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Monday, December 4, 2017

Can we talk baby snot for a minute and what is a baby nasal aspirator anyway?

crying baby with a cold

As I watched my baby squawk in misery, gasping and coughing, I realised that I have no life experience for dealing with somebody else’s cold. I realise that Netflix, a Vindaloo and a box of Sudafed isn’t going to cut it this time, and so I do it, I reach down and gently stick my pinky fingernail up my baby’s nose…. And then wonder what has become of the old me. I didn’t know about baby nasal aspirators. And why not? You know when you’re in those birthing classes and they’re showing you a ping pong ball and telling you this is how big your baby is this week… it all seems so nice and neat. There’s a ping pong ball bouncing about in me somewhere that will someday be a baby. How lovely. 

What they don’t tell you is that someday rather soon, you’ll be lying on the nursery floor at three in the morning using your pinky nail to try to scoop snot out of someone else’s nose. That doesn’t warrant a mention. The thing you learn in your first year of being a mum is that pre-natal classes are as useful to you now as all that algebra you worked your guts out to master in grade 11. 

So there I am, 3am terrified that I’m going to stab my tiny baby through the brain with my pinky fingernail.

Baby Nasal Aspirators for those reading along at home

Baby Nasal Aspirators.  Lordy.  They’re one of those things that childless people go their whole lives not knowing about.  Nasal Aspirators are machines that literally suck the snot out of your baby.  The old school ones are little puffers that you stick up the baby’s nose and then “release” and the snot gets sucked right out and into a rubber bubble, which you then have a horrible time attempting to clean. 

The modern day baby nasal aspirator looks more like a baby thermometer and can be used right up until your child is ready for school.  They’re about $70, battery operated and work at the touch of a button.  They reach deeper into the baby’s nasal passages and can relieve pressure on sore little ears.  They are waterproof so it’s easy to clean the discarded snot from the collection cup.  It’s all very simple, civilised and not gross.  Let’s face it.  A day where something is not gross is a win in early motherhood.

Baby nasal asporator

Fun facts about baby snot

  • Snot is baby’s way of flushing viruses out of her body! It’s mostly water but that doesn’t make it any less gross. 
  • Using a baby nasal aspirator is the best way to stop germs spreading to siblings as it reduces the amount of snot escaping the baby. Escaped snot is how colds spread. 
  • Green snot is no less infectious than clear snot. It’s all equally germy and gross. 
  • Every baby sneeze can spread 100,000 germs around the room! 
  • Babies can’t “blow” so the snot accumulates in their nasal passages, leading to ear aches and trickles down the back of their throats, making them even more miserable than a grown man with a cold. 
  • Kids under four have an average of 8-12 colds per year. TWELVE. These are mostly in autumn, spring and winter, so if it feels like your bubba has been sick constantly, she has. It makes that $70 baby nasal aspirator sound like a bargain though, right?

So there you have it, everything you ever needed to know (and probably more than you wanted to know) about baby snot and the various methods of removal. As someone who’s been there, I do not recommend the pinky fingernail method. Nobody likes that method. Not you. Not the baby. There’s so many colds ahead of you and your little one, bite the bullet and buy a proper baby nasal aspirator and hang it with pride next to your new ear thermometer and all the other things you never knew you needed until now.

This is a guest post by Laura Klein, mother to three little humans and resident snot expert at

Would you like to comment?

  1. Yes the nasal aspirator sounds like a much better option for all involved lol.

    Di from Max The Unicorn

    1. Definitely! The less bodily fluids I have to actually touch the better :)

  2. What a great idea! I used the puffer style when my son was a bub but I would have much preferred something less gross like this. I remember someone once telling me they had a type that you actually suck the snot out, like you put your mouth on the other end and suck! I was rather grossed out but she was ecstatic when I told her about the puffer ones!

    1. I had a friend who used the sucking one. I don't know how she did it, just the thought of it makes me feel sick! I much prefer these ones. Sucking snot down a tube is not something I ever want to do. Sorry kids I don't love you THAT much ;)

  3. OH gosh, I remember the pain of trying to breastfeed a baby that had a blocked nose! I used to have the puffer snot sucker too. It is a bit gross lol

    1. Yes I've experienced this so much this time around. It's so hard watching her struggle to breathe while she's trying to feed, breaks my heart.