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Rubber Bulbs

Topic Overview

A rubber (aspirating) bulb can be used to remove mucus from a baby's nose or mouth when a cold or allergies make it hard for the baby to eat or sleep. It is best to use the rubber bulb to clean the baby's nose before feedings and before the baby goes to sleep.

To use a rubber bulb correctly:

  1. Position the baby with his or her head tilted slightly back.
  2. Squeeze the round base of the bulb with your thumb.
  3. Gently insert the tip of the bulb tightly inside the baby's nose.
  4. Release the bulb to remove (suction) mucus from the nose.

Put a few saline nose drops in each side of the baby's nose before suctioning to help break up the mucus. Suctioning too frequently can make the congestion worse and can also cause the lining of the nose to swell or bleed.

After using the bulb, wash it in warm, soapy water. Rinse well and squeeze to remove any water.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
David Messenger, MD
Last Revised August 21, 2013

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