Last Update: 1st October 2019
In this article, we will discuss nasal aspirators, in what variants they exist, how to use each with your infant, how to execute the booger extraction procedure, which precautions to take when applying the procedure, what are the dangers and how to react if something goes wrong.
What exactly is a nasal aspirator?
A baby nasal aspirator, simply put is a small device with a purpose to draw out snot from the baby’s nose with a suction mechanism. Like the Nose Frida
They are user-friendly, budget-friendly and efficient – if applied correctly they’ll resolve the problem in under the 30s (helping alleviate newborns grunting and congestion, whilst returning to its normal state of breathing.
There are a few types of nasal aspirators which we are going to mention, how to apply them as well as discuss their pros and cons.
The Bulb Nasal Aspirator
Firstly, with this type of baby nasal aspirator, you need to squeeze the rubber bulb to release all the buildup air inside of it.
After that, simply insert the bulb into the infant’s nostril with the suction side and release the bulb.
The bulb will make a sucking motion which will fill up with both air and the goo inside your baby’s nose. After this simple procedure, your baby should continue to breathe normally.
This type of nasal aspirator is the most common; it’s used in hospitals and given away to new mothers.
This, however, does not mean they are the best at doing their job.
They are simply highly efficient for the price. They are designed for one-use only.
If by any chance, you intend to use it more than once, remember that you will need to clean it and that can prove to be difficult. Some open easily, others don’t.
And if by any chance, you damage the hygiene safety mechanisms of the bulb while cleaning it, after a while it might get infested with moss. After that, there’s no other option but to throw it away.
In addition to that, bulb nasal aspirators don’t suck the goo out of the infant’s nose as well as the other variants of the product.
All in all, to summarize what I just said, unless you are having a chronic problem with the stuffed nose of your infant, the bulb nasal aspirators are a highly cost-effective one time use solution to the problem.
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Human Suction Nasal Aspirators
These type of nasal aspirators have a much higher suction power compared to the bulb ones.
The way they are used is the following: the blue marked end goes in the nose of the infant while the red marked end goes in your mouth.
After that, just suck the mouthpiece end as hard as you can in order to create a vacuum and draw all the snot out.
To ease the worries which are probably hovering around your head at the moment, no you won’t inhale any snot as this type of nasal aspirators comes with a filter which will contain all the snot coming out of your baby’s nose.
That also works for germs, but you need to remember that this is a one-time use filter.
After use, it needs to be properly disposed and replaced with a new one.
To summarize; compared to the bulb baby nasal aspirator this one does the job much more efficiently, as you have direct control over the suction power of the device.
Albeit these suction models are more expensive and the maintenance costs (the disposable filters) are higher.
Regardless, if thinking of purchasing one, you should look at it as an investment.
Electric Nasal Aspirator
This type of nasal aspirator requires no “manual labor” compared to the previously mentioned ones.
It includes no suction, no squeezing, and no maintenance.
The way it’s used is the following: just put it in the nose of your child and push the on button.
They provide continuous suction which guarantees that your child’s nose will be cleaned up for him to continue breathing normally almost 100%.
Well, here’s the “almost 100%” part.
While the suction mechanism being consistent, it’s less powerful to the previously mentioned products, and it can’t be adjusted.
By fabrication, the power is limited probably due to safety concerns.
This might mean if your baby is experiencing an extremely heavy snot stutter, the electric nasal aspirator might not be able to do the job.
It’s also not budget friendly, and there’s the downside of having the batteries run out in the middle of the cleaning process (which can be infuriating).
To summarize, this type of a nasal aspirator is an investment which requires no manual labor and has really low maintenance costs and requirements but suffers from low suction power, and it’s not the least budget friendly product on the market.
Aspirator danger Awareness
While generally safe, baby nasal aspirators do bring hazards with them.
Here we will discuss the types of hazards and the reason why it’s important to use the nasal aspirator properly and to have it clean.
The tissue that’s lining the nose of your infant is extremely thin and vulnerable.
If you apply the nasal aspirator too aggressively, either push it too hard or too deep, it can result in nosebleeds due to ruptured nose lining tissue.
While the rupture is not extremely dangerous, it will cause your child pain (which reasonably is unacceptable) and it can make your job of having to do nasal aspirator cleaning duties in the future more difficult due to the existence of the wound which will have a chance to reopen when the procedure is attempted again in the future.
If you’re doing the nasal cleaning procedure too often, the sucking motion can cause a swelling of the membrane inside the nostril.
The procedure should be done only when necessary (when the breathing problems are starting to be a real nuisance to the life quality of your infant) and it is recommended that you loosen up the boogers of your child before doing the procedure so to have an easier time, with having him sit in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes beforehand for an example.
If you have more than one child, depending on which type of nasal aspirator you have, either use the aspirator only one time (bulb) or clean them with high efficiency on a regular basis (human suction and electric).
The snot contains germs which can stay active and ineffective up to 48 hours, and as babies have a weaker immune system than adults, this needs to be taken heavily into consideration.
Proper Aspirator Usage
As previously mentioned, different nasal aspirators function differently. Take note of how to use the one you have, apply the method correctly, do not be too aggressive when inserting the aspirator in the nose and clean it on a regular basis.
