Baby Groaning In Sleep – What Causes It

baby grunting in sleep

When a baby begins yelling in sleep, it often seems as though they are in great pain or discomfort. But that may not always be the case, since newborns tend to grunt in sleep when they first learn to pass air on their own. Another situation, where a baby might start vocalizing in bed at night, is if baby starts having trouble breathing. In either case, baby grunting in bed can be a sign of a number of different health problems, including asthma, bronchitis, colic, and reflux.

Baby’s Windpipe Or Tonsil

A cat sleeping on top of a wooden table

One of the main causes of baby grunting in sleep is when a baby’s windpipe or tonsil area is blocked. This can often be a result of a cold, although sometimes a baby can get this blockage because of bad eating habits or a phlegm build-up from the mouthwash he or she was using. If your baby is having trouble breathing at night, then one of the best cures for this problem is to change his or her eating habits so that he or she doesn’t have to worry about eating poorly at night.

A second cause of baby grunting in sleep is when the esophagus is irritated. This happens most often with colicky babies who suck on their thumb or lick their cheeks. While it is frustrating for parents to hear, this is also an easy cure. Simply place a wet washcloth in the baby’s feeding area. Then, gently wipe the toddler’s face so that irritation doesn’t occur any further.

Sleep Apnea

A young boy sitting on a bed

One last cause of the constant baby grunting in sleep is a condition known as sleep apnea. This occurs when the baby’s airway becomes blocked during sleep. This makes the baby struggle to breathe and makes noisy noises. There are several remedies to help a baby who is suffering from sleep apnea. These include giving the baby extra stimulation by playing with his or her toys or talking gently to him or her.

Other common causes of baby grunting in sleep include gasping for breath after nursing, waking due to no wind and being suddenly let go. This condition is also known as “bobbing” where the baby will cry out for air before, during and after nursing. Some babies who suffer from sleep apnea tend to wake up in the middle of the night holding their own breath.

Catching Mucus

Another cause of the constant baby grunting in sleep is catching mucus. This usually happens after infants suck on their thumb or brush their teeth. When the airways become blocked with caught mucus, the babies’ airways become swollen and they start to make loud noises.

To stop this noise that baby makes in his sleep, gently turn over the baby to his or her back. Make sure the baby has a firm grasp on pillows or blankets so he or she does not fall off the bed. As soon as the baby begins to make more noise, immediately turn over the baby again so he or she has a secure hold on pillows or blankets. If the above steps do not work, seek medical attention to determine the cause of your baby’s persistent baby grunting in sleep.

Bottom Line

A medical professional can run tests and check to see what is causing your baby to cry out in his sleep. It could be a condition known as “stiffness of the bronchial tube” which is also known as infant spasm. In this condition, the baby’s bronchial tube does not completely close when taking a deep breath. It will stay open for a brief period of time but will eventually close again. The condition has been shown to cause coughing and noisy breathing.

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