As a parent, especially a first-time parent, you worry about all the responsibilities that come with this new family member. And you’re probably also stressed because you understand that your infant’s health and wellbeing require different things than an adult does, so you just want to be the right type of parent and know everything there is to know.
So one day, you hear your baby snoring. You are pretty sure that little babies cannot snore, so something must be wrong. Multiple questions start running through your head. Is this normal? How can this little guy produce a sound like that? What’s wrong with my child? Is it harmful? What do I have to do?
Well, to give you some peace of mind let’s dive in. First, observe at what age your baby started snoring. Are they just a newborn, or a couple of months old? Or is your child older than 3 years old? It makes a difference because the causes can be completely different depending on the age.
The good news is that, in most cases, snoring in a newborn is a normal physiological process. Babies use nasal breathing, and because they have tiny nasal passages as well as weak muscles on their neck and throat, they can snore, especially during sleep. Also, any extra mucus might be a barrier for airflow and produce the sound of snoring. Situations like this one are not dangerous just require nose cleaning with a saline spray. These are widely available over the counter in many pharmacies. But first, you can try to eliminate the extra mucus from the nose by using a baby aspirator. You can just suction it out. You can also try repositioning your baby, but don’t put your newborn or a few-months-old baby on their side because, as per the American Academy of Pediatrics, these positions are more dangerous for sleep than positioning them on their back or stomach.
What else is helpful for a baby’s snoring? Humidifiers! In many houses, the air is dry due to the central heating system. Using warm mist vaporizers or humidifiers is definitely a good idea.
A warm bath before sleep is another solution to reduce stuffy-ness in the nose.
Are there other causes for your child snoring? Causes than can be a case of concern? Here are a few of them, ranging from mildly concerning to more serious causes:
- Allergies that cause a stuffy nose
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids that cause the mechanical obstruction of free airflow
- Deviated septum that also cause mechanical obstruction because the cartilage that divides the nasal passage is uneven
We want to bring special attention to the last condition: laryngomalacia. A child can be born with a birth defect where there is an underdeveloped airway in the larynx. This condition produces a sound very similar to snoring called stridor. This is an inspiratory type of stridor. You can recognize it as a high-pitched sound, or a whistle-like sound. It usually becomes worse with agitation, crying, or during feeding. If you noticed that your baby makes any sounds that seem abnormal to you, please refer immediately to your pediatrician or even to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.
- Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is another condition that can be considered a big concern. If you noted that your child: is a habitual mouth breather, loudly snores most nights, their neck is extended back during sleep and their mouth is open, they gasp during the night, or they wake up tired and are sleepy during the day, it is a reason for an immediate visit to the doctor. A pediatrician will probably recommend using a home apnea monitor or even do a hospital study called polycomnogram.
If you are not sure about the cause of snoring, just do a video or audio recording of your baby and show it to your pediatrician.