Newborn Nighttime Grunting: Causes and Dealing Ways

Newborn infants often suffer from irregular breathing and sleep patterns that may cause distress in their parents. In majority of the cases, grunting and other types of noises are usually harmless. However, in some cases, they may indicate a serious medical condition. Hence, it’s imperative to be aware of the signs and causes so that you can reach your baby’s pediatrician in time.

What Causes Newborn Grunting at Night?

  1. Bowel Movements

Your newborn baby may be having bowel movements during sleep. The noise and grunting could be due to that; hence, you should check their diaper. Newborns grunt while passing stools as the muscles of their tummy are not developed fully so they require more effort in pushing the stool out. Also make sure whether your baby is suffering from constipation, as in that case, they may need help.

Some of the signs and symptoms of constipation:

  1. Dreaming

Your newborn baby may grunt as they may be having dreams. Even newborn babies dream too and this may cause newborn grunting at night.

  1. Sickness/Illness

If your newborn is making a grunting sound at the end of each breath, they may be having difficulty in breathing or taking in air. You should call the physician for possible medical conditions such as sepsis, heart failure, meningitis or respiratory distress.

Observe your baby carefully. If your infant is showing the following signs, it could indicate a problem of the respiratory tract and requires immediate medical help.

  1. Acid Reflux

Also referred to as gastro esophageal reflux (GERD), this condition occurs because the muscular valve guarding the gastroesophageal junction in still underdeveloped in newborns, which makes the passage of milk, food or acids from stomach to esophagus easy. You can apply the following practices, which may help relieve acid reflux:

  1. Small Nasal Passages

Everything in a newborn baby is narrow and small. Even the nasal passages in a newborn are narrow during the initial few weeks. Due to this mucus is trapped in the passages creating a sound effect, which is heard as newborn grunting at night.


Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome is a fatal illness, which occurs when an infant’s lungs are not matured completely. Though it is common in babies born prematurely, still it can occur in full term babies as well. Signs of this syndrome include blue colored skin, reduced urinary output, pauses in between breathing (brief), nasal flaring, unusual movements while breathing such as drawing in muscles of chest and grunting. If you observe signs of this syndrome or your baby does not breathe for greater than 10 seconds, immediately make a call to 911.

Home Remedies That May Help

What Can You Do About Baby Grunting?

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