The Essential Baby Item You Don’t See on “The Lists”

There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you about.

I haven’t been able to figure out how to work it into a post, because it’s a little unusual. You might think it’s weird. But I’ve found that when you’re among friends, the best thing to do is to just come out and say it.

I have a baby item that I consider essential, a true “must-have,” but you never see it on those “Top 10 Must-Have Baby Gear” lists.

I’m sure one of the reasons that it never makes it to those lists is because if the person even knew what it was, they wouldn’t know what to call it. Snot sucker? Nose hose?

It’s a nasal aspirator, and it works much better than those bulb syringes that you have to poke into your baby’s nose over and over again.

You gently place the tip against your baby’s nose, and suction clears out your baby’s congestion.

This one I have was given to me by a family member who lives in Europe, where these are much more common, and this particular style hooks up to the vacuum cleaner like an attachment. I am not even kidding. Fortunately, the design keeps you from feeling the full force of the vacuum.

Another style that you can buy is a Nosefrida.

I’m not sure how we survived without it for my first child, but I remember there were a lot of tears, fussing and some prescription decongestant.

With my second child, when he became sick recently, it was easy to use this to relieve him of his congestion so that he could sleep and eat in peace.

I highly recommend it.

Can anyone else testify to the amazing wonder of this product?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Ahhhh, I believe this is known as the Swedish Snot Sucker in less polite circles. Never used it on our daughter, but have a friend whose toddler was so attached to the thing he had it close at hand at bedtime.

    Tepary´s last post…Knit Power and Hello, Cupcake Book Giveaway

  2. And I thought you were going to say “kitchen sink!”

    That is awesome. I have to know- did you try hooking it up to your vacuum? :)

    Mrs. Money´s last post…Who Handles Your Finances?

    • That’s the way mine works, but the NoseFrida style works without a vacuum, using manual suction.

  3. Seriously?! The vacuum cleaner?!! I had to read that twice before I got to the next part about the design lessening the force of the suction!

  4. I want to thank you for this post as my 4 month has been terribly sick this week and his coughing and congestion just breaks my heart. I plan on purchasing this item right away! And will do so through your site. Thanks again!!

    Tiffanie´s last post…Gettiing Organized With Bumps In The Road…

  5. I want one of these in case we have another baby. Because *WARNING GROSS CONFESSION FOLLOWS* I honestly at one point just chucked the bulb syringe-style snot sucker and just used my mouth over the baby’s nose, as they did in Old Ireland, according to my grandmother (I swear to goodness). It worked a lot better than the bulb syringe, which my babies always hated, and since I always ended up catching the baby’s cold ANYWAY, I didn’t care about being exposed to anything. And yes, I would spit afterwards.

    When I confessed about my snot-sucking solution to a friend of mine, she said, “Oh my gosh, that’s brilliant. I hate that bulb syringe. And I don’t give a rip about the germs, I just want my baby to be able to breathe.” I felt a lot better.

    But I definitely need a Nose Frida, so I can no longer have this secret snot sucking shame.

    • Wow, that confession is enough to make any parent-to-be run for the hills. The nosefrida uses hygiene filters to protect you from that.

      • And if i had known about a NoseFrida before I had kids, I would have been buying one! I did what I did out of the kind of desperation a mother with a miserable little baby has when said baby can’t breathe and the silly bulb syringe does nothing. Squat. Zippo.

        Then again, I have also caught vomit with my bare hands during my mothering career, so perhaps my “ick” standards are low? Or high?

        • Ditto on the catching porpoise hoark(puke). The best bulb syringes are the ones they give you from the hospital and ours work wonders! You have to sterilize them but it’s worth it. You just hold the oposite nostril closed and suck away. I usually angle it to one side of the nostril to make it feel less like I’m sucking out their brains.

          • Our hospital one finally disappeared (I think a disgruntled toddler threw it away) DH looked online and bought 4 or 5 of them from a medical supply place for around $15 total.

  6. Sandra Gonzales says:

    Everyone should remember that if they choose to purchase the snot sucker from Amazon, they should go through the Small Notebook to help Rachel and her family.

    Great suggestion!

  7. We have used the Nosefrida and while my son still put up a fight the whole unpleasant situation was over much faster than with a bulb syringe.

    I didn’t discover the Nosefrida until my son was over a year old but I think it would have worked better if we used it when he was younger from the beginning of his cold-after-cold phase.

