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How to Get Mucus Out of Baby Chest: A Quick Guide

How to Get Mucus Out of Baby Chest A Quick Guide

A baby can actually clear their chest on their own. Despite that, it always hurts when you see that your baby can’t seem to shake the mucus from their airways. 

On top of that, it might take them a few weeks to clear their chest.

Fortunately, you can help them get it out of their system easier and faster.

You can do this by patting their chest or back. Humidifiers are also good for babies since it helps loosen their congestion.

In today’s article, I’ll present a step-by-step guide and tips on how you can get mucus out of your baby’s chest to promote easier breathing.

Why Does Your Baby’s Chest Make Noises?

There are a few reasons why a baby’s chest might make noises. However, the presence of mucus or phlegm in their airways is a common cause of those noises. 

This is marked by rattling, gurgling, or wheezing sounds as they breathe. This can occur when babies have colds, respiratory infections, or congestion. 

How to Remove Mucus From Your Baby’s Chest: A Step-by-Step Process 

How to Remove Mucus From Your Baby's Chest: A Step-by-Step Process 

To help your baby with a stuffy chest, you can follow the steps below:

1. Prepare the Essential Items

Create a cozy and supportive environment by arranging pillows and towels for you and your child.

You’ll need tissues, a thin cloth, or towels within reach during the procedure. If you know how to use a nasal aspirator, then you can also keep that close by.

You can also keep a humidifier at the right distance from your baby. 

Before using any items, ensure they are clean and sanitized. Wash your hands thoroughly to maintain proper hygiene.

2. Position Your Child Properly

You can use a postural drainage technique. This involves positioning your child differently to help gravity drain the mucus to the front of the chest, where it can be coughed up.

There are different positions for this:

  • Right side lying
  • Left side lying
  • Prone position
  • Upright position

You can do postural drainage for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, 2 to 3 times daily.

IMPORTANT: Follow your child’s doctor or therapist’s recommendations. They will suggest specific positions to target different areas of the lungs.

3. Clap on Your Child’s Chest or Back

Position your child comfortably sitting upright on your lap or lying down with their chest exposed. Cup your hand by curving your fingers and keeping your palm flat. 

Gently clap your cupped hand onto their chest or back, starting from the lower area and working your way up. Be firm but gentle, avoiding excessive force.

Vary the rhythm of your claps, alternating between faster and slower motions

Pay attention to your child’s response, such as coughing or spitting up mucus. This indicates the technique is helping to remove the mucus. 

4. Apply Vibrations

Cover the area you will be vibrating with a thin cloth or shirt to protect their skin. 

Gently place your hands flat on their chest or back and make small, rhythmic movements like patting

Continue vibrating for 2 to 3 minutes, and encourage your child to cough to help loosen the mucus. 

Repeat the process until the mucus is effectively cleared.  

5. Wait for Your Child to Start Coughing

Coughing is the body’s natural way to clear congested mucus from the airways. It helps to loosen the throat, where it can be swallowed or spit out. 

If you try to remove the mucus before your child coughs it up, you could push it further into their lungs instead. 

However, you can use a nasal aspirator or suction bulb if your child still has trouble coughing up the mucus. You can purchase these at Lazada stores. 

Rest assured that nasal aspirators are safe — as long as you use them correctly.

Additional Tips to Remove Mucus From Your Baby’s Chest

Additional Tips to Remove Mucus From Your Baby’s Chest

In addition to the right postural drainage technique, here are some more tips for removing mucus from your baby’s chest:

1. Increase the Humidity

Increasing the humidity through a humidifier or running a hot shower can create a more favorable atmosphere. This aids in mucus clearance and relieves your baby’s congestion. 

A humidifier adds moisture to the air. You can purchase one at most drugstores or online stores. 

If your baby is old enough, you can put Vicks in the humidifier to further help in congestion. But this is also assuming you have the right humidifier and Vicks product.

If you don’t have a humidifier, you can actually use a diffuser in its place. However, it won’t create as much humidity as a humidifier.

You can also use essential oils for baby congestion, as long as you use them properly. On top of that, they shouldn’t be used on babies younger than 3 months old.

2. Keep Them Hydrated

Keeping babies hydrated is especially important if they have congested chests. Congestion in babies can hinder breathing and swallowing, potentially causing dehydration.

