Raise your hand if you just can’t wait until baby cold and flu season?
I’m with you. Baby colds are the worst!
Your baby can’t breathe, has difficulties nursing, and usually sleeps horribly.
And even though you know you can help your baby by unstuffing their nose, it’s soooooo challenging when your baby screams and cries and thrashes around the second you whip out the nasal aspirator or Kleenex box.
We went through a period where it seemed like my baby was sick every other week, so I experimented with every hack I could find. Finally I figured out how to help my baby blow his nose in a supportive, stress-free way that he actually looked forward to and I want to share these tips with you too!
The best way to create a stress-free way to help your baby blow their nose without crying is to make it as fun and easy as possible. Play first to help your baby feel connected and relaxed. Then touch your baby’s face with the tissue or aspirator so it doesn’t seem so scary. After that you can quickly blow your baby’s nose and then give lots of hugs and praise so the entire nose blowing process is as positive as possible.
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👶 How to Tell if Your Baby's Nose is Stuffed 👃 Tips to Unstuff a Baby's Nose 🤗 Play First 🥰 Touch Your Baby's Face 😏 Let Your Baby Touch the Nasal Aspirator or Kleenex 🤧 Quickly Blow Your Baby's Nose 🤗 Hug and Praise Your Baby 🙏 Bonus Tip: Recruit Help 💭 Final Thoughts
How to Tell if Your Baby’s Nose is Stuffed
Did you know that the average baby gets 8-10 colds per year? Surprising, right?
It doesn’t matter if you wash your hands so many times they’re raw or follow the strictest quarantine, odds are your baby is going to get sick at some point.
Since babies typically aren’t the biggest fans of blowing their nose or using nasal aspirators to clear up those pesky boogies, it’s helpful to have a quick reminder of the signs your baby is sick and stuffy.
Usually if your baby is stuffed up, they’ll have some of these symptoms:
- Runny Nose
- Discolored nasal mucus (in particular green or yellow)
- Thick nasal mucus
- Interrupted sleep with more night wakings
- Difficulty eating or nursing, including a nursing strike or bottle refusal (especially after drinking a sip or two then then refusing the rest of the feeding)
Tips to Unstuff Your Baby’s Nose without Crying
If you head to Amazon’s search bar and type in “blow baby’s nose,” you’ll get over 2,000 results, which clearly shows how desperate we are for ways to make this easier.
But here’s the good news:
The fancy tools enticing you to slap the buy now button and upgrade to overnight shipping aren’t as important as the approach you take with your baby.
When your baby does get a stuffy nose and lots of congestion, use these 5 tips to clear up your baby’s congestion with more giggles and less pinning baby down.
1. Play First
Before blowing your baby’s nose, always lay your baby on their back and start playing together.
The key to making it easier to blow your baby’s nose is to focus on playing and having fun every time it is time to clean you baby’s nose.
Trust me, if you can help your baby have fun and stay more comfortable, the entire process is going to be so much better.
Put your baby on the floor on their back and play for a few minutes.
We love singing songs, playing peek a boo, and talking together while I sneak in a few kisses.
Your primary goal is to set a calming and enjoyable environment for your baby.
This means that they feels comfortable and relaxed before you start to clean their nose instead of stressed and anxious.
Plus it’s a great way to squeeze in more bonding time with your baby. 🥰
2. Touch Your Baby’s Face
Touch your baby’s face in several places before trying to use the nasal aspirator or Kleenex.
After playing for a couple of minutes, start to touch different spots on your baby’s face.
We like to gently touch his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, cheeks, and chin and say, “boop” each time we move to the next spot.
This works like a charm because it helps your baby feel more comfortable and relaxed when you touch different spots on their face.
You’re making it a silly game and teaching your baby that blowing their nose is fun.
Adding this step made a huge difference for us and was a game changer for helping my baby to stop crying when I cleaned his nose.
