Newborn snoring is often a source of great worry for new parents.
I remember the first time I brought my new daughter home from the hospital.
She was super healthy, and everything was great. But I was so worried that I wasn’t going to understand how to take care of her.
And that was the root of a lot of my new-parent anxiety.
So whenever she would make a new sound, or breathe a little differently, or do anything out of the ordinary… I would absolutely panic.
Was there something wrong? Was she alright?
As parents, we worry about our children… there is just no way around that.
But here is the big question.
Is newborn snoring something to be concerned about?
What This Article Is All About?
Let’s dive in and get this one figured out.
Newborn Snoring – Where to Start
First off, it is important to understand that newborns often have noisy breathing.
This is especially true when they are sleeping.
Of course, as parents, we want them to sleep soundly, breathe clearly, and move just enough to let us know that they are fine and still alive!
But anyone who has ever been a parent knows that it simply isn’t that easy.
On average, about 1 out of 10 kids snore. But in most cases, this doesn’t mean that there is a problem.
So why would a newborn have noisy breathing? If they are so young and perfect, why would they have any health issues?
Well, it is possible that they don’t have any health issues.
If your newborn is making snoring sounds, it is possible that there are a number of things happening.
Why Does My Newborn Sound Stuffy?
Remember… newborn babies have very small nasal passages.
This is obvious, but it is also often overlooked.
Another thing that most people don’t realize about newborn babies is that, in the first few days of life outside of the womb, they may sound like they have a stuffy nose due to leftover fluid in their nasal passages… left there from when they were still in the uterus.
But of course, there are also other things that can cause a stuffy nose in newborns.
There is a very good chance that the noises coming from your child while he/she sleeps are the result of a small airway not letting as much air through, a dry airway that is constricting air flow a little bit, or even a little bit of blockage due to mucus.
These are all pretty normal things, and you can often recognize them as simple noisy sleeping.
Is My Newborn Snoring or Congested?
Congestion is actually really common in newborn babies.
And contrary to what many panicking parents may think… baby congestion is usually harmless.
Congestion can certainly increase a child’s snoring risk. But it is also true that you need to look a bit deeper than this to figure out if there is actually something to be worried about.
Most congestion in newborns is centered around the nasal passages… though they can also end up congested in their chests as well.
Congestion can usually be helped with home remedies. You can use a humidifier, a suction bulb, and nasal saline drops to help mitigate breathing difficulties.
But what causes it? Let’s take a closer look.
What Causes Congestion in Newborns?
There are a number of things that can cause congestion in newborn babies.
Chest congestion can occur if the newborn…
- Has the flu
- Has bronchiolitis
- Has pneumonia
- Was born premature
- Has asthma
- Has a viral infection, such as respiratory syncytial virus
- Has cystic fibrosis
- Has transient tachypnea, though this only occurs in the first day or two after birth.
Nasal congestion, on the other hand, can be caused by a plethora of different things… which can make the cause difficult to pin down.
It can be caused by…
- Dry air or poor air quality
- Viruses, common colds, etc.
- Allergies, either to pets, to the environment, to laundry soap, etc.
- A deviated septum
How Do You Know If It Is Chest Congestion or Nasal Congestion?
If your newborn is snoring and also seems to be congested, then you can assess the symptoms to try to figure out if the congestion is in the chest or the nasal cavities.
Chest congestion is less common than nasal congestion… but it can also be an indicator of an illness.
Nasal congestion, on the other hand, is much more common… and does not always indicate that there is any sort of illness or problem.
Figuring out which type of congestion your child is experiencing may be important. If your child is snoring, odds are good that the congestion is in the nasal cavities… but ruling out chest congestion is also important, as you want to be aware of the possibility of other underlying problems.
As a general rule, nasal congestion tends to manifest itself as one of the following…
- Noisy breathing
- Snoring while sleeping
- Mild difficulty with feeding
- A runny nose/mucus production
Chest congestion, on the other hand, tends to look more like this…
- Rapid breathing or wheezing when breathing
- Labored breathing
- Difficulty feeding
The tough thing about identifying the problem is that coughing and difficulty feeding can be present in both types of congestion.
