5 Baby Nasal Aspirators That’ll Help Your Little One Breathe Easy
The joys of new parenthood are almost too numerous to count, but there will come a time when it’s necessary to engage in some less pleasant parental activities. And while you might already know all about those messy diaper changes, there’s also the task of blowing baby’s nose for them. It’s quite common for babies to have nasal congestion from time to time. And while there’s no need to panic over every little sniffle, children aren’t developmentally able to blow their nose until age 2, which means clearing up that stuffy nose falls to you. Have no fear, though: When used correctly, a nasal aspirator can help baby breathe easier. (As always, talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned about baby’s congestion or it seems to linger.) But with all the options out there to choose from, how do you know which is the best nasal aspirator for your family? Below, we outlined how to use different types of nasal aspirators, as well as our favorite options for babies and toddlers.
In this article:
What is a baby nasal aspirator?
When should you use a baby nasal aspirator?
What to look out for when using a baby nasal aspirator
A baby nasal aspirator—aka a snot sucker—is a device that uses suction to safely remove mucus and boogers from baby’s nose. By clearing their sinuses in this way, baby will be able to breathe easily again. There are a few different models, including oral suction aspirators, bulb aspirators and electric aspirators. We’ll outline the difference between each type below.
Oral suction baby nasal aspirators. An oral suction aspirator is essentially a double-sided tube. One end goes just into baby’s nose (don’t push the tip in too far), and the other end goes into the caregiver’s mouth—oral suction is used to suck out the mucus and clear any obstruction. This gentle method ensures you control the force of suction yourself. Have no fear, filters and stoppers keep the process clean and hygienic.
Bulb baby nasal aspirators. Frequently used in hospitals to clear baby’s nasal passages right after birth, a bulb aspirator consists of a rubber bulb and a narrow, tapered opening. To use, you squeeze all the air out of the bulb, place the tip at the entrance to baby’s nostril, and release slowly to create a vacuum suction and release mucus.
Electric baby nasal aspirators. Usually powered by battery, these models are designed to be the easiest to use. One end goes at the entrance of baby’s nostril, you press a button, and the aspirator suctions out the mucus. Electric aspirators may be a bit pricier than bulb or oral suction models, but many parents like that they do the job with minimal effort—plus, they’re easy to clean.
According to Jack Maypole, MD, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, children can have up to 12 colds in the first year of life alone, and congestion comes with the territory. Maypole says that common symptoms include dried mucus around the nostrils, the dreaded snot bubble or strings of mucus that may drip out of the nose. That said, children react differently to congestion depending on their age and stage of development. Infants tend to breathe through their nose, explains Maypole, so when their nasal passages become gummed up with mucus, they may sputter, snort and gag at times, as they work to breathe through their nose. You may find they’re fussier than usual or having a harder time feeding at the breast or bottle. This is when a baby nasal aspirator comes in handy.
Below, expert tips to help you use a baby nasal aspirator effectively:
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after you complete the process to prevent the spread of germs.
Saline drops help loosen stubborn mucus. “A couple of squirts of saline spray or a few drops from an ampule applied inside the nose may soften dried mucus and make it easier to remove,” says Maypole.
Place the aspirator tip at the entry to the nostril. Be careful not to too far inside the nose in order to avoid any injury.
After using, clean the aspirator thoroughly with soap and water to prevent any bacteria buildup.
Baby nasal aspirators are effective at clearing nasal passages, but Maypole emphasizes that you shouldn’t use them more than three times a day. Too much usage can lead to nasal irritation or nosebleeds. You should always be aware of the amount of suctioning power you use, regardless of baby’s age. Start using the lowest amount of suction and then work your way up, keeping an eye on baby’s comfort as you do so. If the process is causing baby more distress than relief, try a different route. Another effective option? Give baby a warm bath or shower and let the steam work its magic. “The heated water vapor will help moisturize plugged mucus and trigger some vasodilation in a child’s nostrils. This effect can thin out the mucus and offer some temporary relief,” adds Maypole. At the very least, it’ll help relax baby before bedtime. If you do decide to use a baby aspirator, make sure that it’s BPA-free, phthalate-free and latex-free—like the ones on the list below.