You can either touch your baby’s face with your finger or with your favorite nasal aspirator.
I liked to mix it up and do a little of both.
I start with my finger and then boop him with the nasal aspirator so he gets used to this and thinks this is fun too.
3. Let Your Baby Touch the Nasal Aspirator or Kleenex
Letting your baby play with the nasal aspirator or Kleenex for a little bit allows your baby to see it, touch it, and feel more comfortable with it.
It’s not a scary taboo item that they can’t touch.
Instead, they can look at it for a minute before you start. Or touch and play with it during the middle or end of cleaning out their nose.
So, I also always let my baby hold our nose sucker when he’s sick before we get started.
And any time my baby starts to look anxious during this process, I let him hold his nose sucker again for a second.
This instantly calms him down because he’s able to investigate and satisfy his curiosity while we take a quick break.
4. Quickly Blow Your Baby’s Nose
After you’ve “booped” your baby’s face a few times and let your baby play with the tools you’re using, quickly use the nasal aspirator on one nostril.
This should take 1-2 seconds at most.
Then go back to playing and touching different parts of your baby’s face.
Continue to sing, laugh, and gently touch their face a few times and then sneak in another quick cleaning until both nostrils are cleared.
Because this approach to blowing your baby's nose is so quick and it’s snuck between play time, I noticed that my baby stopped being upset by it. He hardly knew that I was blowing his nose before we were back to singing and playing together.
Which meant that he finally stopped crying when I cleaned his nose!
This method of blowing your baby’s nose works with both the bulb style and the suction style of nasal aspirators.
This is the bulb style that I use. I think it’s amazing because you can take it apart to clean it out between uses instead of letting germs build up inside.
I’ve found this works the best when I want to get boogers out of my baby’s nose.
On the other hand, I love these suction aspirators when my baby is congested.
It is shocking how much mucus builds up in your baby’s nose when they have a cold.
Every time I use the Nose Frida Nasal Aspirator, I’m genuinely shocked, a little disgusted, and amazed at how much we get out. Because it works so well, this is my go-to tool when he has a cold so I can clean out his nose and help him to breathe better.
Pro-Tip: It is very important that you are gentle with your baby while using any nasal aspirators. Do not insert the tip too far into your baby’s nose. Also, don’t use nasal aspirators too often as this can irritate the lining of her nose. I shoot for a maximum of 2-3 times per day.
5. Hug and Praise Your Baby
Woohoo!! You did it! And you finally cleaned your baby’s nose without crying or needing to hold down his arms!!
To end this process, make sure to hug and praise your baby.
Tell them that they did a great job being patient and they are so brave.
This positive reinforcement rewards your baby for doing a great job.
It also guarantees that the ending of this process is as fun and comforting for them as all of the other steps.
Bonus Tip: Recruit Help
If your partner is home or you have other children, recruit them to help you turn cleaning baby’s nose into a game.
Encourage your helper to sit near your baby’s face and read, talk, play with their favorite baby lovey, or sing together throughout the entire process.
This is a great distraction that is fun for your baby and great bonding for the two of them.
This person can also continue to play with and distract your baby while tapping different parts of your baby’s face, head, and upper body while you use the nasal aspirator.
We’ve found that this is the perfect way to keep our baby distracted and make cleaning boogers our of our baby’s nose much more relaxing and fun for him.
Babies get sick. But cleaning your baby’s nose doesn’t have to be stressful.
Although this process takes a little longer than just using the nose sucker and quickly cleaning out your baby’s nose, it is much more enjoyable and less stressful.
By turning it into a fun game and time to bond together, you’re creating a safe and relaxing environment for your baby.
This means that you no longer need to force down your baby’s arms or try to hold your baby’s head still. And you don’t have to dread the piercing cries while cleaning your baby’s nose.
Instead, you can play and laugh and clean their nose without any extra stress for either of you!
💬 Does your baby hate to have their nose cleaned too? What tips help make this easier for your family?