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