    I was intimidated and worried that his snot was going to somehow end up in my mouth but after just saying what-the-heck and just going for it. It cleared my son’s nasal passages and he felt much better after he stopped screaming bloody murder :)

    I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has a child that has lots of sinus congestion.

  8. Oh Karen, what a story you tell! Maybe they should teach this great part of parenting to teenagers in high school so they think twice about premarital sex! I sure wish I had one of these devices when my kids were younger. Those bulb syringes really stink!

    Tina@RideOnToys´s last post…The Brum Pedal Car

  9. Wow! Why have I never heard of these things before? I have pretty much given up on the bulb nasal syringes because all they seem to accomplish is upsetting the baby. I am going to check out the nosefrida right now. Thanks for letting us in on the secret!

  10. I had used the bulb type before and both my kids (and I) hated it! I always thought it was too harsh. But I found another style of aspirator by hydraSense. I love it and want to spread the word…I actually just wrote about it on my own blog:
    You can also sign up at hydraSense to get a coupon for $8.00 off. Such a great product and it should be added to the essentials list!

  11. I recommend nose frida to all of my pregnant friends. It is a must have and you usually don’t know you need it until 4am when it sounds like your baby can’t breath. Best “must have” ever.

  12. This brings back memories. An OB nurse gave me one of these over 30 some years ago to take with me when our 2nd child and I were discharged to home. At that time I believe it was called a Dee Lee (spelling?) mucus trap. God only knows why she gave me one (except that I am a nurse). Anyway, it may have saved our son’s life.
    One late evening, husband away at work, our son was full of mucus and apparently aspirated on his formula, went blue, and stopped breathing. Thank God, I had that catheter, to suck out the mucus. Fortunately, he started breathing, color improved, and I began the mad dash to take both kids to the neighbors, so that the one neighbor could drive us to the emergency room.

  13. I have a NoseFrida and I am rather ambivalent about it. It is a good idea but it takes a lot of suction – more than poor lungs can provide, or so it feels. An older baby still thinks that it is a torture device, so it is pretty difficult to hold the baby, position the device, all while inhaling as if your life depended upon it.

    I was at the drug store recently and saw a battery operated aspirator. I think I’ll try that next time.

    Liz´s last post…Sprouting seeds

  14. Noreen, I’ve heard good things about the hydrasense too… amazingly, our little guy was never that sick that we needed to use anything like this when he was little.

  15. Thank you so much for this tip! My first baby is due 7 weeks from tomorrow and I’m starting to feel more and more overwhelmed at figuring out what we need and don’t need, and how we’ll manage to take care of this tiny little person. I’ll definitely add this to the list of things we need!

    Amy´s last post…Palm Sunday

  16. Hmmmmm…wonder if it will work on us big kids? All the storms we’ve been having has been wrecking havoc on my sinus! :)

    Sleepy Cat Hollow´s last post…Beautiful Blogger Award

  17. I just found out about these and after having two years of the snottiest baby/kid on the block–how I wish I had seen it earlier. Definitely getting one for the new bumpkin.

  18. I don’t have one of these, but anyone who has had a baby in the hospital with RSV certainly knows what it is. They used something very similar {hooked up to a vacuum} on my 6 month old when he was in for a week with RSV. Every 2 hours or more as needed. Poor little guy hated it, but it sure helped get the gunk out.

    Alisa´s last post…My week {and new ruffled fabric covered journals}

  19. Yes, the snot suckers are awesome!! I can’t believe it took us three months of using the bulb syringe before discovering the nosefrida. My guys are now 31 months and we still use it…I also recommend it to ALL parents whenever I get the chance. Most think it sounds pretty gross, but, once you try it, you’ll never go back!

  20. Ah the wonders of snot. Don’t forget new moms that sometimes a nap in the swing sitting up also keeps kiddo breathing easier. NOT for the mobile baby, just the tinys. Don’t forget an extra sucker for the daycare lady(ies). You don’t want to share.

  21. I didn’t have time to read all the comments. Has anyone had luck with one of these preventing or reducing the frequency of ear infections in children who are prone to them?

    Bren´s last post…Please Vote for Katey’s Poster!!!

    • I don’t know how old your child is, but I had chronic ear infections when I was little until I had an operation. Later on we discovered I’ve got a lactose (milk/dairy product) allergy and that was the cause of the ear infections.

      So, if your child gets chronic ear infections, it wouldn’t hurt to try cutting out dairy from his/her diet for a few months and see if it helps.

