Why Won’t My Baby Let Me Suction Their Nose?

  • By: The DIG for Kids
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Read this article to learn why your baby doesn’t like you using suction on their nose and other tips for unstuffing their nose.

Your baby may be fussing when you try to suction their nose if they are not used to doing this process. It’s just the first time you’re trying to clear their nose this way, then they might be reacting because the new experience makes them uncomfortable or even frightened. It could also be that they don’t like the sensation of the suction. 

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to help unstuff your baby’s nose only for them to fuss and leave you wondering why your “baby won’t let me suction nose.” You will probably try anything at your disposal to try and help with the congestion. However, you may want to try other less intrusive methods and maybe more comfortable for your baby. 

No one likes to have a mysterious object put into their nose, so chances are that if you haven’t used a suction device for your baby to help with their stuffed nose before, they’re going to react negatively to the experience. It’s essential that you relax them or slowly introduce them to this new object. Pretending to use it on yourself might also help calm them.

What Causes Your Baby To Have a Stuffed Nose?

The main reason your baby probably has a stuffed nose is because of some kind of virus like the common cold. However, other factors that can contribute to this can be related to air quality and even the shape and size of their nasal passages. These are usually minor signs, but some more severe symptoms suggest that you speak to a doctor.

The common cold is some, and other viruses are something that you can’t do much to avoid other than disinfecting surfaces and avoiding those with those illnesses. However, things like poor air quality or dry air in your home are things that you might want to consider improving, whether this is having an air filter or a humidifier. 

There could also be issues with your baby having a smaller nasal passage. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that there will be more prone to having stuffy and runny noses. It’s something to be aware of, and you may need to speak to a doctor about nasal drips or other medicated methods to help clear their passages.

How to Unstuff Baby’s Nose Without Them Crying

You may be turning to the suction method because you don’t know of the many other ways you can use to clear out your baby’s nose. There are plenty of different methods you can utilize to clean your baby’s nose, and it may be more comfortable for them, whether this is using humidity or looking into the air quality of your home. 

Let’s go through some of the different methods you can use and some tips on whether or not those are the best ones for your specific situation. Keep in mind what might be causing your baby to have a stuffy nose and use that to dictate which methods would work best for your particular situation. Keep the other techniques in your back pocket should something change.

Use Suction

There are two different types of suction: there’s the bulb syringe or the nasal aspirator. The bulb syringe uses air suction from a bulb that you can use to take out any mucous in the nasal passage. Then the nasal aspirator uses air from your mouth to create the suction. 

Both forms of suction are great ways to pull any mucus that builds up in your baby’s nasal passage. However, medical experts suggest that you should limit the number of uses to 3 or 4 times a day to prevent any kind of inflammation or nosebleeds. It’s also essential to clean the device you’re using between uses.

Suppose your baby is causing a fuss or crying or fighting you using any suction method, that probably isn’t the one for you. At the very least, you should wait and try it at a different time. There’s nothing inherently dangerous about your baby having mucus in their nose, and some babies hate using suction on their nasal passage.

Use Humidity

Humidity is an excellent method for helping a baby’s stuffy nose if your house is too dry or you want to clear everything out without actually being intrusive to your baby. You can use a humidifier or steamer or even give them a bath, which can help create enough steam to clear out their nasal passage.

Humidifiers are a great way to break up mucus, especially if you opted for the cold mist. It’s something that you can leave on all day or while your baby is sleeping without needing to do anything active on your part. Even if you don’t want to buy a humidifier specifically, you can always run a hot shower that produces steam and have your baby sit in the bathroom. 

Have Your Baby Sit Upright

Just like with adults, your baby is more likely to be congested while lying down. It’s better to have your baby sitting upright during the day so that the mucus has a chance to drain from their nose naturally. Try keeping them in a high chair or other seats to keep them in an upright sitting position instead of slightly declining. 

This isn’t a method that will work so well for nighttime or nap times since your baby will have to be lying down during that. Try matching it with a humidifier or other preventative measures so that your baby can lay comfortably at night while also still being able to breathe through their nose. Nasal spray can also help clear out any mucus before sleep. 


There’s a chance that your baby will fight you using any kind of method to clear their nose that involves putting something in or around their nasal passage. If your baby is making a fuss about this, try some of the other methods discussed in this article. Chances are they don’t want a stuffy nose, and they will settle down once you find the correct approach.