Bulb Suctioning

Why Bulb Suction?

Most congestion and stuffy noses are caused by mucous in the back of the noxe and the child’s lack of being able to blow his/her nose. Using only a bulb syringe to suction the nose will not remove these secretions completely. Saline (saltwater) nose drops will help thin the mucous and make bulb suctioning more effective.

Normal saline nose drops can be purchased over-the-counter (without a prescription) or can be made at home (see recipe below). Avoid using nose drops that contain medication unless prescribed by your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Recipe for Homemade Normal Saline Nose Drops

  • Boil one cup of water.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of un iodized salt and stir until salt is dissolved.
  • Let mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Store saline in a sealed container and make fresh saline every 2 days.

How to Bulb Suction

  1. Squeeze about 10 drops of normal saline in each nostril and wait about 5-10 seconds.
  2. Squeeze bulb with thumb completely before placing the bulb inside the baby’s nose.
  3. Place the tip of the bulb syringe down the baby’s nasal passage as far as it will go.
  4. Block off or close the other nostril with a finger from your other hand.
  5. Release your thumb from bulb syringe while keeping the bulb down the baby’s nose, allowing the bulb to suction the mucous from the baby’s nose.
  6. Repeat saline and suctioning on the other nostril.
  7. After suctioning the baby’s nose, suction the mucous from the inside of the baby’s mouth and throat allowing baby to cough up mucous.
  8. Suction every 2-3 hours and before feeding, naptime and as necessary when baby is congested and/or has a runny nose.

Common Mistakes

  • Suctioning the nose without using nose drops.
  • Not using enough saline.
  • Not repeating procedure until nose is clear.

Cleaning the Bulb Syringe

  1. Run warm soapy water in clean sink and suction the soapy water into the bulb, shake well and squeeze the water back out.
  2. Repeat this procedure 4-5 times.
  3. After washing the inside of the bulb as above, repeat the same procedure with clean water to rinse.
  4. Allow the bulb to air dry after squeezing all the water from it.
  5. The bulb should be washed daily.

** IMPORTANT ** Each bulb should be used on only one child. Do NOT use the same bulb on other children!