How to Use a Bulb Syringe on a Baby

When your little one is congested, you'll do just about anything to help them. Most adults think of colds as mild illnesses, but babies can feel miserable quickly because they're unable to blow their noses and clear mucus from their nasal passages. That's why a bulb syringe is a must-have item for the medicine cabinet. Keep reading to learn when and how to use a bulb syringe, with tips for cleaning the handy suction device.

What Is a Bulb Syringe?

A bulb syringe is essentially a nasal suction device for clearing a baby's airway. It's used to suck mucus from their nose—often in combination with a saline solution, which can loosen the secretions to make them easier to remove.

A quick browse on Amazon shows there's lots of different products designed to remove mucus, like the NoseFrida and even electronic devices. A bulb syringe specifically refers to the silicone or rubber bulb that works by manually squeezing to induce suction. It's the type of device you might receive from the hospital when you take your baby home.

When to Use a Bulb Syringe

For babies, stuffy noses often comes with crying and fussiness, since they can't clear their nasal passages themselves. A bulb syringe can help relieve congestion for better breathing. Eating and sleeping will also become for comfortable with cleared nostrils.

A bulb syringe can be used whenever a baby seems particularly congested, says Nicole Leigh Aaronson, M.D., pediatric otolaryngologist at Nemours Children's Health in Delaware and Clinical Associate Professor of Otolaryngology and Pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University. But "it's important not to suction too often or this can become irritating to the delicate nasal lining. Usually, suctioning is not done more than four times per day," she says.

Why Should You Use a Bulb Syringe?

Here are some situations where a nasal bulb syringe could come in handy, says Dr. Aaronson:

There's a lot of mucus visible in the nose that won't seem to come out Mucus appears especially thick Your baby seems to be mouth breathing and unable to breath easily through the nose Your baby is unable to feed without breaking the latch

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