Okay new and soon to be parents, this post is written for you. As a mother of two, I know what it means to have a newborn in the house. And, I also know all concerns and questions that come with this new-for-you situation. Now, from what my area of expertise is, humidity and humidifiers, I can offer some solutions for you that are related to the " what does a humidifier do for babies " topic.
What to Expect with Newborns?
I remember when my first child (daughter) came to this world, I had no idea that she will still have some amniotic fluid inside her lungs when we came home from the hospital.
I didn’t know that she will get rid of it in her first week. And, I didn't know that this will be a sleep problem.
This means clogged little honker and waking up several times during the night.
Another problem I had no idea will arise was skin peeling.
In the first few weeks, your baby will shed the first protective layer of skin like a lizard.
That is completely normal and nothing to be alarmed about.
The new, fresh skin will be dry, and there are solutions for that don’t worry.
What about Infants?
Now, once you've passed the newborn stage, new issues will arise.
Babies are born with an inherited immune system. And, they yet have to form their own. So, the first year can be a bit complicated for your nerves.
Colds can be often, nose congestion, skin issues since babies have very sensitive skin.
And, you have to keep your sanity through all of these adaptations to the outside world.
Toddlers are little people and they are less sensitive than newborns and infants.
However, they are not as strong as adults. And, they still need a bit of special attention when it comes to keeping them healthy.
In my case, my second child (boy) had very sensitive skin.
During the winter, when the heating kicks in, both of my kids had dry skin problems, the younger one especially.
Their skin would become so dry that it started to crack and that would hurt them.
Also, during the night, their noses would dry so much that in the morning, they would have sore noses and throats.
So, What does a Humidifier do for Babies and Children in General?
A humidifier can do a lot for your baby!
The only issue is which type and model to choose. And, that is why I recommend my How to Pick What Kind Of Humidifier Is Best For Baby post.
Now, let's see what does a humidifier do for babies and what are the most important benefits you should know about.
Solves Dry Skin Issues
As I mentioned above, my kids had problems with dry skin.
This would become a serious problem during the winter.
My younger one developed eczema flare-ups and his diaper rashes became worse.
We all know how dry the air becomes during this season, and how it gets even worse inside the home, where the heating systems dry it even more.
Luckily, we bought a humidifier (read my first review of the MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier).
Originally, we bought it for my sinus issues but it also fully solved my kids' dry skin issues.
After the first night in a properly humidified room, the skin of my kids was notably in a better condition the next morning.
And, since then, their skin was soft and moisturized and they never had such problems during the winter.
This especially goes for those of you who live in areas where the climate conditions dry up the air throughout the entire year!
Eases Flu and Cold Symptoms
I know how heartbreaking it is to see your child suffering from cold or flu symptoms.
I know how frustrated I was every time my kids got down with the flu or they caught a cold.
Sore throats, stuffy noses, high fever, bad sleep and the agitation after a bad night, lack of appetite, dehydration...
And I especially remember the frustration of not being able to give them medication because they were too young!
But, this can all go much easier on your child if you have a humidifier.
The humid air that comes from a humidifier helps with clearing the nasal passages.
By default, when the baby congestion of the nose is the case, your child will recover faster and get rid of the virus filled snot.
Also, if your pediatrician allows, you can also add a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus, and improve the recovery time even more.
Furthermore, your kids will have a better appetite, and the humidity from the air will help them a little with the dehydration as well.
All of this leads to faster healing and a less painful downtime.
As I just talked about, when down with a cold or the flu, your kids will have problems with sleeping. A humidifier will help in such situations.
However, with newborns, stuffy nose in the first week or so is a normal occurrence because they are still cleaning from amniotic fluid.
It doesn't mean that they are sick. And, if the appetite is normal and they act normal, it is just the cleaning process.
However, don't expect the amniotic fluid to simply get out in form of water. On the contrary, it will look the same as infection caused snot, all sticky and dense.
For this reason, your baby might have problems with breathing normally, especially during the night.
Trust me, the first week with my first child was a horror because she kept waking up because she couldn't breathe properly.
But, with a humidifier in the room, the nasal passages will become wet and slippery, meaning that whatever is stuck in there, will come out much, much easier.
And, as soon as your child discovers that it can breathe normally, it will sleep much better (and so will you).
Baby Congestion Relief
Again, the winter time with small kids is far from being like in a magical fairytale...
As I said, in my case, winter means "Oh, no! Dry air again and there go the sinus flare-ups".
As for my kids, hot, dry air from the heating systems meant dry sinuses, dry noses, and a morning throat so dry that it burns when you wake up.
For other kids, dry winter air can also mean a quick sinus passage fill up, which results with a nose congestion, sore throat like with my kids, and virtually no sleep.
So, to keep the little honkers happy, I strongly recommend using a humidifier, especially during the winter months.
As I usually say, a happy nose, a happy child - A happy child, an extremely happy mom!
