How to Find the Best Nasal Aspirator for Your Baby (2018 Reviews)
Moms have to deal with the grossest things, don’t they? Most people realize they’ll have to deal with diapers and spit-up, but they forget the third most common bodily fluid: snot.
Whether they’re sick, suffering from allergies, or have a runny nose due to teething, babies’ noses are always running. And to keep them comfortable (and happy), you’re going to have to do something to clear those nasal passages. That’s where nasal aspirators come in.
But which one is best? And how are they different than the free one you get in the hospital? We’ve got everything you need to know about sucking the snot from your baby’s nose.
Quick Comparison – Our Top 5 Picks
*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our in-depth baby nasal aspirator reviews below.
What Is a Nasal Aspirator?
A nasal aspirator is a device that is used to suction mucus from a baby’s nasal passages. It is used when a baby is congested to the point that it affects their ability to breathe, eat, and sleep.
As adults, we blow our noses when we are stuffed up. Since babies do not have that ability, their mucus must be removed another way.
What Types of Nasal Aspirators Are There?
When choosing a nasal aspirator to help your baby breathe better, there are several different designs on the market.
- Bulb Syringe: Also known as a “bulb aspirator,” this is the classic snot-sucking tool. Made of rubber with a large ball on one end with a narrow, tapered opening on the other, it looks (and works like) a large eye dropper or turkey basting tool. This is the lowest-tech option available.
- Electric Aspirator: These battery-powered gadgets are designed for ease. One end goes in the baby’s nose, mom presses a button, and the mucus is sucked out into the mechanism to clear baby’s nasal passages.
- Oral Suction Aspirator: These took the market by storm a few years ago. A tube goes in the baby’s nose, and the other end goes in the caregiver’s mouth, who then uses oral suction to get the boogers out. (Don’t worry, there’s a filter that prevents you from accidentally eating them.) Moms swear by these as a gentler and more efficient alternative to the bulb syringe or electric aspirators.
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How Do I Use a Nasal Aspirator?
Proper aspirator use will depend on the type of aspirator you use. You can increase the effectiveness of any method by using saline drops or a saline spray in your baby’s nose before suctioning it. The saline will help to thin and loosen the mucus, making it easier to remove.
How to Use a Bulb Syringe Aspirator
- Before putting the syringe in your baby’s nose, squeeze it to expel the air.
- While the bulb is still compressed, place the tapered tip into your baby’s nose, making sure it is inserted far enough that the outer edges of the nostril touch the end of the syringe and form a seal.
- Release the bulb to create a vacuum that will suck the mucus into the syringe.
- Remove the syringe and squeeze the bulb to expel the mucus into a tissue.
How to Use an Electric Aspirator
- Choose the desired suction level if your device has a variable level. If you are not sure what level to use, choose a lower level and increase the suction if necessary.
- Place the end into baby’s nose, ensuring it is inserted far enough for the outer edges of the nostril to touch it and create a seal.
- Depress the button to activate suction.
- Release when finished; do not suction for more than a few seconds.
- Clean the filter or release the mucus per your manufacturer’s instructions.
How to Use an Oral Suction Aspirator
- Place the “mouth” end into your lips.
- Place the nasal end into your baby’s nose, making sure a seal is created between the sides of the nostril and the tube.
- Gently suck in through your mouth to create a vacuum and expel the mucus.
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Will it Hurt My Baby?
Most babies will fuss and cry when a nasal aspirator is used as it is uncomfortable and may hurt a bit. But it is effective, and used properly and sparingly, using an aspirator will not harm your baby.
However, there are a few safety issues to keep in mind.
- When using a bulb syringe, always squeeze the air out BEFORE putting the end in your baby’s nose. Never squeeze air into the nasal cavity as it can cause damage and harm your baby.
- If you are using saline drops to aid in thinning the mucus, never use them for more than four days in a row as they can dry out the nasal passages and cause them to become inflamed. Also only use saline products that were created specifically for babies - not the adult versions.
- Do not use a nasal aspirator more than 2-3 times per day as it can irritate the lining of your baby’s nasal passages (source).
