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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:

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  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.
  5. Use a soft rubber bulb no more than 5 or 6 times a day to remove mucus.

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 10, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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