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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Baby Care: Bulb Syringe

A bulb syringe is used to remove, or suction, breastmilk, formula, or mucus from the baby’s nose and mouth. You may use it when your baby chokes, spits up, has a stuffy nose, or sneezes. We suggest you keep a bulb syringe close to the baby, especially during feedings, and use it when necessary. If you need to suction both the nose and the mouth, suction the mouth first.

To use, first squeeze the bulb until it is collapsed. Place it in one nostril or the inside of the cheek and quickly release the bulb. This will bring the formula or mucus into the bulb.

Remove the bulb syringe from the nose or mouth and squeeze the bulb quickly into a tissue to get rid of the mucus. Repeat for the other nostril (or cheek, if necessary).

After using, clean the bulb syringe with hot soapy water and rinse in hot water. Be sure to clean the inside of the syringe by squeezing the bulb while the tip is in the soapy water. Rinse by repeating the procedure with clean, hot water several times. Prop the clean bulb tip side down so the water will drain.

Saline Nose Drops
Your pediatrician may recommend the use of normal saline nose drops to clean the baby’s nose when he has a cold or congestion (stuffy nose).

To use, place 3 to 4 drops in one side of the baby’s nose (use medicine dropper) while the head is slightly tilted back. Suction with the bulb syringe. Repeat on the other side. Baby may cough, sneeze, and/or swallow part of the solution. This is normal.

Normal saline nose drops can be used whenever necessary. If your baby has a cold or congestion, be sure to use the nose drops before feedings. Check with your pediatrician for his specific instructions.