Is it Normal for a Newborn to Grunt?

Newborn Baby Grunting

Newborns don’t talk but they have a language of their own, which they use to communicate with their parents. But sometimes they make certain strange noises which can be a cause of worry for their parents. If you have a newborn in your house, the occasional grunts coming from him might make you think that he is in pain, but that may not be true, not always. It is normal for babies to grunt but if your baby grunts with every breath or is distressed, you must consult a doctor.

Why Do Newborns Grunt?

Usually, newborns grunt when they have issues related to digestion. They may also grunt when they are learning to have a bowel movement.

Why Do Newborns Grunt?

Is it Normal for a Newborn to Grunt?

Most of the times, a baby grunts because his organs are still developing. What really happens is that his body is closing the larynx, and the diaphragm goes down. The grunting that happens because of this process is absolutely normal. At times, a baby may grunt if he has constipation. If this is the case with your baby, you will notice that his face will turn red. You will also notice his uncomfortable body movements. You must take him to a doctor if he is uncomfortable.

Sometimes, your little one may make noises if he wants to communicate with you or he might do it for fun. If this is the case, you don’t need to worry at all. Your little one is just having a good time playing with you.

Sometimes, your baby may grunt if he has indigestion problem or some other health issue. This is known as grunting baby syndrome. At times, you will also notice your baby grunting while sleeping. And this is absolutely normal as the baby’s respiratory system is still in the process of maturing. The rate at which the baby breathes while sleeping is a lot slower than he does while he is awake, and this is what causes grunting noises and even shallow breaths.

Causes of Grunting in Infants

Babies make different noises for different things. Although usually babies grunt if they have a problem in their digestive system, at times, they may grunt because of various other reasons.

1. Delay in the Development of Organs

Sometimes premature babies have organs that are still not mature. Grunting can be a sign of the baby’s body getting accustomed to the system.

2. Respiratory Problems

Neonatal respiratory distress is a condition that occurs when the baby’s respiratory organs have not matured completely. This is more likely to happen in premature babies, but it can happen to babies who have had normal birth as well. One major sign of this condition is grunting which is accompanied by other signs like the colour of the skin turning blue, unusual breathing movements, and nasal flaring.

3. Heart Issues

Sometimes a baby might grunt if he has heart problems. As the fluid builds up in the lungs of the baby, he may face difficulty in breathing and thus may grunt.

4. Sepsis

Sepsis is a serious condition where a baby is affected by an infection that runs in the blood. This condition is accompanied by other signs like loud grunting, which happens because of breathing difficulty.

When to Consult a Doctor

If your baby is grunting because of digestion-related problems, you can ignore it. You can try home remedies to provide him relief from gas or digestion-related problems. But you should pay attention and take him to a doctor if he grunts all the time.

He may grunt because of some serious health issues like respiratory problems or even heart failure. Here are a few signs that you need to look out for.

  • Difficulty in Breathing: Grunting in infants can be a sign of medical condition if the baby grunts too often. If you notice that your baby is experiencing difficulty in breathing, then you should consult a doctor as it could be a sign of respiratory conditions.
  • Skin Turning Blue: If your baby’s breathing pattern disrupts unusually, you will notice his skin turning blue. You should take him to a doctor in this case.
  • Signs of Illness: When a baby struggles with some problems in their body, he might make different noises and will also grunt. When grunting is accompanied by other issues like fever, shortness of breath, indigestion, then you need to take him to a doctor.

What Are the Remedies?

Grunting in babies is normal as long as it is not because of a serious problem. If it is not because of some serious health problem, here are some remedies that you can try to help your baby:

  • After you nurse the baby, keep him up-right and allow him to relax for some time.
  • Feed your baby in smaller portions through the day rather than feeding him too much in one go.
  • Note down the signs that are accompanied by grunting and also track whether his grunting is increasing or decreasing. Meet your paediatrician regarding these issues.

As a parent, no doubt, you will worry if your baby grunts more than often. But you need not panic as grunting is normal. However, if you feel that your baby grunts too often and for too long, you should consult a doctor. 

Also Read: Gas Problem in Babies