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I have a growing list of recommendations for new parents that exist mainly in my own head. Highlights include “just get the velcro swaddles” and “infant Tylenol is exactly the same as children’s Tylenol, it just costs more and there’s less of it.” But as of this weekend, there’s one thing right at the top of the list: get an electric snot sucker. Forget the Nose Frida, definitely forget the weird little bulb syringe they send you home from the hospital with. This stupid little gadget has possibly saved the last shred of my sanity.

To be a new parent is to quickly become acquainted with an entire new world of gadgets and gear. Sure, there are some people who can take a relaxed approach to baby gear — “Our parents don’t need all that stuff, we can get by without a [insert fancy baby gadget here]!” I certainly took that attitude with some of the stuff suggested for our baby registry.

But once we brought our son home from the hospital and learned that he would, under no circumstances, be put down for more than five minutes, my attitude changed real quick. Anything that would solve a minor inconvenience or save 30 seconds of my time, even once a day, became priceless. Even better if I could order it on my phone while holding the baby and get it on my doorstep 24 hours later.

The whole thing is an utter pain in the ass, and it’s completely necessary

One piece of baby gear that the whole parenting world seems to agree on is the NoseFrida. It’s a plastic canister thing connected to a flexible tube with a mouthpiece at the other end. You use it to suck the snot out of your baby’s nose with your own mouth. Sounds gross? Don’t worry, there’s a little foam filter in between your mouth and the bacteria-laden mucus. Cool!

The whole thing is an utter pain in the ass, and it’s completely necessary. Kids can’t blow their own noses until they’re around two, so until then, they need help. A baby with a stuffed-up nose has trouble eating, drinking, or using a pacifier. And they tend to wake up roughly 100 times a night to register their discomfort. It’s a bad time for everyone.

the other bad news is that babies and toddlers absolutely hate having their snot sucked out. Explaining the benefits of clear nasal passages to them is, I’m sorry to say, ineffective. Thus, using the NoseFrida is a two-person job — one person does the snot sucking, and the other holds a squirming child in a headlock while they scream bloody murder. You have to suck fairly hard — you’ll know you’ve done this properly if you’re a little lightheaded afterward. Oh, and you have to keep a grip on both ends of the tube because it will keep it coming apart when your child flails. It’s a cute little extra difficulty setting.

Using the NoseFrida is a two-person job — one person does the snot sucking, and the other holds a squirming child while they scream bloody murder

After a year and a half of laborious manual snot sucking, my husband and I finally broke down and bought an electric sucker. Frida made one, but out of spite, I bought a different brand. It cost $40, arrived the next day, and immediately vaulted to the top of my essential baby gadgets list. It charges over USB-C, praise be, and it’s straightforward to assemble. There are three snot sucking power levels, and the highest is strong enough to get a decent amount of snot out of my kid’s nose. The thing even lights up and plays a little song, which is a nice little distraction in the moments before you start sucking snot.

To be clear, my child still hates it. There is still much screaming and thrashing. But at least one of us is making it easier time, and it goes a lot faster without having to try and keep a stupid little plastic tube in place the whole time. It was a real godsend over the weekend when the baby came home from daycare with an especially snotty bug and spent most of Friday night waking up because his nose was so stuffy and then yelling about it. He was a wreck the next day, and so were we. With some productive snot sucking sessions on Saturday, everyone gets a much more peaceful night of sleep. That, as my fellow new parents know, is worth just about any price.


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