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“How do I get my baby to let me clean his nose without crying??”
I asked myself this over and over when my baby had his first cold. Honestly, our first baby cold was hard on ALL of us.
My poor baby had a fever, his nose was super stuffy and he couldn’t breathe at all. He kept looking at me with his big, sad brown eyes, asking me to make it better. It broke my heart. Although I knew cleaning the mucus and boogers out of his nose would help him to breathe and sleep better (and prevent additional infections), this is not as easy as it sounds.
Every time I tried to clean out his nose, it was SO. MUCH. WORSE! He twisted his head from side to side, trying to avoid the nose sucker at all costs. The instant I brought our nasal aspirator up to his nose, he would cry hysterically and it sounded like I was torturing him. And then to make things even worse, he pushed me away with his arms and I had to hold them down, while also holding his head still. I’m not a fan or restraining my baby and this was not working for me.
I experimented with several things and changed up our routine to find exactly what works to stop my baby from crying when I clean his nose. Keep reading to learn how you can get your baby to stop crying every time you try to clean her nose too!
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1 – Lay your baby on her back and start playing together.
My primary goal was to make cleaning my baby’s nose more fun and more comfortable for both of us. So we focus on playing and having fun every time it is time to clean my baby’s nose.
Put your baby on the floor on her 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 she feels comfortable and relaxed before you start to clean her 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 in several places.
After playing for a couple of minutes, start to touch different spots on your baby’s face. We like to touch each spot and say, “boop!” Then we giggle and laugh before we touch the next spot.
This is helping to make your baby more comfortable and relaxed when you touch different spots on his face. You’re making it a silly game and teaching your baby that this 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 the nasal aspirator. I liked to mix it up and do a little of both. I recommend gently touching your baby’s face 3-6 times. We usually boop his chin, cheeks, nose, and cute little forehead.
3 – Quickly use the nose suction on your baby’s nostril and then play again.
After you’ve “
Continue to sing, laugh, and gently touch her face a few times and then sneak in another quick cleaning until both nostrils are cleared.
Because it 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 doing it before we were back to singing and playing together. Which meant that he finally stopped crying when I cleaned his nose!
This works with both the bulb style and the suction style.
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, I love
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.
4 – Let your baby touch her nose aspirator.
Throughout this process, I also always let my baby hold our nose sucker.
Letting your baby play with this 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 she can’t touch. Instead, she can look at it for a minute before you start. Or touch and play with it during the middle or end of cleaning out her nose.
Any time my baby starts to look anxious during this process, I let him hold his nose sucker for a second. This instantly calms him down because he’s able to investigate and satisfy his curiosity. Plus, it has the benefit of building in a little break for his nose before you continue the process.
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 him that he did a great job and he is so brave! This positive reinforcement rewards him for doing a great job. And it guarantees that the ending of this process is as fun and comforting for him as all of the other steps.
Bonus Tip: Recruit Help
If your spouse 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, and sing with him 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 bop 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 even more relaxing and fun for him.
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. You don’t have to dread the piercing cries while cleaning your baby’s nose. Instead, you can play and laugh and clean her nose without any extra stress for either of you!
Does your baby hate to have her nose cleaned? What tips help make this easier for your family?
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