If you are scared of bodily fluids then parenting probably isn’t going to be easy for you. In addition to diaper changes, spit ups, and drooling, you will also have to deal with getting baby boogers out at some point or another!
The best methods for getting baby boogers out of your little one’s nose involve softening them with saline and then sucking them out using either a syringe or a tool that incorporates human suction. Newborns and fussy babies will require extra prep work before you can clear their noses effectively.
I’ve sucked out a lot of boogers in my day and while I wouldn’t exactly call it fun it can be strangely satisfying once you get your baby’s nose clear and she is able to breathe more easily! Here are my recommended tips, techniques, and tools for getting the job done.
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How to suction boogers out of a baby’s nose with a syringe
Probably the most often used method for getting boogers out of a baby’s nose is the bulb-style syringe.
Even if you don’t have any experience with snot sucking, first-time parents will probably see these right inside the hospital and might even be given one to take home! They are made of rubber and have a big bottom filled with air and the opening is at the end of a narrow tube on the other end.
To use them:
- Squeeze the bulb to remove the air
- Position the tube inside the nose and target the booger
- Release the bulb to create suction and watch the booger fly into the bulb!
- Just kidding, it didn’t work. Try again.
- Didn’t work this time either. Try again.
- Try again.
Jokes aside, these bulb-style syringes just flat out don’t work very well.
My wife and I have tried countless times, but you just can’t get ENOUGH suction to pull a booger out and it doesn’t last long enough for you to move the syringe around to chase the boogers and snot. The good news is that there is a MUCH BETTER alternative to these bulb-style syringes that works very well.
How to get snot out of a baby’s nose with your mouth
While this might sound gross, the tools that use human suction (your mouth!) to pull the snot out of the nose are simply the most effective method I’ve found in the past 10 years of parenting.
The idea with mouth-assisted tools is that you are able to get a more reliable suction going when and where you might need it. Compared to a traditional bulb-style syringe, the difference is night and day. In fact, once we discovered these tools we have literally never used the old bulb-style syringes again. They are that big of a game-changer.
Essentially, these devices are made up of a long tube with a narrow, snot-sucking opening on one end and a syringe on the other end similar to what you would use to give someone medicine. The genius part is that on the other side of that syringe is another tube with a mouthpiece that you use to suck through the device and create suction. Don’t worry, there is a little filter inside the syringe and you’ll never have to worry about actually getting snot or boogers into your mouth.
Once you try this method, any feelings of discomfort you had going into it will melt away instantly as you see how quickly your baby is back to breathing normally!!
While there are a few different options available, the most popular and well-reviewed is The NoseFrida by FridaBaby. This is the tool that I personally use with my family and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s simple to use, effective, and very affordable. This particular set (check the latest price on Amazon) even comes with baby-safe saline and extra filters so you’ll have everything you need. What’s more, this thing will last forever so if you pick one up for your first baby you’ll be able to cross it off the list for the next one. In my house, that’s a big win!
Parent tip: Be sure to clean out your NoseFrida frequently to avoid build-up of harmful bacteria!
What about electric baby booger removers?
If the two manual options don’t look appealing to you there are also many options for electric booger removers on the market. Although I don’t have personal experience with these, many parents swear by them and would gladly choose them over the others.
The electric suckers are small, hand-held devices powered by batteries and can easily be thrown into a diaper bag or purse during times when your baby is sick or otherwise congested.
Here are the biggest benefits:
- Portable and convenient to use – just turn it on with the flick of a button
- Reliable, continuous suction so that you can root around looking for hidden snot or boogers
- Boogers are sucked into the device to be cleaned later – no chance it will get on your hands or in your mouth
Here are the biggest negatives:
- Battery-powered means one more thing you have to buy batteries for and change
- Mechanical devices will eventually break or otherwise stop working
- Noise can scare some babies
- If there isn’t enough suction, you don’t have an option to make it stronger as you could with the NoseFrida
- Likely more expensive than manual options
If you are interested in this option, this particular device by OCCObaby has the most reviews and highest overall review score on Amazon.
