Newborn Grunting while sleeping | Why Is This Happening?

Newborn Grunting

Have you ever heard your newborn baby make grunting noises while sleeping? As a parent, this can be alarming and it can be difficult to know what’s causing it. Luckily, it is usually nothing serious and it is normal for babies to make these noises occasionally.

In this blog post, we will discuss why newborns grunt while sleeping and what parents should do if they find themselves in this situation. We’ll also provide helpful tips on how to ease your worries and keep your baby safe.

What is Newborn Grunting?

Newborn grunting is a common occurrence in infants, especially during their first few days of life. It is characterized by the baby making a low, guttural noise while breathing. This is usually not a cause for concern and is believed to be caused by the baby’s immature respiratory system. However, it is important to monitor for any other signs or symptoms of distress or illness, and consult a pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Why do newborns grunt while sleeping?

Most newborns grunt while sleeping. It is usually a normal and benign occurrence, but sometimes it can be a sign of a more serious problem.

The most likely reason your newborn is grunting while sleeping is that they are experiencing what is called the startle reflex. This reflex is common in infants and young children and causes them to jerk or flinch in response to loud noises or sudden movements. The startle reflex often happens during REM sleep, which is when most dreams occur.

While the startle reflex is the most likely cause of newborn grunting, there are other potential causes as well. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause grunting, as can certain respiratory infections. If your child has been diagnosed with GERD, their doctor may recommend medications to help relieve their symptoms. If you think your child may have an infection, please contact their doctor for further evaluation and treatment.

In most cases, newborn grunting while sleeping is nothing to worry about and will resolve on its own over time. However, if you have any concerns about your child’s health, please do not hesitate to contact their doctor for further evaluation and guidance.

What causes newborn grunting?

Newborn grunting is thought to be caused by the baby’s immature respiratory system. The muscles that control breathing are not fully developed at birth, and the newborn’s rib cage and diaphragm are also not yet fully expanded. This can make it more difficult for the baby to fully exhale, which can lead to a grunting noise.

Additionally, newborns have a higher rate of breathing than adults, which can also contribute to the grunting sound. It can also be related to congestion or nasal blockage, which can make it harder for the baby to breathe and may lead to grunting.

It is important to monitor the newborn for other signs of distress or illness, and consult a pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Home remedies

Many parents worry when they hear their newborn grunting while sleeping. Grunting is a normal part of the respiratory process for newborns and usually doesn’t indicate a problem.

  1. Suctioning the baby’s nose: If the grunting is caused by nasal congestion, suctioning the baby’s nose with a bulb syringe can help to clear the airways and make it easier for the baby to breathe.
  2. Elevating the head of the baby’s crib: Raising the head of the baby’s crib with a rolled-up blanket or towel can help to reduce nasal congestion and make it easier for the baby to breathe.
  3. Humidifying the air: Using a humidifier in the baby’s room can help to moisturize the air and reduce nasal congestion.
  4. Gentle massage: Gently massaging the baby’s chest and back can help to loosen any congestion and make it easier for the baby to breathe.
  5. Lots of skin-to-skin contact with the mother: This can help the baby to feel more secure and calm and also help to regulate their breathing.

If your newborn is healthy and just seems to grunt while sleeping, there’s no need to be concerned. However, if you have any concerns, always speak to your doctor.

Is grunting a sign of a medical condition?

When a newborn baby grunts, it usually means they are learning how to have a bowel movement. This grunting is perfectly normal and generally has no cause for concern. However, if your baby is grunting and also has other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, it could be a sign of a medical condition and you should contact your pediatrician.


Newborn grunting while sleeping can be an alarming experience for new parents, but it’s important to remember that it is a normal part of infant development. Grunting helps babies regulate their breathing and digest food more easily. But if you’re ever concerned about your baby’s health or well-being, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor or midwife. With the right understanding and knowledge about newborn grunting, you’ll feel confident and reassured that your little one is safe and healthy.

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