6 Newborn Sleep Noises To Know: What’s Normal and What’s Not

Navigating the world of newborn sleep noises can be both surprising and disconcerting, especially during those early nights at home. I vividly recall the first night Dave and I had both of our twin girls home from the NICU; it felt as though we were on high alert around the clock. Every little sound triggered a surge of worry – are they breathing peacefully? Did they have a small spit-up episode? Could it be a diaper change time already?

If these thoughts resonate with you, then you’re in the right place! This post was born from my own experiences and the inspiration to offer a guiding light to fellow parents facing the same concerns. So, let’s dive into six newborn sleep sounds you might encounter, shedding light on what’s completely normal and when it might be worth a second look.

4 Newborn Sleep Noises You’ll Probably Hear (Common)


In most cases, newborn sleep noises are perfectly normal.

Newborn babies make strange sounds when sleeping, from grunts and snort to cries and whimpers.

This is just how they get used to breathing with their new lungs. It’s a good sign if your infant is making noise while they sleep – it means they’re getting plenty of oxygen!

1. Grunting

It’s not exactly a cute sound, but newborns grunt in their sleep.

This happened quite a bit with our daughter, Lily Mae. I panicked the first time I heard her because it sounded like she was in pain. That said, here are a few reasons why your little one might grunt.

They are in “dreamland.”

When we dream, our bodies sometimes make little noises or movements as our brain processes all the images and information it’s taking in.

A bowel movement may be going down.

Newborns aren’t precisely regular when going to the bathroom, so they may grunt while doing their business!

It could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux (GER), also known as acid reflux.

This happens when stomach contents rise into the food pipe, which can be uncomfortable.

So if your newborn is grunting in their sleep, don’t panic! For the most part, it should be nothing to worry about.

2. Snoring

Snoring is often considered an “older person” problem, but newborns can snore, too. I was pretty baffled the first time I heard Lua do it. She was our snoring queen, and listening to her do it was darn adorable.

So why do newborn snores?

It has to do with the size of their nasal passages.

Infants have tiny nasal passages, so the slightest bit of dryness or extra mucus in their noses can make them snore or have noisy breathing. Sometimes, what sounds like snoring is how they breathe as newborns. As they grow, their breathing typically gets quieter.

infant-sleep-noises-snoring

3. Crying


It’s normal for newborns and young babies to cry during sleep for several reasons.

Their little bodies have not yet mastered the challenges of a regular sleep cycle.

So it’s common for them to wake frequently or cry out during sleep.

Crying is their primary form of communication.

Your babe may be trying to tell you they are hungry, wet, uncomfortable, or want attention.

First, try comforting them with a gentle touch or rocking them. If that doesn’t work, review your mental checklist to see if they need a bottle, diaper change, or repositioned.

If you’ve exhausted all those options and they still continue to cry, it may be a sign of something else going on, and you should consult your pediatrician.

4. Whimpering

Most of the time, when you hear a whimper, your babe is transitioning from light sleep to deep sleep.

Their brain is trying to figure out how to get into a deep slumber. This “transition” can be somewhat disruptive, causing them to whimper.

Another reason may be that they are experiencing some discomfort.

This could be due to hunger, a wet or dirty diaper, or gas.

If you feel your baby is whimpering because of discomfort, try to identify the source of the problem and address it accordingly. If you can’t figure out why usually there is nothing to worry about, your babe should stop alone.

2 Alarming Newborn Sleep Noises To Know (NOT Normal)


Now that you know what newborn sleep sounds are normal, here are a few sounds to look for.

1. Gasping for breath.

This could be a sign of respiratory distress.

While some newborns may have respiratory distress due to immature lungs, if your baby’s breathing pauses often or they stop breathing for 20 seconds or more, this could be a sign of apnea. Apnea is a potentially serious condition that can cause brain damage, so getting your babe checked out by a doctor as soon as possible is crucial.

2. Grunting after each breath.

Most grunting and groaning are perfectly OK, but if your babe grunts after each breath, it could mean their airway is blocked.