It can admittedly be difficult to tell if your child is only congested in the nasal passages, or if they are also experiencing chest congestion.
When Should I Be Concerned About My Baby Snoring?
There are a few signs that you should look out for to help you determine whether or not this is a ‘normal newborn breathing’ noise, or an ‘actual, dangerous snoring noise.’
- If your child is gasping for breath while they sleep
- If your child usually sleeps with his/her mouth open, and also with their neck/chin extended
- If your child snores loudly… louder than a newborn ought to be snoring
- If your child snores most nights of the week, and/or snores frequently during the night
- Is experiencing a fever
- Is vomiting
… then you likely want to talk to your pediatrician.
But… you also need to keep an eye out for more extreme breathing problems.
- If your child is breathing rapidly, with a breathing rate of around 60 breaths per minute
- If your child is flaring his/her nostrils when they breathe
- If your baby is suffering from retractions, which occur when the newborn’s ribs ‘suck in’ on each breath
- If your newborn is moaning after each breath
- If your child’s skin is turning blue, especially around the nostrils or lips
… then you might be looking at a severe respiratory problem. In such cases, you should talk to the baby’s doctor or take them to the emergency room right away.
What Isn’t Cause for Concern?
Symptoms of normal snoring in children can also appear scary, especially to inexperienced or otherwise worried parents.
But rest assured, a lot of children snore, and snoring is not always cause for concern.
Don’t forget… snoring, in and of itself, is usually not a dangerous phenomenon. It is simply caused by the vibrations of the nasal passages as air moves through them.
And newborn babies are certainly not immune to it!
With that being said, here are some tips to help you identify non-dangerous snoring, in hopes that learning to do so can ease your mind and put you more at ease in the middle of the night!
Tip #1: Pay attention to how your baby is breathing when he/she breathes normally.
Newborns will have a certain way of breathing, and it is actually different from how adults breathe. Babies tend to breathe through their nose, and they also take more breaths per minute than adults do.
Take some time to get to know your baby’s normal breathing while they are asleep. This will help you to gauge if something may not be right.
Tip #2: Look for the dangerous symptoms mentioned above. Is your child experiencing any of those symptoms? Or does it actually look like your child is just snoring?
As parents, we always want to be vigilant about problems. But we can sometimes also tend to worry when there is no cause for it.
Try to objectively view the situation. Check for dangerous symptoms. If it seems like your baby is legitimately having trouble breathing, take action immediately.
Check for a fever. Is your child coughing? If so, a call to your pediatrician may be the best call.
But… if your child is just snoring, and is otherwise breathing normally… well, there is likely little cause for concern.
Can My Baby Suffocate From a Stuffy Nose?
It is every parent’s worst nightmare to think about their child suffocating in their sleep.
The bad news is that this does happen.
The good news? It can usually be prevented if you pay attention to your child and keep an eye out for dangers.
Stuffy Noses Are Not the Most Dangerous Thing for Babies…
Many parents worry that stuffy noses are dangerous.
Well, they can be. But it is much less likely that your baby will be unable to breathe because of a stuffy nose, especially if you help to keep their nasal passages free of mucus.
Here are some tips for how to help your newborn with their stuffy nose.
- Use saline drops to moisten your baby’s nose. Do not place any more than 2 or 3 drops in each nostril, though. You can wait 30 to 60 seconds to allow the drops to work, then drain them
- Use a humidifier in the room where your baby is sleeping. If the newborn snoring is caused by a dry, stuffy nose, a humidifier can help
- Use a nasal-aspirator or nasal-suction bulb to clear mucus from the child’s nose
- Keep your newborn’s crib close to your bed when you sleep. This will allow you to hear when they start to sniffle or snore, allowing you to take more immediate action to help them
- Of course, if it seems like your child is struggling to breathe, or is having a legitimately difficult time getting enough oxygen, you should contact your doctor right away
Suffocating Is a Far Greater Danger to Your Child Than a Stuffy Nose
Unfortunately, suffocation in newborns is not as uncommon as you might think.
