Skip to main content

How to choose the right baby humidifier

As a new parent, you are going to buy or get lots of gear. One often-overlooked item that you will definitely want to get before Baby’s big debut is a humidifier. This moisture-making piece of equipment offers numerous benefits when placed in your newbie’s nursery (or at you bedside if you’ll be snoozing in the same room).

While you may have a humidifier somewhere shoved in the back of a closet at home, it is probably time to invest in a new one. Why? A humidifier can be the difference between sporadic sleep and more reliable, restful nights — for you and your baby. Want to learn more? We’re sharing how a humidifier can help your honey-bunny — and what to look for when browsing options.

cool_air_humidifier
Yury Stroykin/ Shutterstock

Baby humidifiers help with congestion

One thing you’ll learn very early on in your parenting journey: Babies get colds — and lots of them. As your little one builds up their immune system, bugs and viruses and stuffy noses will happen. What’s more, many littles experience congestion while teething, too. Regardless of the reason, it’s best to be prepared.

Just like a humidifier can ease an adult’s symptoms of congestion, they can help your poor little cutie-pie get relief, too. Babies don’t have the same coping mechanisms older children and grown-ups have; they cannot blow their noses or find a better angle in bed, so a humidifier can be an especially useful tool from birth on. The moist air can help thin out the mucus congestion clogging up their nasal passages.

Even when they are not sick or teething, a humidifier can help infuse moisture into dry air. If you find that you wake up feeling stuffy, chances are your baby will, too. In this vein, a humidifier might be extra helpful in the cold, dry winter months. If you find yourself cranking up the heat, a humidifier is the antidote to all that hot artificial air. Yes, you (and Baby) can have it both ways — stay warm and keep those mucus membranes clean and clear.

The right humidifier is good for your baby’s skin

Infants have very sensitive skin. If your mini-me suffers from dry patches or eczema, a humidifier may be able to help. It is another tool to protect that oh-so-delicate skin barrier from damage. It likely won’t entirely prevent or stop patching and irritation, but it can quell any discomfort or itch and tame that subsequent redness. Again, this can be especially pertinent in colder months or in places with dry climates.

infant humidifier
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Choosing a humidifier

Ready to shop for a baby humidifier? The options can be overwhelming. (Who knew there were so many features and variations?) Fortunately, you can narrow down the contenders by taking a few factors into consideration:

  • Most pediatricians recommend getting a cool-mist humidifier, as there’s no risk for accidental burns.
  • You can opt for a humidifier that has a filter to help discourage the accumulation of bacteria, mold, and minerals. Do take note of how often filters needs to be swapped out. More importantly, clean your vessel thoroughly and regularly per the instructions. In this vein, choose a system that has an easy-access tank and fewer parts to scrub. Some options may even be dishwasher friendly.
  • Some humidifiers have a nozzle that you can point to direct the air flow. This feature can be especially helpful in a larger room.
  • Keep the size of the room in mind when selecting a humidifier. Most models will recommend use for a certain amount of square footage. Don’t be fooled — bigger is not always better. If a room is small, you don’t want too much moisture building up in a confined space. Of course, on the flip side, keep in mind that a smaller tank will need to be refilled more often.
  • A humidifier that features an automatic shut-off or timer feature can be useful. Some options may turn off when the tank is empty. Other high-tech humidifiers will sync with Alexa or Google Home, allowing you to control settings remotely.
  • Some humidifiers may be multifunctional and feature colored lights to soothe your baby.

Other general humidifier use tips

Already have your humidifier waiting at home? Before you put it in the nursery and start running that bad boy, consider these tips:

  • Use distilled water in your humidifier.
  • Place your humidifier out of reach from your infant or toddler on a flat surface in an open area. You don’t want it getting walls or other items wet — this could lead to mold and mildew.

The benefits of using humidifiers for infants are plentiful, and it’s definitely an item you will want to add to your registry or scoop up on your own. Whether Baby has a stuffy nose, an incoming tooth, or you’re just cranking up the dry heat on a cold night, you will be thankful when your little sweetie sleeps more comfortably with cool moisture gently circulating through the air.

Editors' Recommendations

Lauren Barth
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lauren Barth is a freelance writer and digital editor with over a decade of experience creating lifestyle, parenting, travel…
Your questions answered – everything you need to know about baby-led weaning
Guide to this trending solid introduction method
Baby eating solids in a highchair

Feeding your newborn is pretty straightforward. They only need human milk or formula for the first six months of their life to thrive. Once your baby is ready to start trying new foods, things can get a bit more complicated.
Parents shift to making or buying purees as they begin to introduce their little ones to solid foods. Cue caregivers pretending a spoon is an airplane and feeding their little child some version of oatmeal or pureed peas and sweet potatoes. These days, some parents are taking a different approach and introducing solids straight away. It’s known as baby-led weaning.
What is baby-led weaning? The method, developed by former public health nurse Gill Rapley, involves adults giving babies solid foods in their natural form and allowing them baby to self-feed. If a parent makes spaghetti, meatballs, and broccoli for dinner, the baby will eat it, too. Proponents say it respects a baby’s independence and food autonomy and may reduce picky eating.
It can also be a ton of food. Here’s what to know about baby-led weaning.

When do I start baby-led weaning?

Read more
These potty training tips will save your sanity
Helpful tips every parent needs to know
Toddler with stuffed bear on potty training seat.

The price of diapers alone is enough to make a parent wonder when their child will be potty trained. But when it comes time to teach your little one how to use the bathroom like a big kid, it could feel like an overwhelming task. This is a huge milestone for both of you, and if you need a little help getting through it, here are the best potty training tips to have handy.
Before potty training starts, keep a few things in mind

Potty training begins before you ever put your little one on the toilet. Parents, you need to be in the best headspace so the first training session doesn't end with everyone in tears on the bathroom floor.
Parents need patience
There will be setbacks. There might be wet pants, wet beds, or soiled underwear. As the parent and adult, you need to have patience. This is a big transition for your child, and they need a parent who will help them at every step without judgment.
Parents shouldn't force potty training
Each child is different and goes at their own pace. If you try to force your child to potty train before they're ready, you could cause emotional damage and scare them from wanting to learn.
Don't forget to let everyone know training is happening
Once you decide to start toilet training, let anyone who would be helping know. If your child goes to daycare, stays at a relative's house, or someone other than you watches them, talk with those people about the routine. Potty training will not happen without everyone being on the same page. 
These are the best potty training tips 

Read more
Can toddlers drink almond milk or other plant-based drinks?
How safe are milk alternatives for your toddler?
Toddler girl drinking milk through a straw while lying on the grass

Milk is an important part of the diet of toddlers. Milk, along with other fortified dairy products or soy beverages, plays an integral role in helping toddlers grow strong bones and teeth. Generally speaking,  milk helps your toddler's body grow. Almost all cow's milk has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D, crucial nutrients for your growing child. But what's a parent to do if they are vegan or have children who are allergic to cow's milk? These parents often wonder if their toddlers can have almond milk or other plant-based drinks as an adequate substitute for cow's milk.

With the recent increase in the popularity of plant-based drinks and almond milk, parents have been confused about whether their toddlers should be drinking these beverages instead of cow's milk. If you've been curious whether toddlers can drink almond milk or other plant-based drinks, this should help clear up any confusion.
Why is milk so important?

Read more