To keep your congested baby hydrated, do these:

  • Offer fluids like breast milk, formula, water, or juice.
  • Encourage slow drinking to prevent an upset stomach.
  • Consider oral rehydration therapy (ORT) if fluid intake is insufficient. ORT provides water, sugar, and electrolytes and can be given by bottle or spoon.

Note that dehydration is one reason that can make mucus thicker and more difficult to cough up. 

3. Let Them Crawl Around

Movement and physical activity can help remove mucus from their chests. 

Crawling is the easiest and most natural physical activity for babies. It involves various body movements that promote respiratory clearance. 

It helps to mobilize and loosen mucus, facilitating its natural drainage from the airways. This makes it easier for babies to breathe and alleviate congestion.

Provide a safe and supervised environment while your baby crawls to prevent accidents.

4. Pat Their Backs

Patting a baby’s back helps to loosen and dislodge the mucus. This makes it easier for the baby to cough.

A gentle patting on the back creates vibrations that can help break up the mucus and promote movement within the airways. 

You can do it by placing your hands stacked on your baby’s back and gently patting each other.

5. Rest Is Key

Rest is important to recover from any health problem — including congestion.

Here are some of the reasons why it is important for babies to take rest to remove mucus from their chests:

  • Rest facilitates healing and mucus clearance.
  • Rest reduces stress and strengthens the body’s infection-fighting abilities.
  • Rest improves circulation, supporting tissue repair and recovery.

Rest also promotes a calmer state, which can aid in soothing your baby and reducing discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before I leave with my parting words, here are some questions I found really interesting and helpful. Hopefully you’ll learn a few things too.

What Causes Excess Mucus?

Babies are prone to colds and congestion due to their small size, narrow nasal passages, and developing immune systems. 

When irritants enter their airways, their bodies produce extra mucus to trap and protect against the irritation. Common triggers include cigarette smoke, dust, pollutants, viruses, and chemicals. 

Mucus is a natural body fluid that protects the airways and lungs from infection and irritation. 

However, excessive mucus can indicate several health conditions. These include viral infections, allergies, asthma, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis.

Furthermore, mucus congestion can be attributed to more serious conditions like cystic fibrosis.

When Should You See a Doctor for Mucus Removal? 

Seek your pedia once the congestion worsens and persists for over 3 or 4 days.

You should also see the doctor if the mucus transitions from a runny consistency to a thicker texture. Or, if the mucus becomes green or yellow.

Aside from those, also check these:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • A persistent cough that does not improve with home remedies.
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing in a child.
  • Rapid breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Trouble feeding
  • Lethargy

What Are the Different Mucus Colors You Should Be Aware Of? 

The type and color of mucus your baby has can indicate their health. Clear and normal-looking mucus generally suggests your baby is healthy. 

However, changes in color or consistency may indicate that your little one is unwell. Here are the different mucus colors you should be aware of:

  • Clear mucus — usually a normal color and may be due to allergies, colds, or other respiratory infections.
  • Thicker white or gray mucus — this color may indicate a more serious infection, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
  • Yellow mucus — this is often a sign of a bacterial infection, probably strep throat or pneumonia.
  • Green to brown mucus — green to brown mucus is often a sign of a more serious infection, such as a lung abscess or tuberculosis.
  • Red or brown mucus — this may be a sign of blood in the mucus caused by various conditions. It’s probably caused by colds, allergies, or a more serious condition, such as a lung infection or cancer.


Mucus is a natural body fluid that can help protect your baby from infection. However, too much of it can congest your child’s airways. This can cause problems like difficulty breathing.

A baby can clear their chest on their own, but you can help make the process easier and faster. 

On top of that, humidifiers offer advantages too. These include germ-free vapor that will help loosen the congestion in your baby’s airways.

If your baby is really having a hard time getting the mucus out, using a nasal aspirator can help you clear it for them.

Josie Mariano
Josie Mariano

Hello, my name is Josie Mariano, and I’m proud to say I’m a soon-to-be mom.
Although my partner and I are still waiting for our firstborn to arrive, we’re already doing whatever it takes to prepare for our baby’s needs.
I’ve been joining a lot of parenting forums and asking my doctors for advice on how to prepare for my baby. They’ve all been very informative and I was able to spot the areas I still need to work on.
At the same time, I also rely on my mom for tips on what to do during my pregnancy journey.
With everything that I’ve learned so far, I’d like to share these experiences to fellow parents and soon-to-be parents!