It was a cold, dry morning in Brisbane today, and the first thing I wanted to do when I got up was blow my nose.
I haven't got a cold or a runny nose, but I could feel some congestion and dry mucus in both nostrils. I really needed a few drops of saline spray to loosen everything up, as my nasal passage felt so dry.
Then after a few big blows, I instantly felt better, clearer, happier and ready to get on with the day.
It got me thinking.
Imagine if my baby felt like this, but was unable to tell me? Imagine if they had a big, dry boogie up their nose and were unable to blow it or sneeze it out. Imagine if the heater had dried out the lining of my little one's nostril and it felt itchy and coarse?
They would feel pretty irritable and miserable.
It made me realise that a morning ritual of saline spray followed by nasal aspiration (with a handy, battery powered snot sucker like our "Snotty Boss Aspirator") is the perfect way to start the day for babies, toddlers and older children.
Every day of the year.
Watch this video of baby Jack, as we demonstrate nasal flushing, using saline and the battery powered Snotty Boss Aspirator. The Snotty Boss Aspirator is TGA approved for safe use from birth and comes with a FREE refillable saline "soft spray" bottle.
In collaboration with midwife and sleep consultant Kellie Campbell from Sleep Tight Sleep Consultations, we have developed this guide to help parents.
Here are 10 reasons why daily nasal flushing is a healthy, quick habit...
1. Saline (purified salt water) is a natural substance and is highly antibacterial.
2. Just as we brush our teeth daily to prevent cavities, flushing little noses can be a great prevention tool. Keep the saline spray and nasal aspirator in the bathroom for easy access, morning and night.
3. The saline removes airborne particles and can improve allergy symptoms.
4 Saline spray helps keep the cilia in the nose healthy. Cilia are small hair-like structures that trap bacteria to prevent them entering the body, and aid the sense of smell.
Air conditioners in Summer and heaters in Winter dry out the bedroom air, throat and nasal passages. We all have a drink when we wake up in the morning, so it makes sense to hydrate our nasal passages every morning too. Saline restores moisture to dry nasal passages and sinuses and curbs inflammation of mucus membranes
5. When used regularly, saline can help to thin mucus, cleanse nasal passages of bacteria and lessen the risk of post-nasal drip which can lead to ear infections in babies and children
6. Nasal flushing can reduce the severity of infection. Nasal saline washes cannot instantly cure the underlying disease but they reduce complications from allergies and viral illnesses.
7. Breathing clearer will put your baby or child in a better mood! They may not like the 60 second procedure, but the flow on effects and benefits make it all worthwhile. Infants are obligate nasal breathers as they prefer breathing through their nose rather than their mouth, and can find it difficult to breathe and sleep with a blocked nose.
8. Improve sleep patterns. If you've every tried to sleep with a dry or blocked nose, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Maximise the chance of great day naps and consistent overnight sleep, by ensuring breathing passages are clean and clear.
9. It's a good excuse for a cuddle. Make it a ritual to flush the nose with saline, aspirate with a battery powered aspirator, then keep snuggling and read a book together straight away. Germ busting and education in under 5 minutes! Perfect.
10. Save time and money at the medical centre and chemist by making your own germ busting saline solution. See the recipe below. Babies and young children are prone to sinus and allergies, yet may be too young to tell you their symptoms or discomfort. Daily saline keeps everything clean and clear.
So, let's discuss the most common concern of parents: my baby or child hates me putting anything near or up their nose! We understand.
However the medical benefits might be worth a moment of fuss. It's doesn't hurt at all - saline spray has a soft release atomiser and the battery powered Snotty has a vibrating sensation that is ticklish.
Ultimately, clearing the nose each morning and night should put your little one into a better mood, as they will breathe clearer instantly. If you start this practice from birth, babies become very used to the feeling and vibrations of nasal flushing and aspiration.
As toddlers, they may be very weary of a new procedures, so make it fun and do a demonstration on yourself first (yes, it will keep parents healthy too) to show them there is no need to be scared.
Most over-the-counter saline nasal sprays are isotonic, which means the solution is the same saline concentration as in your body. Hypertonic versions have a higher concentration of salt than what’s in your body. Both types can help clear mucus. For babies and young children, an isotonic saline should contains 0.9 percent sodium chloride (salt), which is similar to the sodium concentration in blood and tears
Here is a recipe for homemade isotonic saline, using iodine-free salt:
- Boil 2 cups of water covered for 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add 1 teaspoon of iodine-free salt.
- Add 1 pinch of baking soda (optional).
- Stir until dissolved.
- Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 48 hours.
It's recommended to do 3-4 squirts up each nostril, even in infants. Doing 1-2 squirts just make the tissues moist and does not effectively wash out mucus build up.
So many parents have reported better mood and better sleep for their baby or child since beginning daily saline flushing and aspiration. It may not be their favourite thing, but the medical benefits outweigh a moment of fuss.
Nobody said parenting was easy, so roll up your sleeves and get set with saline and aspiration. Yes, it's another task to add to your daily parenting schedule, but a quick and easy one that can have great health benefits.
Watch Mum Boss Laura use the aspirator on baby Marlea below, and see how easy the Snotty Boss Aspirator is to clean.....
Need it now? We have the Snotty Boss Aspirator available here. Remember it comes with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee - what have you got to lose?