Newborn Sleep Noises Explained – Here’s Why Not To Worry
Newborn sleep noises can be pretty surprising – and sometimes even alarming.
When we brought our twin girls home from the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), that first night, my hubs and I were up CONSTANTLY. With every little noise, our paranoia set in. Are they breathing? Did they spit up? Did they poop?
If any of these questions ring true then this post is for you (hence, why I was inspired to write it). 🙂
So let’s get to it. Here are newborn sleep noises explained from what’s normal to what’s not.
Newborn Sleep Noises
In most cases, newborn sleep noises are perfectly normal.
Newborn babies tend to make all sorts of strange sounds when they’re sleeping, from grunts and snorts to cries and whimpers.
This is just their way of trying to get used to breathing with their new lungs. In fact, it’s actually a good sign if your infant is making noise while they sleep – it means they’re getting plenty of oxygen!
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. With that said, here are a few reasons why your little one might be grunting.
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 exactly regular when it comes to going to the bathroom, so they may grunt a bit while they’re 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, and it can be pretty uncomfortable.
So if your newborn is grunting in their sleep, don’t panic! For the most part, it should be nothing to worry about.
Snoring is often thought of as 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 it was darn adorable to hear her do it.
So why do newborn snores?
It has to do with the size of their nasal passages.
Infants have very small nasal passages, so the least bit of dryness or extra mucus in their noses can make them snore or have noisy breathing. Sometimes, what sounds like snoring is just how they breathe as a newborn. As they grow, their breathing typically gets quieter.
It’s normal for newborns and young babies to cry during sleep for a number of 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 main form of communication.
Your babe may be trying to tell you they are hungry, wet, uncomfortable, or just want attention.
First, try comforting them with a gentle touch or rocking them. If that doesn’t work, go down 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.
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 sort of 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 and your babe should stop on their own.
What’s NOT Normal
Now that you know what newborn sleep sounds are normal, here are a few sounds to be on the lookout for.
Gasping for breath.
This could be a sign of respiratory distress.
While some newborns may have respiratory distress due to their 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 it is important to get your babe checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
Grunting after each breath.
Most grunting and groaning is perfectly OK but if your babe is grunting after each breath they take 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.
To Wrap It Up
The first several months with your newborn are both INCREDIBLE and exhausting.
For the most part, newborn sleep noises shouldn’t cause you to worry. This is just a phase that won’t last forever. Soon enough, 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. 🙂
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!
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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 with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive). ♥
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