But it is rarely caused by a stuffy nose.
In most cases, suffocation is caused by the baby’s nose getting pressed up against something during sleep, which can cut off their oxygen supply.
Newborns only breathe through their nose. Plus, the cartilage in their nose is not developed yet…so if they were to roll over and press their nose against something, suffocation becomes a real danger.
Here are some tips to help prevent this type of problem from happening, regardless of whether or not your newborn might be snoring or suffering from a stuffy nose…
- If your newborn is snoring, you might be tempted to put them in bed with you. But cosleeping is quite dangerous! Always put your baby back into their crib or bassinet after nursing or treating their snoring issues.
- When you lay babies down to sleep, lay them on a firm mattress on their backs. This goes for naps and sleeping through the night.
- Do not keep extra things in the baby’s crib or bed. There should be no pillows, bumper pads, blankets, toys, or anything else in the baby’s bed. If it is cold, warm up the room instead of piling on blankets.
- Avoid putting your baby to sleep in a chair, on a couch, or anywhere similar. Only firm, flat mattresses in safety approved cribs, bassinets, pack n plays, and the like are suitable.
Can a Newborn Get a Cold?
If your newborn is suffering from a snoring problem, then you might be wondering if it could be due to a cold.
But can babies actually catch a cold? Aren’t they immune to them when they are newborn?
This is partially a wives tale. It is true that new babies are born with a certain measure of immunity to illness, but it also takes time for their immune systems to mature.
And so, yes… unfortunately, babies are susceptible to common colds, viruses, and infections.
Here are the facts you need to know about newborn babies and colds.
First of all, babies can catch a cold at any time.
Colds are rarely problematic for newborn babies. But even so, it is important to keep an eye on them because they can lead to complications or more severe conditions, such as croup or pneumonia.
Cold symptoms in newborns often consist of the following…
- A reduction in appetite
- Difficulty breastfeeding or bottle feeding (usually due to nasal congestion)
- Sleeping difficulty
The good news is that newborns tend to bounce back from colds very quickly! And since they are generally not dangerous, you don’t really need to worry too much about them.
With that being said, any illness in children under the age of 2 months still merits a call to the pediatrician, especially if there is a fever present.
Your pediatrician can help you to determine if there is true cause for concern, and can also give you instructions for how to deal with any challenges your newborn is facing.
This may include keeping your child’s nasal passages clear, to keep snoring and other breathing complications to a minimum.
If In Doubt, Always Consult Your Physician
Our site, like many other sites on the internet, strives to bring you the best, most up-to-date information to help you keep your family safe from harm.
But unfortunately, a generalized article about a topic can only do you so much good!
You are your child’s parent. If you are worried about your newborn’s snoring problem, and feel that your instincts are telling you that something is wrong… then you should definitely call your pediatrician and at least get it checked out.
It is so much better to be safe than sorry. It is also important for you to trust your instincts when it comes to keeping your baby safe!
You know your newborn better than anyone. And while you might be a new parent, you are also probably more qualified than you realize to determine whether or not your child might be facing a health problem or danger.
Hopefully, this post has given you some helpful information for when the time comes to make a call about your child’s snoring problem.
Just keep a close eye on him/her, always check for a fever, and don’t be afraid to ring your doctor if something seems off.
Parenthood isn’t rocket science… but it can certainly feel like it sometimes!
Newborn snoring can be unnerving. But once again.. It is rarely dangerous on its own… and it often passes quite quickly as your child grows and matures.
Just know that you are probably doing an outstanding job… and the fact that you are looking up information on the internet to keep your baby safe is a great sign that you care, and that you are doing all you can to be a great parent!