Getting dried boogers out of your baby’s nose
While we’ve focused on your standard booger and snot-filled baby nose up until this point, we haven’t mentioned what to do when you run into dry boogers.
If you have this problem, you’ll need to do a little prep work first by using baby-safe saline to soften up the boogers and snot so that you can get it out. While you don’t necessarily have to get a saline solution marketed towards babies, you do need to ensure that it is 100% saline and doesn’t contain any type of medication in the solution that could cause problems for your baby.
With that being said, I do recommend getting a baby version because that means you’ll get an applicator tip that is sized for a baby’s nose and it will come out in a fine mist to coat the entire inside of the nose rather than a harsh squirt that could irritate the baby. I’ve personally used both the Little Remedies brand as well as Arm and Hammer’s version and they both performed very well. You can pick those up here or here (check the latest price on Amazon). Any brand will do though and as long as it’s 100% saline it can be used any time of day as needed!
Parent tip: Give each nostril a good spray and then wait a few minutes before you try to get anything out so the saline has time to work. You might even want to spray a second time just before sucking!
Watch outs and best practices for using tools to getting boogers out of a baby
While all of these tools make things MUCH easier for you to remove boogers and snot, you will still need to make sure that you are taking proper care of the tools and your own personal hygiene while you use them.
Here are some best practices to use:
- Wash your hands or at least use hand sanitizer before handling the tools and touching your baby’s nose.
- Be sure to follow the directions on the package for any tool or saline solution.
- After using the tools, clean them or their removable pieces in warm, soapy water. Allow them to dry thoroughly.
- Do not spray too much saline inside the nose. Most products recommend a single, short burst. If your baby sneezes some out, it’s okay. There is still enough in there!
- Try not to use saline more than a few times a day or for 4 days straight as it can dry out a baby’s nasal passages and cause irritation.
- Try not to suction more than a couple of times per day to avoid excessive irritation and inflammation.
- Don’t force a baby to let you suction their nose. If the baby is very upset, give them time to settle back down before trying again!
How to get rid of boogers in a newborn or a fussy baby
Trying to fix a problem with a newborn is always tricky because they have no idea what is going on and they can get scared pretty easily. They just don’t understand that sticking a piece of plastic in their nose will make them feel so much better when it’s over!
To make things as quick and easy as possible, I recommend:
- Swaddling your newborn up tightly so that their hands and arms can’t get in the way. Being swaddled also gives them a better feeling of security, in general, so that could help ease their anxiety.
- Sing or speak to your baby in a soothing tone to help keep them calm.
- Use the saline in your baby’s nose and give them a few minutes to calm down if it startles them.
- Focus on using quick bursts of suction rather than trying to keep your newborns head completely still the whole time.
Over time, your baby will slowly get used to booger removal and will eventually realize that it’s a good thing! Just try to keep the whole process as quick and painless as possible so that they don’t get scared when they see the sucker come out!
Why does my baby have so many boogers?
If you feel like your baby has way more boogers than you do – you aren’t wrong!
Babies tend to have more issues with boogers, and congestion in general, because they just plain get sick more often than adults. In fact, your baby is likely to get 7 or 8 colds each year until preschool age compared to an adult’s 4-to-5. Since there are over 200 different cold viruses and a baby’s immune system isn’t up to full strength yet when they are first born, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Bringing your baby to daycare at an early age and neglecting to breastfeed can further compound this issue and lead to more frequent illnesses.
Another big factor is that babies don’t understand what a stuffy nose is and they definitely can’t blow their nose on their own! Heck, I feel like my nine-year-old girls just learned how to blow their noses last year. Without that ability, snot will just sit inside their noses, turn into boogers, and block airways.
Tips for preventing or reducing boogers
While there is no way to completely prevent boogers and snot, there are a few things that can help prevent having issues as frequently.
- Avoid letting your baby have contact with other people that are sick to reduce colds
- Breastfeed to let its immune-boosting properties reduce and shorten colds
- Make sure your baby has plenty of fluids during the day
- Run a humidifier/vaporizer at night
- Elevate the head of the mattress if possible to help reduce congestion
- Let your baby stay in the bathroom while a steamy shower runs to let the steam loosen up the mucus
Good luck with your baby!