My 5 month old is having a horrible time with a cold currently. He's been progressively producing a large amount of phlegm - now to the point that he's coughing almost continuously and having a hard time eating and sometimes breathing. My spouse and I have tried steaming the bathroom with hot showers, as well as using humidifiers but it's not breaking up the mucus enough for him to effectively cough it up.

Is there a proper way to suction a baby's mouth with a bulb syringe? Everything that I've searched for and read states that a baby can be suctioned via mouth or nose with a bulb syringe but all examples only show descriptions and steps of suctioning the nose, not the mouth.

  • 1
    Welcome to the community and thanks for your contribution. The nasal passages, mouth and air passages are all connected, so If you're really getting the nostrils, the mouth shouldn't be required. Dec 22, 2013 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


From your description, suctioning the mouth is not what you need, in fact there are only a very few cases where it useful to suction the mouth at all.

Loosening the phlegm from the lungs/throat can be relatively straightforward. Steaming a room as you have been doing should help, but what worked for us was to have our baby lying gave down across my knees, head a little lower, and clapping or tapping her back. It doesn't need to be hard, but five minutes of this in the morning really makes a difference.

If the problem really persists, you could speak to your GP about the use of a nebulizer.

  • This is the technique we were taught when my son was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. We used a small rubber palm percussor, and gently clapped the chest wall, along my son's sides and back. I see no reason why this wouldn't work just as effectively for a persistent cold or cough.
    – user420
    Dec 23, 2013 at 13:32

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