Have you ever wiped a child’s nose? I always have the best intentions when I approach a runny nose. I carefully twist the tissue into a point, which I use to lightly – and gently – dab under Jebecca’s nose. But within seconds, she acts like I’m using sandpaper. Why is there so much screaming? Soon I have one hand wrapped around the back of her head and the other smothers her face with the tissue. It’s a full-on struggle. And after all this effort? Snot is still in her nose…and now all over her face too.
It’s an awful process and no alternatives seem to help. Saline wipes are a good upgrade from the typical tissue (insomuch that they’re softer), but to me they feel like a used Kleenex – like someone blew their nose and handed it to me, saying, “Here, rub this on your baby’s face.”
The other option is the classic bulb, which they usually give you at the hospital. They’re shaped like a teardrop because that’s what’s produced when you shove a rubber stopper up a child’s face hole. The suction is effective, but the bulbs can be a rough experience. If your child is having a meltdown, that bulb’s fine point becomes a weapon really fast.
No wonder kids have bad associations with stuffy noses. Their parents literally use foreign instruments to forcibly suck the mucus from their brains – and if not that, they violently smother their children with a tissue like they’re knocking them out with ether. Kids crying when you wipe their noses is unfortunately normal. It’s like honeydew in a fruit salad. No one likes it, no one asked for it, but we’ve all learned to accept it as a part of life.
Jebecca has a little cold right now, so Sonja and I have been trying all the home remedies to help. While combing through our bathroom cabinet, Sonja found something we got at a baby shower and never used. She pulled out the box and handed it to me. “What am I looking at here?” I asked.
“I forgot we had this,” she said. “It’s supposed to help clear babies’ noses.”
Let me help you picture this. On the box, there’s this illustration of a parent and a smiling baby. It’s cute except for the part where the parent is holding a plastic tube in the baby’s nose and has the other end in her mouth. “Um. Huh?”
If you had me dream up the one thing that could make clearing a stuffy nose even worse, it would take my wildest imagination to suggest replacing a tissue or the bulb with a plastic straw, which I use to suck out the baby’s snot myself.
Not only is this product actually legal, but it’s also widely available for sale. This isn’t some black-market torture device. This is a legitimate health product. And we have one.
Introducing the NoseFrida, codename: the snotsucker. It’s exactly as described on the box: it’s a plastic tube – about four inches long – that’s attached to a sponge filter, which itself is attached to a thin, flexible tube. At the end of that tube is a little mouthpiece. You put the big plastic tube in the baby’s nose and suck in from the other end. All the junk gets pulled out and trapped in the tube and the filter.
I was reluctant, but intrigued enough to try it out. Lo and behold, it worked exactly as described. What’s more – get this – Jebecca really liked it! Like loved it. Even after we sucked the living daylights out of her head, she would laugh and ask for more. Sounds impossible, but it’s true. She even started pulling my hand over and guiding it into her nose, as you can see below.
We still needed to do a bit of clean up with a tissue, but Jebecca was in such a good mood, she didn’t mind at all. Aside from that, there are some obvious benefits over the classic rubber bulb. First, the NoseFrida isn’t as intrusive. The plastic tube is way too big to go very far in the nostril, so it’s not as uncomfortable for the baby. Also, because you’re controlling it with your own suction power, you can apply quick bursts or pull in a long stretch – something impossible with the bulb. And lastly, even if Jebecca didn’t like it and thrashed around like a fish out of water, she won’t get poked in the face with the plastic tube. It’s not sharp, and its design allows me to have a much better, more ergonomic grip on it.
So here are some quick lessons-learned after using the NoseFrida:
Act excited the first time you use it
Babies really respond to your emotions. Make a big deal out of the first experience. Before you show it to your child, act like it’s candy or a toy. The more the baby thinks its a game, the more receptive she’ll be to the experience.
Allow the baby a chance to touch it herself first
This was a simple one. After I showed it to her, I let her play with it a bit first. I think that helped remove this feeling she probably gets when we pull out the medicine dropper or the duh, duh, duhhhh tissues.
Wash it thoroughly after every use
The makers of NoseFrida did a great job in conveying the importance of cleaning after every use. It says it all over the box and in the instructions. But from firsthand experience, it can be tempting to let it go, especially if nothing really came out of your baby’s nose (that happens sometimes). Don’t wait – wash everything immediately after use. It’s easy to set it aside and forget about it until you need to use it again. Wash immediately.
Where to buy
You can purchase it on Amazon here: Baby Nasal Aspirator NoseFrida.