How to Blow Your Baby’s Nose
by Lauren Jane Heller
April still has a cold. It’s one of those horribly phlegm-y ones that she just can’t seem to shake. The poor thing has a never-ending stream of snot snail-trailing its way down her nose. After a day or so of this, she got fed up with me trying to wipe it, and has turned this into a great struggle. She averts her head and blows raspberries at me, as though this will somehow protect her from my attack.
There is no truly pleasant way to blow a baby’s nose. There are various methods, all of which are “safe and effective” but none that April is really into.
1) Baby nose-blow “mouche bebe,” nose Frida-style snot sucker
This is a contraption with a long tube attached to a mouthpiece at one end and a snot catchment area at the other. You simply place the snot catchment cylinder in the baby’s nostril and suck the snot out. This would work perfectly if the baby was actually into the feeling of having her sinuses suctioned, but after testing it out on Josh to see how it would feel, we understand why she doesn’t like it. Having your sinuses suctioned is weird!
2) Nasal aspirator
This looks like a mini turkey-baster. It’s a little plastic bulb attached to a sort of nozzle that you fit into the baby’s nose. You squeeze the bulb, fit in the nozzle, and allow the bulb to expand, thus sucking in the air and snot from your baby’s sinuses. This works less effectively than actually sucking the snot out because it takes more tries (and therefore causes more consternation from baby)
3) Saline solution
There are various brands you can buy which come with little droppers. I don’t think that this does anything effective for an overabundance of mucous, but if your baby is stuffed up a few drops in each nostril followed by aspiration (either of the above is good) can help pull out some of the snot-plug that’s keeping your monkey from eating easily. I was told by a friend that you simply put this on a cotton ball beneath the baby’s nose and the snot will disappear, but that certainly hasn’t worked for us.
I have also found that putting eucalyptus oil on her feet and on a tissue next to her while she sleeps helps to keep the airways open. While I was visiting at my parents’ house last week, April awoke and was having a lot of trouble getting back to sleep. I dreaded the need to aspirate as we only had a bulb-style snot sucker and it takes two people to get this to work (I hope we don’t traumatize her with this!). I had just put some olbas oil on a tissue and waved it about in the air when my mom came through to see if she could help. I plonked April down on the bed, ready to aspirate and … she was asleep! Either the olbas really worked or she really didn’t want to have her snot sucked. I don’t think that eight-month-old babies are sharp enough yet for the latter.