      • She is 14 months old and breastfed still. She seems to be taking after my oldest daughter who outgrew her ear infections when she turned 2 (she was breastfed until 2 1/2). The doctor just scared me with the last one and mentioned tubes. I would really rather not go that route. And then there is my middle daughter who is 3 and has only had one ear infection in her life. I am thinking it is just the way their ears are structured. Thanks for the advice!

        Bren´s last post…Please Vote for Katey’s Poster!!!

  22. I have never seen these in Australia. I have used the saline spray which clears the nose. The pack comes with a bulb one but they are fairly useless. The spray works very well though particularly when breast feeding.

  23. Wow, I’ve had three babies and never needed to suck snot out of noses. I must be lucky. There was one night when my first baby had a nose too blocked to breastfeed happily for a couple of feeds. But that’s it.

    I can imagine it must be very hard for bubs who are congested often.

  24. I swear by saline drops and an elevated mattress. I asked the pediatrician about the bulb syringe, he asked me how I would feel if someone sucked the snot out of my noes without asking, and I guess he has a point. Even if my #2 is too clogged to nurse, I give him some saline drops in the nose and within minutes he is clear enough to nurse. He does spit up snot to clear himself out which is gross so the snot sucker may help prevent that.

    • I don’t know, but I think it’s silly that your doctor said this, as babies can’t blow their noses like we can. So, if I couldn’t blow my nose, and I was plugged up, and someone put a bulb or tube nasal aspirator to my nose and *carefully* applied suction, then I guess I’d be startled, but grateful afterwards!

      But it is really great to hear this about this saline drops and elevated mattress. Hydrasense also makes seawater solutions in tubes, travel single-dose size and a larger bottle. Where do you get your saline drops (do they make them just for babies?), or do you make your own solution?

  25. I’ve never seen one of these before, but I think I’ve kind of done the same thing. Twice when my babies were sick my pediatrician sent me home with the smallest size feeding tube and a syringe. You insert the tube through the nose into the babies throat and suction all the mucous out. It freaked me out to do it at first, but it was seriously AMAZING. Helped my babies so much! Especially when my 9 month old had RSV. Got all that stuff out of her throat so she could sleep. I tell all my friends to ask for it now.

    Ashley´s last post…Word-Full Wednesday

  26. We use the vacuum kind and it is just great! My kids learnt how to use it on themselves. It travels well too, I only take the attachment part as there is a vacuum everywhere.

    The only thing you need to be careful of is the mucus getting into the vacuum. The household dust and the mucus can form a clog. Still, if it happens, you just clean your vacuum – like Rachel suggested before – to pump it back to life.

    Bren, this prevents ear infections as it clears the mucus from the sinus area. I believe that this is the best prevention method ever as you don’t need to give your baby any medication. Also, you can use it on the smallest of babies. To new mothers I suggest to try it on themselves. It may sound terrifying, but it’s really just a great tool.


  27. I have one of this. It is amazing! I use it from two years now and the number of ear infections dropped since then. But, be careful, don’t use it more than three times a day because it can irritate the nose.

  28. My husband and I are registering this weekend – I’ll have to think of this as we walk past those “booger bulbs”!

    Nicole´s last post…bliss list ~ march

  29. All infants are different, my first one we did not need one, for second one, we sure did.

    Zengirl: Happy Heart and Mind´s last post…101 changes: Change 2: Getting to e-mail Zen

  30. Courtney says:

    I’m another fortunate mom who never had to suck snot out of any of my three kids’ noses! We got the bulb syringe thing when our first was born but it ended up gathering dust in our medicine cabinet until I finally pitched it several years later.

  31. Wow, I’m always amazed by the tidbits I learn from other moms. Thanks so much for passing this along! It’s new to me, and I only wish I had found out about it one week earlier (when our runny noses were in full force). Have a wonderful Easter!

    Adele´s last post…This Moment

  32. I wish that I had known about this before now. My one year old HATES the bulb syringe. Maybe if I tried this he wouldn’t move his head away from me, or cover his nose, or arch his back and scream. And yes, I’ve also caught vomit in my hands ;-)

    Amanda G´s last post…Link Love | Easter

  33. oh wow — i work in pediatrics and that thing looks AMAZING! i always tell pts about the bulb syringe but cringe inwardly because i know how hard it actually is (and sometimes ineffective).

    thanks for sharing!!

    sarah (the SHU box)´s last post…a colorful surprise

  34. This was a very informative post, but Karen’s comment made me gag! Sometimes I think it’s a blessing NOT to have kids. Tee hee!

    Juice´s last post…Easter Amidst Cherry Blossoms And Guess What? No Homicide!