Baby Sneezing – Reasons and When to Worry

A baby sneezing

Is your little one sniffling? Sure it’s cute listening to those funny sounds every once in a while. However, it may also indicate a deeper problem, either with her or the environment that she is in; Let’s have a look.

Is Newborn Baby Sneezing Normal?

Just like a grown-up sneezing is considered normal, so is a newborn baby’s sneezing too. It is a reflex action which happens to clear the dust particles in the nasal passage or to remove congestion in the respiratory system. The air we inhale is filled with dust particles, chemicals, pollutants, germs, and other impurities which needs to be cleaned through sneezing. So, if your 2-month old baby is coughing and sneezing with no fever or other symptoms, there is no need to worry. It’s very common.

Instead of being worried about the frequent sneezes you should be happy that your baby’s body is reacting in a natural way. Sneezing leads to ejection of dust particles and impurities that are clogged in the tiny nasal passage of your baby. Sneezing will keep the flow of air in and out of her nasal passage in a natural way.

What Causes Sneezing in Babies?

Every newborn baby has a totally different pattern of breathing. For instance, some babies may take rapid short spurts of air and then slowly steady their breathing. It takes a little while for your little one to master the art of breathing normally. Sneezing is a common phenomenon in newborns. However, the most common causes for sneezing in babies can be:

1. Clearance of Impurities in the Nose

Naturally newly born babies breathe through their nose. It takes them around 3-4 months to breathe through their mouth. It is difficult for them to make a sudden transition from nose breathing to mouth breathing. Hence, babies need to sneeze quite often to clear their nose and resume their normal breathing pattern.

2. Tiny Nose

Your little bundle of joy has a cute tiny nose, with a narrow nasal passage which can easily attract dust particles from the atmosphere. So, therefore a baby often sneezes to clear her nasal pathway.

3. Unclogging of a Blocked Nostril

Babies often suffer from a clogged nostril. This happens because while nursing the baby, she is gently pressed towards the mother which causes its tiny nostrils to get pressed or flattened. This causes a temporary block in the nostrils of the baby which gets unclogged by sneezing.

A baby girl's clogged nostrils

4. Presence of Irritants in the Air

Irritants present in the air causes irritation to grown-up adults. So just think about the misery of our little ones who are unable to mouth their troubles. The irritants like cigarette or tobacco smoke, strong colognes or perfumes, dust particles, etc. can be a cause of sneezing. Even the milk which baby vomits can enter the nostril and cause irritation and sneezing. And as we know that babies won’t be able to snort or sniff to remove the impurities, they eventually have to sneeze. In order to prevent this, you can always keep your house ventilated. You can either install exhaust fans in your house or keep the windows open frequently for better air circulation. For best results convert your house into a no smoking zone for the sake of your little one.

5. Fever or Illness

Sneezing in babies can also be a sign of a cold. The most common symptoms of cold are upper tract respiratory infections, sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge. Due to a weak immune system babies can easily catch a cold from other members of the family. So parents must ensure that anyone who is holding the baby washes their hands properly with a disinfectant prior to holding the baby. Alternatively, you can also use anti-histamines as per the doctor’s prescription. Also, once infected with cold, immediate treatment is required to prevent severe infection.

6. Dry Air

Newborns have a tiny nasal passage, due to this, the mucus in the nose dries easily. You may witness this more in the winter months or at dry places, or in air-conditioned rooms. As a result, the baby sneezes. In order to avoid this, parents can use a vaporiser that will reduce the nasal dryness in babies.

7. Due to Some Allergy

Hay fever can also be one of the causes if your baby is sneezing frequently. Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever causes nasal congestion. The impure particles in the atmosphere cause allergic reactions which lead to hay fever. It can also occur due to dust, insect bites, or animal hair. This can be avoided by protecting babies from foreign particles and allergies. Since it is not practically possible to do so, you may also use anti-histamines as per doctor’s prescriptions.

When to Worry?

Babies sneeze quite frequently in a day and at times in a row which is again very normal. But if your baby has a runny nose and is sneezing all the time and shows symptoms of a cough and fever, then you must consult your paediatrician immediately. Also, if your baby suffers from the following symptoms then she requires immediate medical attention:

  • If your baby is breathing very fast or is panting for breath, it means she is finding it difficult to breathe. Consult a doctor soon.
  • Forceful chest movements and straining while breathing is also a sign of illness and difficulty in breathing.
  • If your baby seems to eat less than she used to before and also feels less energetic then it is better you consult a doctor and get a checkup done.
  • If your baby is sleeping more than the usual 8-10 hours of a day and has low energy levels you must consult your doctor immediately.

Other common signs which newborn babies experience include hiccups while sleeping, rattling noises while sleeping and breathing, etc. Some babies even make funny noises while sleeping which can also be considered as baby snores. But remember there is no reason to panic till you witness some very serious signs of illness. Regular doctor visits and detailed discussion regarding the baby breathing patterns will put your mind at ease.

Newborns are full of mystery and it is a joyful ride unravelling this mystery, so just keep calm and enjoy this journey of parenthood. Happy parenting!

Also Read: Hiccups in Babies