Guest Post: How to Use a Bulb Srynge

As promised, my friend Jordyn Redwood, ER nurse and writer extraordinaire is going to be posting common medical Q & A’s on my blog twice every month. I’m superexcited about this and think it will not only be a ton of fun but it will also be really informative. So, a huge thank you to Jordyn! And, if you want to know more about her, Jordyn is not only a novelist with a book coming out from Kregel in a few months, but she’s also a blogger who writes a superfun blog called “Redwood’s Medical Edge” where she discusses now novelists approach medical issues in their books. Check it out here.

Proper use of a Bulb Syringe

After your baby is delivered, most people look at this item and think it’s not useful anymore. I’m here to tell you that it may be one of the most useful items you have on hand—especially during respiratory season.


The size you go home with will work well for the first few months of life. However, if your child is older than 3-4 months, you’ll need to purchase a larger size or obtain one from your pediatrician.

Bulb syringes are designed to clear secretions from the nose and mouth. During RSV season, one of the most problematic symptoms for infants is the increase in thick, tenacious secretions. An infant with a clogged nose won’t nurse or take the bottle well. If they aren’t feeding well, this can lead to a concern for dehydration. Also, a stuffy nose makes for more difficult sleep and a non-sleeping baby leads to a cranky household.

It’s best to use the bulb syringe to:
1. Clear an obvious clogged nose.
2. Clear the nose before feeding.
3. Clear the nose before sleep.

Here’s the procedure:
1. Instill a few saline drops into the nose and let the infant breathe in and out for a few breaths.
2. Depress the bulb and insert the tip a few millimeters into one nare.
3. Let the bulb inflate back up while keeping the end in the nose. This will pull out the secretions. If the bulb stays depressed, it’s likely that the nare is pretty clogged and you’ll need to repeat these steps until it inflates back up easily.
4. Once the inflated bulb is out of the nose, depress it again into a tissue to remove the secretions you collected.

This You-tube video gives a pretty good overview: I would just add using the saline drops as this will help loosen and thin the secretions.

Are you comfortable using a bulb syringe?

Jordyn Redwood has served the pediatric population and their families for many years. She has five years of experience in the pediatric ICU and ten years of pediatric ER nursing which is the area she currently works. Jordyn also teaches CPR and advanced resuscitation courses.

Jordyn is also a suspense author. Her novel, Lilly’s Ashes, will be published by Kregel in the Spring of 2012. She also hosts a medical blog for authors which you can find at

Disclaimer: Remember, these posts are for education and discussion. If your child is sick and you think they require medical attention, take them to their pediatrician or local emergency department.


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