Caring for a congested baby can be difficult. They don’t sleep well, they can be extra fussy, and as a parent, it can be tough to know exactly how to help them. Babies have tiny nostrils, so even a small amount of nasal congestion can cause blockage from a build up of dried snot. Clearing their nose is one way to help your baby breathe easier, but exactly how do you get boogers out of a baby’s nose?
Even if your baby isn’t super congested or sick, clearing their nose of a rogue booger now and then is just part of having a baby. After all, they can’t exactly do it themselves. This is one parenting task where having the right tools on hand is essential.
What to consider before you start clearing your baby’s nose
Before you remove your baby’s boogers, you’ll want to consider the source of their congestion. This can help determine which removal methods work best.
Babies are nose breathers by nature, Dr. Candice W. Jones, a board-certified pediatrician tells Romper. So, clearing their nose of any blockage — whether they’re extra congested or just have a few pesky boogers — can help them breathe better.
“Nasal congestion is common shortly after birth, during viral infections, and when substances block the nasal passageways, such as milk from reflux,” says Jones. If you notice noisy breathing, Jones says to first take a look inside the nostril. If your baby has an object stuck in there, they may require immediate medical attention.
If there are only boogers blocking airflow, your next step is to consider what type of boogers are present — wet or dry. Then, follow through with what Jones calls the “dymanic duo” of saline and suction. Use a non-medicated, alcohol-free saline spray or drops to lubricate baby’s nostrils and follow up with a bulb syringe or other infant-safe suction device to remove mucus.
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How to get dry boogers out of Baby’s nose
To get dry boogers out of your baby’s nose, there are several handy tools parents can use. Knowing which one to use depends on how stuck the dry boogers are.
In order to know which removal method will work best, first determine whether or not the dry boogers will simply flake off from the inside of your baby’s nostril or if they’re hard and stuck to the inside of the nasal cavity. You can typically tell the difference by wiping a dry tissue across baby’s nose to see if any dried booger pieces flake off.
Friedababy designed a 3-in-1 nose, nail, and ear picker so you can avoid using your germ-ridden fingers to get gunk out of and off of your baby. For dried boogers, simply use any of the 4 small tips on this tool to gently scoop and scrape boogers from baby’s nostrils. The “parent-proof stopper” at the end of the stick keeps it from going too far into your baby’s nose. This instrument is a great way to keep your baby’s boogers from getting underneath your nails and spreading their germs to you. (Plus, you won’t ruin your manicure.)
Boogie wipes are another great solution for dried baby boogers that simply won’t budge. You can use the saline-soaked wipes alone or in combination with a picker tool for hard-to-get boogers. The moisture from the wipes helps gently dislodge boogers to make the picking process easier. Keep a pack in your diaper bag to clean up crusty messes when out and about.
How to get wet boogers out of Baby’s nose
When it comes to getting wet boogers out of a baby’s nose, nasal aspirators are an infant parent’s BFF. Simple bulb syringes are usually effective, but a battery-powered electric aspirator can provide suction at multiple levels to aid in the removal of boogers.
The NoseFrieda suction system is another top choice for clearing wet boogers from a baby’s nose. Though it may sound daunting at first, the unique silicone tube and mouthpiece design allows parents to use exactly the amount of suction needed to clear their baby’s nose. Yes, you do have to use your own mouth to create the suction, but the tube’s foam filter keeps debris from entering the mouthpiece. (No mucus will get into your mouth.)
Other home remedies to help clear Baby’s nose
In addition to booger extraction, there are several home remedies to clear a baby’s nose that can help them breathe better. Sitting in a steamy bathroom, giving baby a lukewarm bath, and using a humidifier can all aid in clearing mucus from your baby’s nose.
Though you can care for a congested baby at home, persistent congestion may indicate deeper issues such as infection that requires treatment by your pediatrician. “Congestion may persist when there is an infection until it resolves,” Jones tells Romper, so it’s always a good idea to get a doctor’s input when your baby is dealing with persistent congestion, trouble breathing, or nasal blockage.
Before trying any of the above methods for clearing your baby’s nose, it is important to check with your pediatrician. They’re your best resource for questions about your baby’s health. Once they give you the go-ahead, these tools and tips can help you banish boogers and get your baby back to their happy un-stuffy self.
Dr. Candice W. Jones, board-certified pediatrician, author of High Five Discipline: Positive Parenting for Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Kids