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Lemon swabs for oral care? Opinions, please!`

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Specializes in NICU.

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I am so glad to come accross this thred, and will submit it to our nurse practice committee.

I hate them because so many nurses just leave them in the baby's mouth and walk away...and that cotton stuff can come off. Also so many baby's actually get "hooked" on them.

Thank you for all this information! :)

I have an update! I gave all the information you folks shared to our Nurse Practice Committee, and last week they decided that our NICU will no longer be using lemon glycerin swabs!!!

I am so very happy! However as many of our nurses are reading their emails, they have not had pleasent comments! The ones I have heard I have told them why this action was taken.

Just had to share........Thank You!!!!!!!!!! :)

If they don't like it run up and swab them with one of those nasty swabs and leave it in their mouth :angryfire. I am horrible for trying things that people debate about, to a point, and when I tried the lemon glycerine swabs I became ill! Upset stomach and all. I tried in desperation to get the taste out of my mouth with large amounts of water. They are worse than aweful, poor babies are having their taste glands assaulted. Lol I am crazy! Please overlook me when I get like this.

If they don't like it run up and swab them with one of those nasty swabs and leave it in their mouth :angryfire. I am horrible for trying things that people debate about, to a point, and when I tried the lemon glycerine swabs I became ill! Upset stomach and all. I tried in desperation to get the taste out of my mouth with large amounts of water. They are worse than aweful, poor babies are having their taste glands assaulted. Lol I am crazy! Please overlook me when I get like this.

You are right, I've tried them too and they are terrible! Hard to believe the little ones will suck on them. Then when they get mom's good brst milk they don't want it....not good!!!

prmenrs, RN

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control. Has 42 years experience.

They'll suck on ANYTHING--only self-comforting thing they know how to do-, but that doesn't mean it's good for them or that they like it.

I wonder if NANN or ANN has a position paper on it. Lemon/glycerin swabs should just go away from NICUs. They don't do anything good, and they are probably harmful.

They are stocked in my (adult) MICU/CICU but I never use them. A few pts have said they are gross (I admit I've never tried one) so now I generally use the green toothettes that are prepackaged with mouthwash and hook to the suction setup. I don't know if those would be good for babies. I use the pink swabs occasionally but the green ones are just faster and easier.

Gompers, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU.

What's wrong with using sterile water on a 2x2 gauze, and oral suctioning as needed? Why would anyone want to stick a swab with any kind of chemical on it into a neonate's mouth? Breastmilk dipped swabs I can understand though, and wish my unit would consider it.

wensday, MSN, RN, APN, NP

Specializes in NICU and neonatal transport. Has 12 years experience.

We use gauze with sterile water to wipe over the outside of the mouth, depending on which unit i'm working in, one doesnt use anything else - just the gauze into the mouth, the other uses oral swabs dipped in sterile water or breast milk, depending on many factors.

we do mostly suctioning with sterile water and gauze... like almost everyone else :)

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