When you have children, it doesn't take long to become comfortable with all sorts of things that would've previously put you off your dinner. You'll get peed on, you'll stick your finger in poop, you will actively try to get your baby to fart, and snot? All day every day. Their nasal passages are tiny and seem to make endless amounts of mucus, so you may start suctioning the little nostrils of your teeny one because they simply can't breathe. But those noses are sensitive and can get irritated. What do you do if your baby's nose bleeds after suctioning?
First, determine if the blood in the secretions was there before or after you suctioned. If it's not still bleeding after being suctioned, than, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your baby likely had a nosebleed beginning before you even suctioned. Nosebleeds are a trick of fate. Some kids get them all the time, some almost never. However, a dry nasal passage can cause the nostrils to be irritated and begin to bleed. This might be what your child is trying to inhale when it sounds like they're gagging. According to the AAP, they are easy to fix with a bit of pinching, and probably more than a bit of angry screaming on the part of your baby.
If you notice a bit of blood leaking even after the suctioning is complete, it's likely because you were a bit too forceful with the plunger. Or your child yanked their head about while you were trying to do it, because, obviously they thought you were trying to murder them after all that saline nonsense. I mean, jeez, mom. Do you really need to do that? Babies can be squirmy little jerks, and this means that the super delicate lining inside their teeny tiny little nostrils, that already tears like tissue paper, got a bit roughed up in the process. It happens to all of us. You're not a monster, even if your child is acting like you are. (Don't worry, I'm sure that won't improve in their teen years.)
I spoke with pediatric nurse Jennifer Katzenbaum of New York City to determine what to do if your baby's nose bleeds after suctioning. She tells Romper, "Unless it's a lot of blood, in which case you should call your pediatrician immediately, you can just hold your baby over your arm like you would if they were choking, or if you were burping them, and pinch their nose shut, being sure to place pressure on both nostrils against the wall between them." She notes that it normally doesn't take a lot of effort, or a lot of time to clear up.
Katzenbaum says that bleeds from suctioning are incredibly common, and not something to be overly concerned about. Yes, it's sad to see your baby's nose bleed, but it's not a big deal. She notes that after the bleeding has stopped, try keeping them in a space that's well humidified, as dry areas will only irritate the nose further and lead to more bleeding. Also, you're fighting an uphill battle if your child has already found their nose. Because they will shove their little fingers in there and it will likely cause even more bleeding. I suggest, from my years of experience, dark clothing and pillowcases. Also, buy a lot of OxiClean.
Katzenbaum adds that "if the bleeding hasn't stopped in 10 minutes, call your pediatrician. Or, if your gut tells you that your baby needs attention, never hesitate to call. It is really what we are here for."
Beyond that, mittens and OxiClean, my people. Trust me.
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