- Clean the nasal aspirator thoroughly after each use to prevent bacteria growth. Failure to do so can cause the bacteria to be transmitted to your baby upon its next use and result in illness or infection. For bulb syringes, soak in dish soap to loosen the mucus, run the soapy water through the syringe multiple times followed by clean water to rinse, and allow to dry completely. To sanitize, boil it in water for ten minutes. For oral suction or electronic aspirators, consult your manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning and sanitizing techniques.
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What Should I Look for in a Nasal Aspirator?
When purchasing a nasal aspirator, these are the things you should pay attention to:
Cleanliness: If you’re planning to use an aspirator more than once or twice, you need to make sure it can be thoroughly cleaned to prevent bacteria or mold growth. Make sure it can be disassembled to clean it, or that filters and tips are disposable to ensure proper hygiene.
Material: The parts of the aspirator that come into direct contact with bodily fluids should be made of a material that does not harbor bacteria or facilitate its growth. Solid-surface materials fit the bill but are not practical for this type of device. Silicone is the standard for flexible but sanitary medical devices.
Size of Nasal Tip: Babies grow rapidly, as do their nostrils. If you’re planning to use your aspirator for awhile, make sure you choose a device that either has interchangeable tips or can accommodate different sized nostrils. This will prevent you from having to purchase a new device as your baby grows.
Strength of Suction: Congestion varies, as does your baby’s pain tolerance. A level of suction that works for one baby may not work for another. You may want to consider a device that allows you to change the strength of the suction based on your needs.
Nasal Aspirator Reviews
Now that you know about the different kinds of aspirators, how to use them, and exactly what to look for --
Here are our top 5 picks in 2018:
Best Nasal Aspirator for Newborns
A baby’s introduction into the world is already harsh and traumatic - you want to do everything in your power to make sure that their interactions with you are safe and gentle. Keep both comfort and size in mind when choosing a nasal aspirator for your newborn to keep their tiny nasal passages clear while they’re still new and vulnerable.
The NoseFrida is the original oral suction powered aspirator. It allows you to gently control the level of suction with your mouth while keeping the “ick” factor minimal with a disposable filter, ensuring you can not accidentally inhale the baby's mucus during treatment.
The disposable filter also promotes hygiene as you can throw it away once it’s contaminated with bodily fluids and replace it with another clean, hygienic filter. Further, the NoseFrida is dishwasher safe allowing you to clean it easily.
It’s also BPA and phthalate free to keep potentially harmful chemicals away from both you and your baby.
- It is easy to clean.
- Disposable filters promote hygiene.
- You can control the strength of the suction.
- It is BPA and phthalate free.
- Some reviewers found the pieces disconnected during use.
- It is one size fits all.
Best Nasal Aspirator for Toddlers
Unlike babies, toddlers have definite opinions and significant muscular strength - along with larger nasal passages. When choosing an aspirator for your toddler, make sure to pick one that has an appropriately-sized tip for the nostril to ensure comfort and effectiveness. Bonus points if it’s cute enough to distract your toddler from the actual process of aspiration.
The one-handed operation of this device will allow you to hold your toddler who will likely try to wriggle away as you’re aspirating their nose. However, the sleek appearance and quietness of the motor will keep your little one from being scared or startled by the Noemie Baby Nasal Aspirator.
While it only comes with one default level of suction, reviewers overwhelmingly found this to be a useful tool for removing mucus and clearing the nasal passages. It comes with two tips - one for babies up to age 2, and a larger size that will fit older children and even adults. With this device, you likely won’t need to purchase a different tool as your child grows.
Sanitization is also possible as all parts that come into contact with mucus are removable and can withstand the process of sterilization.You won’t have to buy batteries as USB can charge this aspirator, and if you’re not happy with your purchase you’re in luck - they offer a 90-day money-back guarantee as well as a 12-month warranty.
- You can operate this one handed.
- There are different-sized tips included for a custom fit.
- You can sanitize the parts that come into contact with mucus.
- It is suitable for many ages - even adults.
- There is no variation on the suction strength.
- Some reviewers found it difficult to clean.
- You will need to purchase replacement filters.
