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Why I Hate the Nose Bulb Syringe

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I know that the nose bulb syringe – also known as the nose bulb aspirator – is one of the first things a pediatrician will urge parents to use on babies who are having a hard time breathing through their noses because of a cold or other illness. Lord knows my babies’ pediatricians always asked me “Do you need a nose bulb for home?” after an appointment and I assured them that yes, I had several.

Yes, I indeed had an assortment of nose bulbs at home, but I only used them when I really had to. Why? There are a few reasons:

  1. My babies hated that thing. Whenever they saw me coming at them with it they started screaming and trying to get away. What’s worse…a baby with a stuffy nose, or a baby with a slightly less stuffy nose who is really, really angry?
  2. I never seemed to use it right. Sure, there were times when I would grasp a really impressive booger out of one of my babies’ noses, but for the most part it didn’t seem to bring any real relief to either of them.
  3. It’s gross. Okay, I’m used to gross things. I’m a mom. I’ve had pee and poop and puke on me, probably all at once on more than one occasion. Sucking boogers out of a baby’s nose? Ew.
  4. I was afraid I was going to hurt my babies. There is just something about approaching a squirming, angry baby with something you want to shove up into the nose. I was always afraid I was going to scratch the inside of their nostrils or something.

One time I took my son into the emergency room because he was having trouble breathing. The nurse whipped out a nose syringe that was attached to a vacuum in the wall, and that thing sucked every last drip out of his nose. He was too stunned to get mad, and it was awfully intriguing to watch all the stuff shoot out his nose through the tube and into the wall. Maybe if I had one of those in the house I wouldn’t mind it so much.


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