Adds More Comfort for the Babies
From the moment your baby arrives home, your life turns into a guessing game.
There's the golden 3-checks rule when it comes to baby's crying. You first need to check the diapers, then if your little angel is hungry, or if it simply needs you close.
If all the mentioned are covered, and your baby is still crying, the guessing game begins...
But, sometimes, for example, if it's too hot or too cold, your baby will cry since it doesn't know how to tell you.
Also, sometimes, again, during the winter, the dry air can make them uncomfortable, even though they are not cold.
The problem with dry air is that your body can't regulate the temperature through sweat.
In our case, when we start feeling nervous when the air is dry, we can turn on the humidifier and make the atmosphere much more comfortable.
The same goes for the babies.
But, babies don't even know why they are nervous. So, a nicely humidified atmosphere will make them less agitated and more playful.
Recreates the Womb Feeling
Believe it or not, the light, humming noise that humidifiers produce is similar to what the babies hear while they are in the womb.
So, when you turn on the humidifier, the baby feels like it's in the womb again and it calms down and falls asleep sooner.
I remember how both of my kids immediately calmed down when I turned on the humidifier and how soon afterward they were sound asleep.
Also, that humming noise will also allow you NOT to move around the house like a ghost so that you don't wake the baby up.
I could comfortably get all the work around the home done without waking up the baby, everytime the humidifier was on in the nursery room.
I mean, you don't even have to turn it up on full mist volume. If there's no need for a serious humidification, running the humidifier on minimum mist settings will work great as well.
It is the humming sound that is important and makes them calm.
No, this doesn't imply your husband's nighttime concertos, even though a humidifier helps in these cases as well.
Babies also snore. Especially in the beginning, when they are still cleaning from amniotic fluid.
Even though snoring means nothing serious and is completely harmful to them, it can wake them up.
I remember my boy waking up several times a night just because of his own snoring sound.
Snoring with babies is connected to dried up breathing passageways and when the humidifier introduces moisture, the problem will be gone.
Your child will breathe better and easier. And, it won't wake up because it got scared of its own snoring anymore.
Lower Dust Levels in Your Home and Less of a Chance for Asthma Development
I am pretty sure you already know how dangerous dust particles are when flying freely through the air your children breathe in.
It can cause sinus infections, which can lead to bronchitis, then to chronical bronchitis, which leads to pneumonia and asthma.
Not to mention that most people are allergic to dust and that can also cause asthma attacks.
Dust can usually be found in areas where the air is dry.
But, when you turn on a humidifier, the moisture from the air gets soaked up by dust particles.
This means that dust becomes heavier and simply falls down on the floor instead of flying around the house.
And, you have to agree that mopping up the floors is much easier and less painful than treating your child for bronchitis or asthma.
Less Static Electricity Discharge Situations
You will definitely agree with me that static electricity discharges are not pleasant.
Grownups don't like them, cats hate them, and kids get really scared by them.
But, how do static discharges generate in the first place?
Don't know if you noticed, they are more often during the winter.
And, yes, you've guessed it right, dry air is to blame.
Therefore, the solution is simple, humidifier releases humidity in the air, and the static electricity discharges are less to happen.
I know your cat will be happy, but what is more important, your kids will less likely experience this harmful but painful occurrence.
All Year Round Benefits
Okay, it pretty much goes without saying that benefits of having a humidifier when you have small kids or babies expand throughout the entire year.
For example, we already talked about the benefits during the winter when the air is dry.
But, as soon as the winter ends and the heating season is also over, the pollen allergies season kicks in.
It pretty much starts in February and lasts till the beginning of September.
And, during that time, pollen flies freely through the air and gets in your lungs, which can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
However, like with dust, when soaked up with moisture, the pollen becomes heavier and falls down to the ground.
Also, having a humidifier in the house means that anytime your kids catch a cold, you will make it much easier for them, regardless of the season.
Using a humidifier throughout the entire year is great for your baby's health, and it also brings more home-related benefits, about which you can read in my When to use a humidifier post.
There you have it, parents and future parents. The actual benefits and explanations of what does a humidifier do for a baby and kids in general.
Your kids will feel much better when they are down with flu or with a cold, no matter the season.
Furthermore, when it comes to dry skin problems caused by heating systems during the winter, a humidifier will drastically improve the hydration of their skin.
As for newborn babies, they are the ones that will benefit the most from a humidifier in the room.
I talked about how newborns have a period when their noses are all clogged up due to amniotic fluid cleaning. And, how their protective layer of skin sheds after birth.
And, this can get painful if the air is dry.
But, the use of a humidifier will help your baby get through these periods much easier. And, it will be more playful and sleep better.
Now, depending on the seriousness of the symptoms or the stages your baby goes through in the first few weeks, you might also talk with your pediatrician. See if you can add some essential oils or baby medication to make your baby even more comfortable.