Saline Nose Drops

To help clear a stuffy nose, put salt water (saline) nose drops in your infant's nose. This helps to loosen the secretions in the nose. Use a bulb syringe to clean the nose out:

  • Before feeding.

  • Before putting your infant down for naps.

  • No more than once every 3 hours to avoid irritating your infant's nostrils.


  • Buy nose drops at your local drug store. You can also make nose drops yourself. Mix 1 cup of water with ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir. Store this mixture at room temperature. Make a new batch daily.

  • To use the drops:

  • Put 1 or 2 drops in each side of infant's nose with a clean medicine dropper. Do not use this dropper for any other medicine.

  • Squeeze the air out of the suction bulb before inserting it into your infant's nose.

  • While still squeezing the bulb flat, place the tip of the bulb into a nostril. Let air come back into the bulb. The suction will pull snot out of the nose and into the bulb.

  • Repeat on other nostril.

  • Squeeze the bulb several times into a tissue and wash the bulb tip in soapy water. Store the bulb with the tip side down on paper towel.

  • Use the bulb syringe with only the saline drops to avoid irritating your infant's nostrils.


  • The snot changes to green or yellow.

  • The snot gets thicker.

  • Your infant i s 3 months or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.

  • Your infant is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • The stuffy nose lasts 10 days or longer.

  • There is trouble breathing or feeding.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your infant's condition.

  • Will get help right away if your infant is not doing well or gets worse.