If you hear your infant make any of these two sounds, it should prompt a phone call to your pediatrician ASAP or go to the emergency room.

FAQ


Is it normal for newborns to make little noises while sleeping?

Yes, it’s entirely normal for newborns to make various noises while sleeping. These noises can range from gentle sighs and whimpers to small grunts and coos. Newborns are navigating their way through a world of new sensations and reflexes, and these noises often result from their developing respiratory systems and active dream states. As long as your baby seems comfortable and isn’t displaying signs of distress, these noises are generally part of their natural sleep cycle.

Why does my baby grunt and squirm all night?

Babies are known for their frequent squirming and grunting during sleep, which can be attributed to a combination of factors. One reason is the immaturity of their digestive systems. As they process breast milk or formula, they might experience gas, leading to subtle movements and grunts. Additionally, babies have reflexes that cause involuntary muscle twitches. These movements are often a sign of your baby’s neurological development and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

What is the best sound for a newborn to sleep?

Newborns often find comfort in sounds that mimic the environment they were accustomed to in the womb. Gentle and consistent sounds, like white noise, soft lullabies, or even the hum of a fan, can create a soothing ambiance. These sounds can help drown out sudden noises and create a consistent auditory backdrop, potentially promoting more restful sleep for your newborn.

What sound calms newborns?

Different newborns respond to various sounds, so it might take some experimentation to find what works best for your baby. Many newborns find calm in rhythmic and repetitive sounds, such as the gentle “shushing” of a caregiver, the steady beat of a heart, or the tranquil sounds of nature. These sounds can remind babies of the reassuring rhythms they experienced in the womb.

Is it OK to play white noise all night for the baby?

Using white noise to help your baby sleep is generally safe and effective, but there are a few precautions to consider. Make sure the volume level is set to a level similar to that of a soft shower or gentle breeze. Excessively loud white noise could potentially harm your baby’s hearing. Additionally, aim to place the white noise machine at a safe distance from the baby’s crib, ensuring it doesn’t disturb their sleep environment or pose any hazards.

Remember that every baby is unique, so while these answers provide general guidance, it’s important to observe and respond to your baby’s individual needs and cues.

SHOP: The Best-Selling Newborn Sleep Items


If you’re on the hunt for a little magic to help your newborn sleep more soundly (and who isn’t?), I’ve rounded up some Amazon gems that might just be your sleep-saving superheroes.

Sound Machine

First up, we’ve got the trusty sound machine – a must-have for creating that cozy, consistent environment your baby craves. And guess what? It’s not just for babies; you can sneak in a power nap too!

“On Becoming Babywise” By Robert Bucknam M.D.

Next on the list is a book that’s like a sleep whisperer – unlocking the secrets of newborn sleep patterns. Say goodbye to those head-scratching moments of ‘Why is my baby awake at 3 AM again?’

100% Cotton Newborn Swaddle

And last but not least, we’ve got the superstar swaddle – the snug-as-a-bug lifesaver that gently hugs your little one for a secure snooze.

To Wrap It Up


The first several months with your newborn are both INCREDIBLE and exhausting.

For most, newborn sleep noises shouldn’t cause you to worry. They’re merely a passing phase, that will fade into the background as your little one grows. Before you know it, those peaceful nights of uninterrupted sleep will become the NORM. Ahh, your babe will be sleeping peacefully through the night without making a peep.

So try to enjoy the moment because it will be gone in a flash. Maybe even snap a picture of that angelic little “sleeping” face.

Until the next post, I’m sending you all the positive parenting vibes!

With Gratitude,

Linds

Do you have anything to add or share about newborn sleep noises that weren’t covered in this post? Let me know in the comments below. Your input means a lot and helps other fellow parents who read this post! 

6 Newborn Sleep Noises To Know What's Normal and What's Not

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About The Author


Linds is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older brother! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation, a 510c3 that helps children across the United States with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive.

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The contents of the Mono Mono Twins Site, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the Mono Mono Twins Site (“Content”), are for informational purposes only. The Content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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