Most moms agree a snot sucker for babies is one of the must-haves. The reason it’s such a great item is that babies can’t blow their noses. An infant’s nostrils are super thin and can easily get blocked. This can be dangerous as they then struggle to breathe, not yet knowing they can breathe by opening their mouths. Also, when babies are feeding, they breathe through their noses, so blockages interfere with a feed. This is where a snot-sucking device comes to the rescue.
How do snot suckers work?
There are different types, such as nasal aspirators and baby bulb syringes. They all use the same basic technique; it’s mostly the sucking method that varies.
The tip is usually made of soft rubber, and this is gently inserted into the nostril. Suction is then applied to extract the snot from the baby’s nose. The most effective way to use any of the aspirators is to first spray a saline solution (you can use a spray or drops) into the baby’s nose, then wait 30 seconds to 1 minute before using the aspirator. This helps loosen some more stubborn boogers, making the snot a little runnier and easier to suck out.
The suction is important as it’s the only way to effectively remove the mucus from a young baby’s nose. The nasal aspirator can’t really hurt an infant but can cause irritation in the nasal passages if used too often. This is why it’s recommended to use no more than 3-4 times a day.
Here are a few of the most popular nasal aspirators and how they work.
1. Suction bulbs
This is the more traditional nasal aspirator. Some hospitals add them to the baby bag they send home with you, so you might have received one like this already. There are many different brands available, and they are the cheapest option available on the market. They have very gentle suction action as to not hurt the baby.
Safety 1st Nasal Aspirator
This aspirator from Safety 1st is a suction bulb and costs around $2. It has a long soft tip, so it won’t hurt the child.
It’s specifically designed for younger babies. What I love about this one is that it can be washed in the dishwasher. Just remember to first wipe the boogers off.
This video shows you how to use and clean the suction bulb.
Innovo Twister Bulb
The Innovo Twister Bulb is made of medical-grade silicone, so it’s softer than many other suction bulbs. This softness and the gentle suction help extract the snot without hurting the baby.
It is translucent, which helps you see how much snot has been sucked out. The twister bulb gets its name from being able to twist open, making it easier to clean and dry properly than similar products with more traditional designs.
It can also be used to gently suck wax out of the ear, so you have a multi-functional device.
2. Manual nasal aspirators
The 2 most popular brands in this category are the Baby-Vac and the NoseFrida. They are similarly priced, costing around $17-$21.
Baby-Vac Baby Nasal Aspirator
This nasal aspirator is one that many moms have recommended to me. The main reason they cite is that the suction is much better compared to other aspirators as the device is connected to your vacuum cleaner.
I must point out that it doesn’t actually suck your baby’s nose with the force of your vacuum cleaner, which would be too forceful and unsafe. The device operates in such a way that the air moves through 3 chambers that regulate the suction to keep it at a safe level.
The tip is designed so that the point is thin to easily fit into the nasal passage but then becomes wider to prevent insertion too far up. The Baby-Vac parts twist open for easy cleaning. So, if you’re struggling with stubborn snot that defies other nasal aspirators, this one could be just what you need.
NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator
The NoseFrida nasal aspirator was the other nose cleaner for babies that came highly recommended by fellow moms. While the concept of this snot sucker might gross you out at first, I promise it really isn’t gross.
This is how it works. You hold the tip of the blue nasal tube in the baby’s nostril. This is connected to a cap with a filter, a long tube, and a red mouthpiece. You then suck on it with your mouth to draw the snot out. The snot doesn’t come anywhere close to your mouth, so don’t worry about that. It only goes as far as the nasal tube, which is very far away from your mouth.
What I love about this one is that you can control the suction yourself. So, if the snot is runny and easy to remove, you only suck softly. If the snot is stubborn, you can just suck harder. I found this to be very useful.
The tip of the nasal tube is a bit thicker than in other nasal aspirators I’ve tried as it creates a seal with the baby’s nose. This adds to the success of how well it sucks the snot out.
When you’re done, it is super easy to clean the aspirator. You throw the filter in the garbage, and the rest is easy to wash. The NoseFrida booger sucker can also be cleaned in the dishwasher.
3. Electric nasal aspirators
Electric nasal aspirators are battery-powered and range in price from $15 to around $45. An electric nasal aspirator comes with a removable tip, which makes it easier to clean as the device itself can’t be submerged in water. These can also be used with 1 hand.
Here are some of the popular choices.
Ravifun Electric Nose Sucker
The Ravifun Electric Nose Sucker comes with 2 different sized reusable silicone tips. The gourd-shaped tip is for newborns to 2-year-olds, and the funnel-shaped tip is for kids aged 2-8.
This nose sucker is rechargeable and comes with a USB cable. It has 5 suction levels, so you can set the suction to the level you require.
Braun Nasal Aspirator
This battery-operated aspirator from Braun features 2 suction settings and 2 nasal tips of different sizes.
The tips twist off easily for cleaning, plus the aspirator is dishwasher-safe. The 2 suction settings have their own buttons. What I like about this one is that the suction stops the moment you take your finger off the button.
It’s simple to use and to navigate the different suction levels.
Grownsy Electric Aspirator
The Grownsy Automatic Booger Sucker for Baby has 3 suction levels: weak, moderate, and strong. The package comes with 3 reusable nasal suction tips of different sizes and shapes.
It’s also rechargeable, so there is no need to change batteries. The aspirator has an LCD display that helps you navigate the different suction levels and shows you the battery power level.
This little device shines an ambient light that changes color and also plays soothing music to help distract and calm your baby when cleaning their nose. It makes a very soft suction noise, so your baby won’t be startled when you switch it on.
The music it plays is also a little louder than the suction sound, so the baby shouldn’t notice it easily.
My own experience with nasal aspirators
As a mom of 3, I’ve had my fair share of snot to deal with. I love things that are practical, work well, and are easy to clean. The less fuss, the better. I don’t need all the bells and whistles that others might love. That being said, my favorites will probably differ from yours. Also, please know that most children really don’t like their noses being suctioned, so you are most likely going to have a squirming, wriggling baby on your hands when you engage in this procedure.
The suction bulbs work, but not as well as I would like them to. I found that they worked fine with a more runny nose, but didn’t make much of a difference with heavily blocked noses. I also found them more difficult to clean. This was the only aspirator type we used with our first baby.
With my second child, we needed one that worked better very soon in her life. Her brother welcomed her home with a full-on sneeze in the face. Little did we know that his runny nose would mean a week on oxygen in hospital for his new sister. So, there was our 6-week-old in hospital for a blocked nose. Remember, newborns’ nostrils are super small, so our baby girl couldn’t breathe or feed properly. This was when I needed the Baby-Vac or the NoseFrida snot sucker.
The Baby-Vac aspirator worked well, but as I prefer a practical and easy-to-use approach, having to drag out the vacuum cleaner at 2 in the morning was too much for me. The pediatric physiotherapist treating our daughter in hospital then suggested the NoseFrida nasal aspirator for home use. This one changed our lives.
This simple device works extremely well, and although I’ve tried many different electric aspirators since then, the NoseFrida remains my personal favorite. It gets the job done really well.