If by any chance you do unintentionally cause nose bleeding or swelling, discontinue the procedure, talk to the baby’s doctor and learn when it’s going to be safe to continue the procedure when the booger problem returns.
It is advisable to loosen up the buggers by having the child sit in a steamy bathroom or use saline drops.
Nasal aspirator baby safety
Nasal aspirators need to be handled carefully as improper usage can unintentionally cause nose damage to the child.
There are a few things to consider.
First of all, be sure to be properly informed about how to properly use the type of nasal aspirator which you have so you don’t end up putting the wrong end in the nose for an example.
When applying the nasal aspirator, do not use force or push too hard – it is not a drill.
The aggressive appliance of the nasal aspirator can cause a swelling or even a mild bleeding rupture.
This undesirable results will prevent you from repeating the procedure anytime soon, and your child will be stuck with a stuffed nose, continuing to experience problems such as breathing, sleeping, eating and such.
If there are stuffed buggers, you can use methods such as having your infant stay in a steamed bathroom or use saline drops on the aspirator before appliance, so you increase the efficiency of the procedure.
Depending on the type of nasal aspirator that you possess, be sure to either use it one-time only and discard or when reusing then ensure you thoroughly clean it before, and after use.
Hygiene is very important here, so you reduce the chance of infection as the boogers also contain germs.
Infant immune systems are much weaker than adult ones, so this is of imperative importance.
Do not over-use nasal aspirators as it might lead to some unwanted effects on the baby’s nose.
If any unwanted events happen, don’t be shy! Be sure to contact the baby’s doctor for medical attention or caretaking guidance.
Last but not least, do not rush the procedure.
Do every step of the procedure with thorough finesse and attention to details, so the end result is not only good but the best possible it can be.
When to use nasal aspirator
Nasal aspirators should be used when the infant is experiencing an intermediate level of difficulty while breathing and is having constant problems with eating, pooping and sleeping.
When deciding to use a nasal aspirator, you need to be sure that your child is experiencing booger problems and not simply having a mild cough or is just cranky due to being hungry or being constipated and such.
Even when used properly by-the-book, nasal aspirators if overused can at the least cause swelling of the nose of the child.
The swelling will force you to discontinue the practice of nasal cleansing and leave you hapless when the situation repeats if the swelling persists.
The swelling will also leave him vulnerable to further infections of germs which may cause further respiratory problems and even culminate in a medical complication in which you are going to be forced to seek professional medical attention.
It is advisable that before using the nasal aspirator, the boogers are loosened with the use of saline or having your child sit in a steamed bathroom.
By doing this, the process will go much smoother, be much more efficient and will lead you to a situation in which you are not going to have to repeat the process too many times, making the risk factor of overuse much more minuscule.
All in all, it boils down to how much trouble your child is having with a stuffed nose and your intuitive judgment as a parent to properly, efficiently and at the desired rate of usage apply the nasal aspirator to your child.
How often should you use a nasal aspirator
There are still massive debates going on around this question.
Some say that you should use it as much as you want, other say that using it too often will cause swelling and complicate the problem and there are people who even give an exact numerical value on how many times a day it should be used (example: max 3 times a day).
As an analyst, I have taken all opinions in consideration and came to the realization that the situation is a flipped coin with two sides.
In my opinion, you should use nasal aspirators as much as you think it is necessary, following your parental intuition, while monitoring the state of the difficulty of breathing of the baby and the appearance of unwanted effects such as swelling.
When you measure these two deflecting sides against each other, it boils down to proper monitoring of your baby and of the situation including correct appliance of the nasal aspirator.
For example, instead of using it more to clean out hard buggers you can use saline or have your child sit in a steamed bathroom, so the buggers loosen up with the moisture.
This way when you apply the nasal aspirator, the procedure will have a much greater effect, and you won’t have to worry about using it too often as the quality of the procedure is going to be high enough that you won’t need to use it too often.
I do believe that the information I provided is enough for you take correct precaution when applying the nasal aspirator, but after a while, with practice you will get the hang of it, and you will intuitively know when to use it and when other means of interference are required to solve any problems that your child might be experiencing.
How to clean a baby nose without an aspirator
If by any chance you simply can’t get the hang of how to use nasal aspirators or you have unintentionally previously caused a nosebleed to your child and are afraid that you’re going to do it again there are ways to clean your baby’s nose without using aspirators.
Saline drops are still a must. When not using an aspirator, the number of saline drops that you’re going to be using to clean your child’s nose should be around double. It’s uncomfortable for the baby, but it’s necessary, and it’s only for a moment.
You should be putting the saline drops in both nostrils at once.
As soon as that’s done, the baby should be flipped tummy down.
Start to wiggle its bottom as that gently will move their head as well, and the loosened buggers will start coming out on their own.
This should be done over a cloth that’s either disposable or either easy to clean and disinfect.
This method has a harder time dealing with the tougher boogers, but it’s much safer and less intense for the baby.
You can use as much saline as you want as it’s very safe, but it should be administered as drops and not sprayed in the nostrils as the pressure can be problematic for the baby.
make sure to analyse these options and pick the right variant for your baby.