Ready to start your search? Here, find our picks of the best nasal aspirators to clear congestion in babies. From basic bulbs to nifty electric models, you’re sure to find an aspirator to suit your needs.
Best overall baby nasal aspirator
Braun is one of the most trusted health and wellness brands on the market, so it’s no surprise that their electric baby nasal aspirator is a Best of Baby award-winner. It includes two different sized silicone tips (a smaller one that’s especially good for infants, and a larger one for toddlers). You can toggle between high and low levels of power that offer either surface-level suction or deeper clearage. Plus, there’s an auto shut-off for safety when releasing either suction button. The ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold, and the motor is quiet enough to use even while baby is sleeping. Just detach the nasal tips and collection cup for easy cleaning in the dishwasher.
- Two adjustable nasal tips
- Easy to clean
- Some parents report that the suction is not strong enough
Best oral suction baby nasal aspirator
When a case of the sniffles hits, you’ll want to have the Fridababy NoseFrida Snotsucker nasal aspirator in your arsenal. Created by doctors, this oral suction model has a tube-like aspirator that’s both gentle and effective. But what makes it a top-pick baby nasal aspirator? The NoseFrida creates a seal on the outside of baby’s nostril, allowing you to gently remove mucus while controlling the suction speed and intensity. The single-use hygiene disposable filters keep bacteria and germs from entering your mouth, while a clear tube lets you see how much mucus you’ve removed from baby’s nose (which is weirdly satisfying). Bonus: The aspirator is easy to disassemble and clean—it’s even top-rack dishwasher-safe!
- Affordable and effective option
- Disposable filters keep things hygienic
- Easy to clean
- Some parents report that the mouthpiece comes off
Best bulb baby nasal aspirator
This baby nasal aspirator might be the most familiar looking one on the list. The BoogieBulb is the original hospital-grade rubber bulb style option, upgraded so it’s easier to clean and to use (you can now pull the pieces apart from the center). The BoogieBulb comes in three sizes ( 1 oz., 2-oz., and 3 oz. ). (The 1 oz. size is ideal for smaller or premature babies.)
- Made from medical-grade PVC
- Easy to disassemble and clean
- Suction isn’t as strong as a one-piece bulb aspirator
Best electric baby nasal aspirator
Designed with the help of ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists, this electric baby nasal aspirator is one of the best, thanks to the control you have over suction power. It has multiple settings you can use in accordance with baby’s age and thickness of mucus. (Don’t worry: Even the highest level is still safe for your little one’s sensitive nose.) The patented head is the only part of the aspirator you need to clean: Just run it under warm water, and let it dry—no need to worry about cleaning multiple tiny pieces. The Nosiboo is a bit pricier than other options on this list, but it’s especially effective and helpful if your little one tends to suffer from recurring congestion.
- Strong suction
- Created in collaboration with ear, nose and throat specialists
- High price point
- Larger than other models on the market
Best toddler nasal aspirator
Convincing a cranky toddler to let you put a device up their nose can be a battle (to say the least). Our advice? Introduce them to the oogiebear—a nasal aspirator with a child-friendly design. The bulb aspirator has a soft silicone tip shaped like a teddy bear, which prevents the aspirator from going too far into baby’s nose—and may be less intimidating to children than an electric device. This set also includes a dual-sided nose picker, with a patented loop end to remove sticky boogers, and a scoop end to get rid of dried ones. The aspirator itself comes apart for easy cleaning, and is super-easy to operate.
- Child-friendly design
- Soft silicone tips
- Dual-sided nose picker for hard to shift boogers
- Limited product reviews as this aspirator is new to the market
About the expert:
Jack Maypole, MD, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and a member of the educational advisory board at The Goddard School.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
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