Why Do Babies Snore? Exploring the Causes and Solutions

baby-snoring

When a baby is born into a family, they bring a lot of joy into the lives of the people around them. They fill the room with happiness, laughter, and at times, their little snoring. When babies are asleep, they can make various sounds and noises, ranging from sighing, grunting, laughing, crying, and snoring. While these sounds might disrupt your sleep if you are sharing a room with the newborn, they are usually not a cause of concern. In this article, we will focus on snoring in newborns, which is usually common. We will delve deeper into the topic and try to ascertain when snoring in newborns is not usual or common, snoring in babies causes sleep apnea in babies, and solutions for snoring in newborns. We will also check when we need to see a pediatrician for these reasons.

Babies are usually heavy breathers, and there is no concern attached to it. Babies breathe through their noises unless they are crying, and it is completely normal to hear them breathing while they are asleep because of the tiny air passage in a newborn. Doctors suggest that snoring or heavy breathing is common in newborns and as long as it does not disrupt their sleep, happens in brief intervals, and they are relatively quiet, snoring or heavy breathing does not pose a serious concern or threat to the newborn’s health. But when it becomes persistent, louder than a whisper, is accompanied by a very high pitch, disrupts the baby’s sleep, or makes the baby stop breathing are usually concerning in many scenarios.

Snoring in Newborns: Causes

  1. Nasal Congestion:
  2. Babies are born with tiny nasal passages that can easily cause nasal congestion in newborns. This congestion can have various reasons such as cold, allergies or exposure to irritants like dust or smoke. When these air passages are blocked, even slightly, air passing through can cause sounds that can result in snoring.

  3. Enlarged Tonsils or Adenoids:
  4. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can obstruct a baby’s airway during the time the baby is asleep, resulting in snoring in newborns. This happens in adults too. In some cases, these tissues might need medical attention or intervention.

  5. Sleep Position:
  6. The position in which a baby is in while being asleep can influence snoring. The position of sleeping on the back can make a baby snore because in this position the throat is more relaxed. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies on their backs while sleeping to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

  7. Sleep Apnea:
  8. While it is less common in babies, they can also experience sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during the sleeping phase. This could be caused due to anatomical issues, neurological problems, or issues with the central nervous system.

  9. Genetics and Anatomical Factors:
  10. Sometimes genetics and anatomical factors play a role in a baby’s tendency to snore while they are asleep. A small jaw, a recessed chin, or a narrow airway might make snoring more likely to happen in a newborn.

Snoring in Newborns: Solutions

  1. Nasal Aspirator and Saline Drops:
  2. For snoring in babies related to congestion, using a nasal aspirator to gently clear the baby’s nasal passages can be helpful. Saline drops or sprays can also moisturise and loosen mucus, making it easier to remove. This approach is one of the most helpful nasal congestion in infants‘ home remedies.

  3. Humidifier:
  4. A cool-mist humidifier in the room the baby is generally in can help in adding moisture to the air. It is another of the most helpful nasal congestion in infants’ home remedies. It can help in easing nasal congestion and reducing snoring in babies which is caused by dry air.

  5. Elevating the Head:
  6. Slightly elevating the head of the baby’s crib can promote easier breathing which can lead to reduction in snoring. Ensure that the elevation is of safe level and does not lead to suffocation.

  7. Maintaining Clean Air:
  8. Keep the baby’s environment free from irritants that can otherwise lead to congestion. Irritants include dust, smoke, and strong odours. Maintaining a clean environment can prevent nasal congestion and reduce snoring.

  9. Consulting a Paediatrician:
  10. If snoring in the baby persists, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms like pauses in breathing, poor weight gain, or excessive daytime sleepiness, consulting a paediatrician becomes crucial. A doctor can assess the baby’s conditions and recommend appropriate treatment. They can also rule out possibilities of potential threats to the baby’s health and wellbeing.

Understanding Sleep Apnea in Babies

While sleep apnea in babies is less common as compared to adults, it can occur in babies and needs the attention of a professional healthcare provider. Signs of sleep apnea in babies can include loud snoring, pauses in breathing, gasping for air during sleep, restlessness, or sweating. Other signs to look out for when they are awake which could mean an underlying health issue include having trouble feeding, if the baby pulls off the bottle or breast frequently while feeding, continuing to snore even as they get older, recurring throat infections, being constantly tired despite sleeping and napping adequately.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing sleep apnea in infants often involves a detailed examination  by the paediatrician. It might require sleep studies or other tests to monitor breathing patterns during the sleeping phase of the baby.

Treatment

Treatment for sleep apnea in babies varies based on the underlying cause. In some cases, surgical intervention might be necessary to address issues like enlarged tonsils or adenoids. For certain cases, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy might be recommended to help keep airways open during the sleeping phase of the baby. Conclusively, consulting a paediatrician is the best option to seek the appropriate treatment for the baby.

Snoring in babies can be caused by various factors, ranging from common nasal congestion to more serious issues like sleep apnea. While some cases might resolve with simple home remedies, persistent or concerning snoring must be evaluated by a paediatrician. Monitoring the baby’s sleep patterns and being aware of any changes in the baby’s usual habits or unusual sounds is crucial. Creating a conducive sleep environment, practising safe sleep habits, and seeking medical advice when necessary are essential steps to ensure the wellbeing and healthy sleep of the little ones. Each baby is unique, and what works for one might not work for another, so it is important to approach concerns about snoring in babies with attention and care.

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