2:14 min| 545,865 views
If your baby snores or makes other odd sounds while sleeping, it's usually nothing to worry about. Dr. Dawn Rosenberg describes – and demonstrates – what normal and abnormal breathing sound like in babies. If you're concerned about your baby's breathing, be sure to mention it to your baby's doctor. There's a rare chance that your baby could have a disorder called sleep apnea.
Dr. Dawn Rosenberg, M.D., FAAP, is a board-certified general pediatrician in San Francisco. She is very committed to teaching and is actively involved in medical student and resident education as an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at University of California, San Francisco.
Believe it or not, it's totally normal for your baby to snore. When babies breathe, they make lots of funny noises, especially while they sleep. The reason for all this snoring is because babies have small, narrow noses and airways that fill up with mucus and secretions and even milk. As air passes through these secretions, it will make snoring sounds. Also, babies prefer to breathe through their noses instead of their mouths. This is a handy habit that lets them breathe and nurse at the same time.
Snoring sounds may be musical or snorty or even snuffling. They'll sound something like this …
There should not be long pauses between a baby's breaths or gasps for air. Rarely, snoring may be a sign of something more serious. For example, it may be a nose or airway abnormality, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which are smaller tonsils in the back of the nose, and these can cause sleep apnea. In sleep apnea, you would have loud snoring with prolonged pauses in breathing. Here's an example …
Some babies are born with floppy upper airways and underdeveloped cartilage. In this case, breathing through the trachea and larynx can cause wheezy breathing or a noise called stridor, which sounds like this …
Some infants snore from a stuffy nose, from a cold, or an allergy. This is not likely a sign of anything serious. But if you do notice any of these signs or are worried about sleep apnea, it's definitely worth seeing your pediatrician. And it would be very helpful to record sounds of your baby snoring so that your doctor can take a listen.
Just remember, it's totally normal for your baby to snore. I'm always telling my families that babies sound like small piglets in their first few months of life, and that's totally okay.
Video production by Paige Bierma.