35 answers

Any Tips for Cleaning Baby's Nose W/ Saline and Bulb Syringe - He Hates It!

I have a 7 month old who caught his first cold and has congestion and a runny nose. It's difficult for him to breathe and so the dr. recommended using saline drops and bulb syringe to suction out the mucus. The problem is that he absolutely hates me using it on him and the moment he sees the bulb syringe, he starts twisting his head from side to side and fussing. So it's difficult to even aim the drops in his nose because he's moving so much and hates it. Even when I try to wipe his nose with a kleenex or wet wipe, he does the same thing. Any advice on how to do this easily?

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I have a 7 month old baby too. I was experiencing the same problem when trying to clean his nose with the Saline and Syringe. So one day I started playing with him, using the syringe on his little arms and his little face then do it to mine and I laugh outloud. He started to laugh too and somehow he was willing to let me try it in his nose. After I try it I laugh outloud and say Yucky! he laughed and forgot what it was all about. Hey, I was desperate to help him out and get him to breathe through his nose.

Use a humidifier in his room, esp at naps and nightime. Put him in the tub and let the water and steam help decongest him. Using just the saline should help. Asparating the nose is so hard on the little guys. Just helping them unstuff and letting the nose run will help them feel better. Good luck, my nine month old has had a cold for a week (which is why I recommended the humidifier).

We tried several different style syringes before finding one my daughter (8 mo) will tolerate. The best was the Rite Aid brand nasal aspirator. It has a hard plastic bulb that provides suction from the nasal opening and doesn't stick up inside the tender nostril. Plus the end separates from the rubber bulb for easier cleaning. I found it at Longs Drug, it's also available at http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=181468&amp...

More Answers

There is nothing you can do - all children hate it, and once they get to the age where they can actually blow their own noses, they will run when they see the tissue coming too! I used to sneak up on my daughter from behind then grab her head and hold it against me and do it real quickly before she could anticipate what was happening - of course she didnt like it, and I have had to physically hold her down to get that nose clean. Now that she is 2, it is even worse, and I actually have to clamp her screaming, tantruming, flailing body between me knees to even get her nose wiped (heaven forbid she have to take medicine - even if it tastes good, I have to hold her down and pour it down her throat because she is THAT stubborn!).
So, get used to it. LOL. The unhappiness with nose wiping and medication administering will always be an issue, and as they get older and stronger, you have to think of new ways to sneak up on them or hold them down and get it done quickly.
As a half suggestion, you can use saline spray as opposed to drops - they dont have to stay as still, and it is easier to sneak up on them and do it because they don't have to lie down to get the drops into the sinuses. Go to your local drugstore: they make saline nose spray in a bottle that has a "backwards" spray nozzle so you can just stick it in their nostril from behind, spray it in, and its done before they have a chance to react.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,

I used to swaddle my son when I needed to suction his nose. It made him feel more secure and it also helped keep him keep more still. Good luck! I know its hard to do~


1 mom found this helpful

J. - There is probably no easy way - because it is never fun. We always have to do what we call "doubles duty" when bulbing - that is my husband holds him in his lap and holds his face while I get in there with the bulb. I am always sure to have water or milk onhand to rinse down the saltiness right away and of course a big hug and a commendation on good behavior. My child eventually got used to it and now sticks the bulb in his nose by himself.

Hi J..
You've already received great advice, so I am simply seconding (thirding? fourthing?) much of it. Holding your son in a steamy room will help loosen the mucus, whether or not you plan to use a bulb syringe. Prop up his crib with either a pillow under (not over!) his mattress or boards under the front legs of the crib. A cool mist humidifier (son can't get burned by it) throughout the night can also really help. And sadly, pinning down your poor child is often necessary. It is also easier if there is another person around and one of you holds him down (arms out of the way, head still if possible) while the other uses the bulp syringe. Our son used to like to play with a bulb syringe, and we had one for that purpose. However, he still hated it when we used it and when we wiped his nose and all the things you mentioned. One more suggestion that I never did and never could do -- it's soooo gross, but it worked when our son's nanny did this (those who are squeemish should stop reading now!) -- is to suck the snot out of your child's nose with your mouth and then (obviously!) spit it out. Blurgh!!! I watched her do this a few times, and it definitely upset him less than the syringe. However, as much as I love my son more than anything in this world, I could never do this unless I thought he would be gravely hurt if I did not. However, if you are less squeemish than I am, I suppose you could try this. It's something that her mom, aunties, and grandma all did. For all of you shuddering right now, don't say I didn't warn you!

My daughter is 8 months now and hates to have her nose wiped too. I tried the bulb syringe thing a few times but gave up as it seemed to just torture her.

When she's had a cold I found the best thing I could do for her was to run a humidifier next to her bed at night so that her mucus remians soft and she can keep it moving herself. I also put her in her carseat (in the bedroom) so she could sleep upright and let gravity drain her nasal passages. We all slept better doiing this and I just had to let go of my cosmetic need to keep her nose clean.

Anybody (you even!) would run away if you saw something coming that you know they're gonna poke into your nose! What I would do if you're comfortable using the sucker bulb is softly "sandwich" his head between your legs/knees and do it quickly. Then cuddle after!

I think I did baths more often than the bulb just because it wasn't easy for me to use it. Once he's been playing in a warm bath for a bit, it just comes dripping out. Then after his bath, you wonder why you needed the bulb sucker.

I was much better at the nose wiping thing I think. What most people do is a quick pinch/wipe to the bottom of the nose. Now, anyone with a runny nose that is wiped often and has become red and sore and tender, if a nose like this sees a kleenex coming, they run for their lives!! What I do is quickly, GENTLY, softly put the kleenex over their nose, gently pinching/squeezing down the nose so that it pushes the mucus out, then gently wipe/pull away the mucus. Instead of just dragging the kleenex across the sore part of the nose. (Think of how YOUR nose feels when it's all red and sore)
I've had kids over that had runny noses and reacted the same way to the sight of a kleenex become a lot calmer for subsequent nose wiping. Your goal is to get the moisture and/or clog away from their nose so they're comfortable.

And good luck. Sometimes you just gotta do the necessary evil for their good.

I hold my baby in my left arm and pin his head against my shoulder while using my left hand to hold his arms down. Then I use my right hand to do the syringe. It's not fun, but if you do it quick, then it's not torture. It's not easy, but if you can't breathe, nothing else matters!

When I have to use those things, my son knows right away too and also freaks out. What I have to do is lay him down, then I straddle him (meaning I get on top of him with my legs on either side of his arms) I make sure not to actually sit down, I just make sure my legs are making it so his arms are pinned down and I have my knee as forward enough so that I can use one hand and one knee to hold his head in place then perform the procedure on one nostril and then switch to using the other knee and get the other nostril. It has seemed to work the best for me because it goes faster if he is not moving all over the place and I don't end up jamming the stuff up there and hurting the inside of his nose. Unfortunately using the bulb syringe and saline is a necessary evil so just do it! Even though he is upset, he will feel better from it. After I am done, I tell my son that we're all done and I help him up then cuddle him for a few minutes and then he's fine.

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