When And How To Use A Baby Nasal Aspirator?

Submitted by Nick on December 20, 2013

To the uninitiated, nasal aspirators for babies may look like mini torture devices! Used to clear a stuffy nose and relieve any discomfort caused by a cold, your baby may not like this procedure of cleaning out his nose too much but it will make it easier for him to breathe, sleep and even eat.


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Rubber ball syringes are often included in the newborn kit that the hospital gives you. These are usually the basic models but do an adequate job for the purpose. If you look online, you will also find a host of more ‘advanced’ models such as nasal aspirators.

While these are more expensive than the normal ball-syringe model, they do cause less distress to your baby and are usually more effective in removing nasal mucus.

When do you use a nasal aspirator?

If your baby is suffering from a stuffy or runny nose and as a result is not sleeping or eating well or is taking time to respond to cold medications, it may be time to use a nasal aspirator and hurry along the recovery process.

Now that you know when to use a nasal aspirator, the next big question is how exactly do you use it. As jittery first time parents, its easy to be intimidated by any device or product that you use on your precious baby. Simply follow these steps for an easy fuss-proof way to clear a stuffy nose:

Prep your baby for the procedure – Many doctors suggest using a saline solution in the nose in order to loosen up any hardened mucus and to allow for easy suctioning. You can buy nasal saline solution for babies at your local pharmacy or you can make your own by dissolving a quarter teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm (not hot) sterilized water. Store this solution in a covered jar and make a new batch every day. Lay your baby down on her back and tilt her chin up slightly. Place one or two drops of saline solution in each nostril. You can do this with an eyedropper for the best results. Though this may be difficult, keep your baby’s head tilted back for a few minutes to prevent the saline solution from dripping back.

Use the aspirator – Most nasal aspirators consist of a nozzle that you insert (gently) into each nostril, a long soft tube that connects the nozzle with the mouthpiece and the mouthpiece that you use to suck the mucus out of the nose with. Do not worry – there is a filter that blocks mucus and bacteria from entering your mouth while you use the device. Hold the device at a slight angle with your thumb placed at the bottom. Press the aspirator all the in BEFORE you place it in the baby’s nose. Lay your baby on her back and have someone hold her to prevent her from moving while using the aspirator. Insert the tip of the device into a nostril while the aspirator is pressed completely down. Release your thumb to create suction and remove extra mucus. Wipe the mucus on a tissue and repeat with the other nostril.

Take care – Avoid using a nasal aspirator more than two or three times a day or you risk irritating the delicate nasal lining. Saline drops should not be overused as well as in the long run they can dry out the nose and cause more damage. Do not press down too hard as extra suctioning may lead to bleeding or inflammation of the nasal passages.

Most aspirators are meant for single use only and should be thrown out to prevent cross contamination. Do not share one piece between children and replace with a new device every few months as well.

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