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Why Does My Baby Snore and Snoring Prevention?

Smiling baby staring into camera

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The best part of being a parent is witnessing and cherishing the memories of watching your baby grow and develop. Babies are cherubic, sweet, and the most innocent things on Earth.

As a parent, some of your most emotionally warming memories of your child may just be watching them sleep peacefully.

However, there may be nothing peaceful about watching your baby sleep if it starts snoring. For one thing, it's not the most heartwarming memory you want to develop of watching your baby sleep.

Also, it may startle you. 

Newborn parents must become adept at discerning every action their baby makes to figure out their attitude and health. 

As a parent, you will practically have to become an expert at deciphering the smell, color, and texture and your baby's poop to get a baseline understanding of their health.

So, should you be worried if your lovely, innocent, and cherubic little baby starts snoring loudly in its sleep?

Well, the answer is yes and no.

Sleep Disordered Breathing in Babies

You may be worried if your baby starts snoring because we imagine that snoring is something that most adults do. But your worrying should only be limited to sound aesthetics. About 25% of children and babies snore infrequently or frequently.

Snoring is not something that adults do exclusively. So, besides shattering a personal and heartwarming image of a cherubic baby in slumber, a snoring baby is not necessarily a strange thing. 

However, while you don't necessarily need to be worried, you should be vigilant. 

Many babies and young children struggle with sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep-disordered breathing is an umbrella medical term for various sleeping conditions that cause restricted, disruptive, and sometimes temporarily obstructive breathing during sleep.

And we are not trivializing the serious health threats that a baby can encounter. About 3,400 babies die from SIDS annually.

Still, if your baby is a snorer, your baby may just be a snorer. There may be a minor medical issue related to snoring, so you should consult with your doctor when in doubt.

But about 70% of babies and young children with sleep-disordered breathing are just heavy snorers. And it may manifest itself early as a breathing trait as they sleep.

Let's discuss why your baby may snore and some prevention strategies.

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Related: What To Know About Baby Growth Spurts

Causes of Baby and Toddler Snoring

Mother holding up a sleepy baby.

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Get accustomed to your baby's moods. A baby's inherent personality develops within the first months of life. And their patterns of sleeping and sleep cycles develop early as well.

Newborn babies are inherently noisy sleepers. Think about it - babies are accustomed to breathing amniotic fluid when in utero. And after they are born, it takes time for them to readjust their basic in utero breathing instincts and learn how to breathe air naturally and regularly.

When your baby was born, one of the first things your doctor, nurse, or midwife did was clear their mouth, make sure their lungs were clear of fluid and listen to it cry. Your baby's first cry is also its first time breathing air outside of the womb.

As your baby learns to breathe, it may naturally learn to become a snorer. They may learn to grow out of it or not.

But here are some reasons why your baby may be snoring.

Allergies and Infections

Your baby could be snoring because it has some undiagnosed allergic reaction or infection.

Allergic reactions and infections can cause severe inflammation in their throat, breathing passages, or lungs. And in such situations, their breathing passage and the tissue in their nostrils can become inflamed and constricted.

It then becomes much harder to breathe for your baby. However, such allergic or infection-based inflammation may not necessarily be life-threatening. It may just be so bad that your baby starts snoring as a result.

Look inside your baby's nostrils and mouth for any signs of inflammation. Do you have a medical history of allergies and allergic reactions? Then you may have genetically passed on such medical issues to your baby. 

Get your baby tested and checked out for potential allergy concerns or infections.

Tonsils, Adenoids, and Deviated Septums 

Tonsils are two tiny bag-shaped glads located at the back of the mouth and over the throat entrance. If you have ever watched any old-school 2-D cartoons from the 20th century, then you have seen cartoon characters using someone else's tonsils like a punching bag.

Unless you have had them surgically removed, you can see your tonsils if you open your mouth wide and look into a mirror.

Adenoids are glands that look like fleshy patches of tissue. The adenoids can be found at the back of the throat and usually above where the tonsils are located. You can't see your adenoid glands because they are located in the back of the throat.

The tonsils and adenoid glands are part of the human immune system. And these glands create antibodies that help the human body fight germs, viruses, and infections.

If the tonsils and adenoids become infected, then they will become inflamed and enlarged. And this inflammation in your tiny baby's throat could be the cause of the snoring.

The septum is a vertical slant of cartilage that separates the nostrils into two chambers. The septum can deviate from the center and make one nostril's interior larger than the other. And when this happens, snoring can result. 

You may not be able to discern these problems yourself visually, so get your baby checked out by a doctor when in doubt.

Sleep Apnea

Normal breathing occurs when oxygen is inhaled via the mouth or nose and then ferried down to the lungs. It is an instinctual action.

Sleep apnea occurs when airways become blocked and disrupted by soft tissue in the mouth and throat. And this blockage, or the tendency for the body to stop breathing during slumber, becomes somewhat instinctual.

Get your baby medically checked out immediately if you suspect it has this problem.

Different sleep positions or wearing an oxygen mask are current treatments for the problem.

Asthma in Children

Your baby may have asthma. And it may have inherited it genetically if you have it.

Your doctor has many options to help your baby if it develops asthma. 

Smaller Nasal Passages

Babies have tiny bodies, mouths, nasal passages, and interior breathing pathways. 

It may start snoring because it is so tiny, and its body has not grown enough to handle breathing without snoring.

Is snoring in young children ever a cause for concern?

Most of the time, snoring babies is nothing to worry about.

If your baby temporarily stops breathing between snores, gains weight, or easily gets winded, then consider getting them checked out.

Steps to Take to Ease Snoring in Small Children

You can get HEPA air filters to ensure your home is devoid of polluted or contaminated air.

Monitor their sleep cycles and change their sleeping position as they snore. And stay and watch them sleep, especially if you are worried they are developing breathing problems. 

Keep pets out of the baby's room for a few weeks. You can then see if they have an allergy to pet dander.

You could install a folded blanket at the head of the mattress, so the baby sleeps at a very slight incline. Elevating your baby's head slightly may help them to breathe easier.

Important Care Instructions for the Snoring Baby at Home

Make sure that their sleep environment is as quiet as possible.

Prime their environment for sleep. 

Dim the lights.

Turn off any electronics or toys that may make noise.

And develop a consistent sleep schedule so that their body develops a pattern and rhythm for sleeping naturally.

Conclusion

Parent tenderly holding their sleeping baby.

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

We get it - watching your baby snore may not be the most comforting thing to experience as a parent. 

But it is important to accept that a snoring baby is not necessarily abnormal.

Take your baby to get medically checked out when in doubt if it's snoring seems like a concern to you.

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Related: Is My Baby's Poop Normal? When To Call A Doctor