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CHKD Blog

Parent cleaning baby's nose.

Baby Boogers: A New Mom’s Obsession

Author: Danielle Vigueria
Published Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021

I knew that having a newborn meant that I would become very interested in some pretty gross stuff. I was ready to be an expert in the color and consistency of my baby’s poop, handling the smell of her spit up, and even getting peed on regularly. But nobody told me I would become obsessed with her boogers.

This may just be a weird quirk that I developed, that no one else shares, but it was (and still sometimes is) real for me. When my daughter was a newborn, I noticed that she consistently had a clogged little nose. I had read on the all-knowing internet that babies are obligate nose breathers, meaning they don’t really breathe through their mouths until they are a few months old. This sent me into a worst-case-scenario tailspin. My doctor reassured me that my daughter would not suffocate from a stuffy nose, and that it’s common for young babies to have clogged noses because their nostrils are so teeny tiny. Still, I had some uneasiness.

I found myself holding her head in the light and looking up her nose several times a day. I would be on constant “boogie patrol,” keeping an eye out for snotty blockages. And, I learned how to unclog a little nose, which can be a daunting task. Squirming baby, saline drops, and bulb syringes aren’t the easiest combination to manage. But the satisfaction of clearing that nose was so rewarding. My specialty was spying a boogie peeking out, massaging it down, and removing it with a triumphant swipe of a saline wipe. (My husband is in awe of my skills and also thinks I’m a bit nuts.)

I know that spending a bunch of time focused on my baby’s boogers is weird and maybe not something that many people can relate to. And I am certainly not advocating for anyone to pick up this odd obsession. But I think my fixation grew from an underlying feeling that many parents can relate to—helplessness. There are so many things we can’t automatically fix when it comes to our babies. Why is she fussy right now? What can I do to get her to sleep? What will make her stop crying?

I’m pretty sure my boogie obsession began because it was a problem I could solve. If she was having trouble eating or sleeping because her nose was clogged, that was something I could fix and that felt good. Having dealt with anxiety issues for many years, I know that focusing on tasks that I can accomplish and celebrating my successes, no matter how small, helps me manage. So boogers became an unusual yet powerful tool in my new-mom arsenal—not just for baby’s well-being, but my own.

Today, when my daughter sees the saline wipes, she squints her eyes and shakes her head in nervous anticipation because she knows Mom is coming for her adorable, stuffy nose.



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About Danielle Vigueria

About Danielle  Vigueria Danielle Vigueria is a new mom, step-mom, wife, and freelance writer. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Virginia and a Master of Professional Studies in publishing from George Washington University. She recently traded her beach life in coastal Virginia for the mountains of Idaho. When she isn’t writing, Danielle relaxes by hanging out with her family, reading lots of YA fiction, and watching the deer wander in her backyard.