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 at the hospital? We’ve got everything you need to know about sucking the snot from your baby’s nose.
Our Top Nasal Aspirator Picks of 2018Read Full Reviews
What Is a Nasal Aspirator?
A nasal aspirator is a device that is used to suction mucus from a baby’s nasal passages. It’s 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.
3 Types of Nasal Aspirators
When choosing a nasal aspirator to help your baby breathe better, there are three main 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 and 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.
What Should I Look For?
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 a while, 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.
The Best Nasal Aspirators of 2018
I know, I know. It’s gross. The things we do for our kids, right?
Though pretty unpleasant for both you and your baby, using a nasal aspirator will go a long way to helping stuffy babies breathe easier.
Here are favorite brands currently on the market.
1. Nosiboo Pro Nasal Aspirator
Designed with the help of ENT specialists, this nasal aspirator has a unique design that is both functional and fun. Babies will be gladly distracted by the large, round ball and moms will love how easy it is to clean.
In fact, the patented head is the only part of the aspirator you need to clean. It disassembles easily and only needs to be washed under running water. You don’t have to worry about cleaning multiple pieces and getting into tiny nooks and crannies.
We also really like the control you have over the suction power. It has multiple settings to meet your child’s age and the thickness of mucus. Scientists worked to ensure the highest level of suction would not be too high for your baby’s sensitive nose.
This aspirator helps moms distract their child during what is mostly a stressful time while simplifying the cleaning process.
- Patented design makes clean up easy and quick.
- Full control over suction power with multiple settings.
- Fun ball shape helps distract and entertain baby.
- The noise of the machine is a bit loud and may be startling.
2. Little Martins Battery Operated Aspirator
This whisper-quiet aspirator claims its motor is so silent that your baby will sleep right through it. It’s 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’s 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 sterilized 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’s portable.
- The silicone is BPA-free.
- There’s only one suction setting.
- You’ll need to replace the batteries occasionally.
3. NoseFrida The Snotsucker
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’t 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. What’s more, the NoseFrida is dishwasher safe, allowing you to clean it easily.
It’s also free of BPA and phthalate to keep potentially harmful chemicals away from both you and your baby.
- It’s 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’s one size fits all.
4. OCCObaby Baby Nasal Aspirator
Multiple tips and a compact size means this nasal aspirator will be a staple in your household for years to come. It’s a great investment for new moms and for moms of multiples.
Each set comes with three different tip sizes: a power suction tip for heavy mucus, a long reach tip for those hard to reach places, and a special gentle tip perfect for newborns. All the tips are made of medical-grade silicone and can be reused. This means you won’t have to worry about messy filters and replacement tips, or buying a new aspirator once your baby gets bigger.
The smaller, waterproof base fits easily into a diaper bag or purse, making it a great choice for when you’re on-the-go. We also like the dual operating options. It’s run by batteries, but if you’re caught without some, simply use the included oral suction tool.
- Multiple tip options means versatility and long-term use.
- Compact design fits into purses and diaper bags.
- Can be run with batteries or with oral suction.
- Suction power isn’t the strongest compared to electric aspirators.
5. BabySmile Nasal Aspirator
Instant mucus suction is the highlight of this nasal aspirator. It’s a great option for those moments when your little one just can’t sit still.
Plug in the power base and turn it on. Hold down the clip for a few seconds and place the soft silicone tip near your baby’s nose. It quickly sucks up even the thickest snot and mucus.
It has hospital-grade suction power to expedite the process. The extra strength is ideal for really sticky snot situations. Just be careful! Smaller babies may be sensitive to the high power, so start on a lower setting and work your way up to ensure they’re comfortable.
The thin cord makes it easy to use the suction tip at any angle. This means you can soothe and comfort your baby in a position they prefer. You can even hold your baby on your lap if they’re getting too squirmy.
- Hospital-grade suction power ensures instant mucus suction.
- Use at any angle to ensure baby’s comfort.
- Entire kit is small and compact.
- Power base isn’t super portable.
- Includes multiple parts to clean.
6. BoogieBulb Cleanable Baby Aspirator
The BoogieBulb takes the tried-and-true classic bulb syringe and improves on 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, is made of hospital-grade latex and is clinically proven to prevent the build-up or transfer of germs.
What’s even better is that all 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 dishwasher safe.
- There’s 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.
7. BabyBubz Baby Booger Remover
Best Budget Nasal Aspirator
Because you use your breath to power this aspirator, it has the potential to be stronger than others — but also gentler as you’re 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.
Furthermore, unlike other aspirators, it doesn’t get inserted deep into the nostril, facilitating increased comfort for a baby whose nasal passages and sinuses are inflamed or infected.
- You’re in control of the suction level.
- Clear design allows you to see the effectiveness of suctioning.
- There are no disposable filters to purchase.
- It doesn’t go deep into the nasal cavity for improved comfort.
- There are lots of parts to wash and dry.
- It’s one size fits all.
8. Bubzi Co Baby Nasal Aspirator
A number of features help to make this nasal aspirator perfect for treating sinus infections. Two stand out in particular.
First, it has a smaller suction tip to fit comfortably in your baby’s little nose without causing extra irritation. Large tips not only stretch the skin, but they also poke at the inflamed area inside your baby’s nostrils. Best of all, the tip is made of hospital grade silicone, which is soft and BPA-free.
Our second favorite feature is the unique mouth suction control. To use this nasal aspirator, place the tip at the base of your baby’s nostril and gently inhale through the mouthpiece to aspirate the mucus.
This feature allows you to control the strength of aspiration and ensure you baby is comfortable. Because your face will be closer to your child’s, you can also help them feel more relaxed. If your baby has constant sinus infections, this is a really effective option.
- Soft, hospital grade silicone tip prevents irritation.
- Mouth controlled suction helps baby stay comfortable.
- Easy to assemble and clean.
- Using the mouth suction has an ick factor and may take some time to get used to.
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’re 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’s inserted far enough for the outer edges of the nostril to touch it and create a seal.
- Press the button to activate suction.
- Release when finished; do not suction for more than a few seconds.
- Clean the filter or release the mucus according to 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.
Will it Hurt My Baby?
Most babies will fuss and cry when a nasal aspirator is used as it’s uncomfortable and may hurt a bit. But it is effective, and used properly and sparingly; 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’re using saline drops to thin 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.
My top pick is the Little Martins Nasal Aspirator. The exchangeable nozzle sizes mean your baby won’t outgrow it too quickly, and reviews found the suction strength to be very effective.
Plus, despite being electrical, it’s waterproof which makes it a breeze to clean.
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 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.