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Back Home Information Station Newborn Using the Bulb Syringe (a.k.a Nasal Aspirator)

Using the Bulb Syringe (a.k.a Nasal Aspirator)

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A bulb syringe, also known as a nasal aspirator, is a tool used to suction mucous from your baby's nose or to clean out baby's mouth if he/she throws up. Keep a bulb syringe handy in your diaper bag and at home.

Here are the steps on how to use the bulb syringe to clean your baby’s mouth:
1. Squeeze the bulb of the nasal aspirator to remove the air inside. Do this by pointing it away from your baby’s face. 
2. Insert the stem of the bulb syringe into the side of your baby’s mouth (between the cheek and the gums). Inserting the bulb syringe directly into your baby’s mouth can illicit the gag reflex and can cause more vomiting. 
3. Release the bulb slowly so the contents within your baby’s mouth fill the inside of the bulb.
4. Remove the bulb syringe and squeeze the bulb again to empty the contents onto a tissue, paper towel, washcloth, or directly into the sink, toilet, or trash can.
To use the bulb syringe to clean out your baby’s nose, follow the same procedure as above. But instead of inserting the bulb syringe in your baby's mouth, insert the stem of the bulb syringe into one nostril. Then, repeat this process with the other nostril. Limit use of the bulb syringe in the nose since repetitive use can irritate the nasal passage. 
If your baby has a stuffy nose, you can use normal saline drops which can be purchased over-the-counter or you can make your own. To use these drops:
  • Apply 1-2 drops of normal saline into one nostril at a time.
  • If necessary, use the bulb syringe to remove the excess drops and/or mucous. Again, do this one nostril at a time.
Clean the bulb syringe after each use with warm soapy water, rinse, and allow to air dry. Clean the bulb syringe with half-strength vinegar to inhibit the growth of bacteria. To make half-strength vinegar, mix equal parts water and vinegar.
How to Clean Your Baby's Nose With a Bulb Syringe

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