Considering your other duties as a parent, cleaning your baby’s nose isn’t all that bad. Here’s how to get it right the first time.
In a recent interview with Refinery29, Chrissy Teigen said she quickly developed the motherly instinct to always clean out her baby’s nose with her pinkie.
“I try to be as gentle as possible, but once I see it, I can’t go to bed knowing it’s in there,” she says. “I need to get it out.”
For those of us with less enthusiasm, cleaning baby’s boogers can be anything from a mild nuisance to the start of an all-out meltdown. If you’re having trouble keeping your little one’s nose clean, here are a few ways to make things easier.
1. Ditch the nasal bulb for something more effective.
Both products, along with the Bubzi Co. nasal aspirator, work much better and faster because they rely on you sucking the boogers out of your baby’s nose.
It’s not as gross as it sounds, and once you get used to the NoseFrida, you’ll never go back to anything else. It’s the top-selling aspirator product on the market for a reason: it’s easy, simple to clean and works wonders on the most congested babies.
“Dry boogers won’t come out easily, but applying 1-3 drops of saline solution to one nostril at a time loosens the mucus enough to use an aspirator to suck it out with,” says Ruth Elliot at Go Mommy Go.
You can also use a warm baby wipe or washcloth to remove visible boogers and mucus in and around your baby’s nostrils.
2. Get in position.
Small babies can be wrapped or swaddled to keep arms and legs from flailing, and larger babies can be pinned down to keep their heads straight and toward you.
“This is the best strategy for a baby who won’t stay still,” writes Michelle Crouch for Parents Magazine. “If you’re alone, try laying your baby on the floor, straddling him, and using your knees and thighs to keep his arms at his sides.”
If your baby has a lot of wiggle room, it can be more difficult to get saline drops down and to keep an aspirator in place. The more you can safely keep your little one on lockdown for a few seconds, the better.
3. Explain what’s going on.
“Narrating what you are doing to your child while you are doing it can sound pretty crazy to someone listening to you,” says Babble’s Dana Suskind. “But in addition to increasing vocabulary, narration shows the relationship between a sound (a word), and the act or thing it pertains to.”
Every interaction with your baby is an opportunity for learning, even something as mundane as cleaning her nose. To make the most of it, point to the items you’re using and clearly spell out what you’re going to do.
It may seem unhelpful in the moment, but getting in the habit of narrating the world around your baby can help her vocabulary and comprehension abilities in the long run, and it can also build trust as your baby becomes more familiar with your routines.
4. Suck away.
With the NoseFrida, it’s easy to see just how much mucus you’ve collected, unlike the traditional nasal bulb. The aspirator’s replaceable filters keep everything inside the main tube, which means you can inhale as much as you want without swallowing a baby-snot rocket.
The NoseFrida and similar products are also designed to not go too deep into your baby’s nostrils, preventing nosebleeds and further irritation. If you do have to use a bulb or something similar, avoid digging into your baby’s nose too deep.
5. Consider a vaporizer for long-term issues.
If your baby is constantly waking up with boogers and mucus, using a warm-air vaporizer can make for cleaner, less dry air that can help keep your baby’s breathing passages nice and open.
“Dry air causes the mucus that lines the breathing passages to thicken and accumulates into globs,” says Dr. Williams Sears. “Eventually, these globs grow too thick to be coughed up; they get stuck in the airways and result in an infection.”
The warm steam can pose a burn risk, says Dr. Sears, so be sure to keep it out of your baby’s reach.