Choose the right tool.
Try a rubber suction-bulb syringe with a long, pointed tip, or use a more powerful battery-operated aspirator. Or check out the NoseFrida, a product with which you literally suck out the snot through a tube. (There's a valve so you don't get mucus in your mouth.)
Pin his arms.
This is the best strategy for a baby who won't stay still. 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. Yes, it feels (and looks) awful, but try to focus on how much better he'll feel once he can breathe.
Moisten the mucus.
Okay -- you're almost ready to tackle the actual job of suctioning. But first, put a few drops of saline solution in each nostril. Your baby will probably find the sensation of having liquid in his nose to be a little bit jarring. It doesn't hurt him at all, though.
Seal one nostril.
If you're using a bulb aspirator, squeeze the air out of the bulb, place it at the tip of the open nostril, and let go. (Point the tip toward the outer portion of the nostril, to prevent nosebleeds.) Expel the mucus into a tissue. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the other nostril.
Originally published in Parents magazine.
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