Best Electric Nasal Aspirator for Babies
Sometimes you just want simplicity. You don’t want to be worried about accidentally squeezing air into your baby’s nasal cavity or having to wrangle them while using an oral suction device. Electric nasal aspirators do the job at the touch of a button - so all you have to do is hold your baby while the gadget does the hard work for you.
This whisper-quiet aspirator claims that its motor is so quiet that your baby will sleep right through it. It is battery operated, meaning it will be at the ready whenever you need to use it - no need to wait for it to charge up. It is also ideal for travel.
It has a waterproof construction around the electronic components, so if it comes in contact with heavy moisture while you’re cleaning it, it will be okay. And the parts of the device that come into contact with mucus can be removed and withstand boiling to sterilize them for future use, ensuring that it’s hygienic every time.
Finally, you only need one hand to operate this aspirator. With the simple push of a button, the suction is activated.
- This is easy to clean.
- Construction is waterproof so you can clean it effectively.
- It is portable.
- The silicone is BPA free.
- There is only one suction setting.
- You will need to replace the batteries occasionally.
Best Bulb Nasal Aspirator for Babies
Sure, you get a bulb syringe at the hospital - but there is no way to be sure the inside of it is clean. Because of this, they are practically disposable, and you’ll find yourself needing another one soon. If you want a bulb nasal aspirator, make sure you choose one that can be disassembled for easy cleaning and complete drying to prevent bacteria and mold growth.
The BoogieBulb takes the tried-and-true classic bulb syringe and improves upon it by making it completely cleanable. After you’ve suctioned your baby’s snot, you can open up the bulb to clean, dry, and sanitize it - it’s even dishwasher safe.
It comes in multiple sizes which can be purchased separately and is made of hospital-grade latex and clinically proven to prevent the build-up or transfer of germs.
What’s even better is that all of the sizes come with a lifetime warranty, so if you have any trouble with the product the company will stand behind it.
- The bulb can be opened to ensure proper cleaning and complete drying.
- It's is dishwasher safe.
- There is no need to purchase replacement filters.
- The design prevents bacteria and mold growth.
- There is no control over the level of suction.
- Some reviewers said it came apart during use.
- You need to purchase different sizes as your child grows.
Best Baby Nasal Aspirator for Sinus Infections
Most people don’t realize that babies’ sinus cavities are not fully developed until they are in their late teens (and not even detectable on x-rays until age 1-2) so sinus infections in babies are rare. However, babies do develop infections on occasion (source). If your baby is in pain and has an infection, gentleness matters. Choose an aspirator that will allow you to control the strength of the suction as you assess your baby’s pain level during the procedure.
Because you use your breath to power this aspirator, it has the potential to be stronger than others - but also gentler as you are in complete control.
With a collection cup that traps your baby’s snot without allowing it to travel back up through the tube to your mouth, germs are not transmitted from mom to baby during use.
There is no need to buy batteries or even replacement filters. The clear design allows you to see whether the suctioning is effective - or if more power is required to clear the sinus cavity.
Further, unlike other aspirators, it does not get inserted deep into the nostril, facilitating increased comfort for a baby whose nasal passages and sinuses are inflamed or infected.
- You are in control of the suction level.
- Clear design allows you to see the effectiveness of suctioning.
- There are no disposable filters to purchase.
- It does not go deep into the nasal cavity for improved comfort.
- There are lots of parts to wash and dry.
- It is one size fits all.
- It does not specify that it is dishwasher safe.
My Favorite Is...
My top pick is the Noemie Baby Nasal Aspirator. The multiple nasal tips make this appropriate for everyone in the family, but the silicone collection pieces ensure that it can be adequately sanitized between uses to prevent the spread of germs.
And while it only has one level of suction strength, reviewers overwhelmingly found it to be effective, and the transparent body allows you to see that it’s working.
Plus, who doesn’t love a baby gadget that’s high-tech? The USB plug practically guarantees that dad will be on board with this device, too.
Let’s face it - nobody enjoys causing their baby discomfort when using a nasal aspirator. But if you choose one that’s quick, efficient, and as gentle as possible, the brief, odd sensation will save them (and you) a lot of long-term discomfort from congestion.
Here’s hoping you find the perfect way to get your little one some relief.