Baby snuffly after feed

Why didn't anyone tell me about all the noises newborns can make?

I still remember bringing my firstborn daughter home. I had read every book I could get my hands on, I was a pediatrician-in-training and I had worked with children my entire life, leading up to that moment. I felt about as prepared as they come. The first two nights in the hospital were a breeze, as they often are, because children have a funny sense of humor. They love to give their parents a false sense of security. It is just like when they come to the doctor's office and act completely healthy, when five minutes ago, at home, you were wondering if you needed to take them to the emergency room because they looked deathly ill. Don't worry folks, this pediatrician is a mom too; your kids don't fool me.

The first night at home with my first baby, I slept with one eye open. A million thoughts raced through my mind, but I noticed one recurring theme: What's that noise? Is that a grunt? Is that her breathing? What was this noise now? Is that a pant? Wait, I haven't heard this one before. It felt like every time I had gotten used to the baby noises she made, a new one would emerge. If it wasn't one thing, it was another, and it kept me up all night. My husband, on the other hand, was the complete opposite of me. It was as if "fatherhood" was a natural sleeping aid for him. I jokingly tell him he sleeps like a corpse. I often tell my patients that both our children "slept through the night" on a night when I was on call at the hospital and he was at home with them. I'm pretty certain he just slept through all their crying and crowned himself father of the year, which was not quite the way I wanted to sleep-train them. But, neither of them seem to feel neglected or traumatized.

In my daily practice at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Fall Creek, I often reassure new parents about the noises newborns can make (and that keep mothers up all night). These noises are rarely explained in baby books and most people don't warn us about them. These noises are also normal. Here are some of the possible things your cute little bundle may be doing in the wee hours of the morning:

Nasal congestion

This is so common there is actually a medical term for it, "nasal congestion of the newborn. " Babies have tiny little nasal passages and can sound very congested in the first few weeks of life. They are also "obligate nose breathers," which means they only know how to breathe out of their mouths when they are crying. The rest of the time, they breathe through their nose, which is why we notice this congestion. This nasal congestion is typically normal and can be remedied with a cool mist humidifier in the room, as well as nasal saline spray.


Hiccups are a very common and innocent occurrence in newborns (and people of all ages)! They are thought to be due to a stimulation or irritation of a nerve called the phrenic nerve. This typically can be due to programed exercises of the lungs. Babies can even practice this in the womb. Most mothers can recall their babies having hiccups in the womb as well. Hiccups are less and less frequent the older infants get. They are also typically harmless.


This is usually a louder sound, often described more like wheezing. It is more pronounced when babies are laying down, and typically starts after a few weeks and improves over a few months. Your pediatrician can help you in this diagnosis; however, this is also very common and typically harmless.

Periodic breathing of the newborn

Do you ever wonder why your baby seems to pant at times and hold his or her breath at others? It's just a sign of a healthy baby with a growing and developing brain!


It’s no mystery that all babies have reflux, some worse than others. Reflux can cause fussiness, back arching , a lot of spit up and sometimes even a gurgling noise after feeds (or in sleep).

In summary, most of the noises your baby makes are perfectly normal. Warning signs of something more serious can include blue or purple lips, a baby holding his/her breathe for more than 20 seconds at a time or fever in the first 28 days of life. Your pediatrician will make sure your baby is growing and that their exam is normal during all your scheduled wellness appointments.

But I will let you in on a little secret: The first time your child sleeps soundlessly through the night, you'll be up all night wondering why they are so quiet and worrying if they are even breathing and if everything is OK. It's just in the mommy DNA. And if your husband is anything like mine, he’ll STILL be snoring through the entire thing.

Baby Sounds Congested but No Mucus? Causes, Treatments, and More

While the sniffles and snuffles that go along with congestion aren’t a medical emergency the first time you hear them from your own baby, it can sure feel like it.

Especially if your baby sounds congested but you don’t see any boogers or mucus in their nose, it may seem like a problem without a solution.

So what’s going on with your baby and how do you help them?

Healthy babies can often sound congested simply because they’re tiny new people with baby-sized systems, including miniature nasal passages. Just like those itty-bitty fingers and toes, their nostrils and airways are extra small.

It doesn’t take much for these teeny pathways to become affected by minor dryness or by just a bit of clear mucus. This may simply be a normal part of their growth and development.

But there are things that can affect the amount of congestion they have, and knowing what those are may help you relieve some of their sniffles with home treatments — or signal when you should call the doctor.

Here are some factors that increase the chances of chances of congestion:

  • Preemie babies. The air passages of preemies are even smaller than those of your average newborn. This may make slightly noisy breathing even more likely.
  • Air irritants. Think tobacco or cooking smoke, heavy perfumes, room aromatherapy diffusers, or fumes from household cleaning products, paint, or varnish. These can irritate your baby’s nasal passages.
  • Dry air. Low humidity can dry out and irritate nasal passages. This can be a result of using your home’s heating system or simply living in an arid climate.
  • Weather changes. Waving goodbye to summer heat may sound like fun, but when the drop in temperature brings low humidity and dry air, your baby is more likely to sound congested.

What about illness?

Not all congestion is part and parcel of nasal passages that need to grow up. Sometimes, congestion can be related to illness and may even develop deeper in your baby’s chest.

This congestion can be due to illness such as:

  • a cold
  • flu
  • respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Congestion that affects your baby’s breathing or moves into baby’s lungs may signal a more complex condition such as:

  • bronchiolitis
  • pneumonia
  • asthma
  • cystic fibrosis (typically identified during newborn screenings.)

Several things can signal that your baby has congested nasal passages. Here’s what to look out for:

  • sniffles and snuffles
  • slightly blocked or runny nose
  • noisy breathing
  • snoring when asleep
  • touch of difficulty when feeding
  • light coughing

With these light symptoms you, at least, can breathe easy. Look for other signs that may indicate illness, like fever or vomiting, to determine whether to call the doctor.

If your baby has any of the following symptoms, you’ve got some reason for concern:

  • The sniffling turns into labored breathing.
  • You can hear wheezing that makes it sound like each breath is an effort.
  • Your baby’s nostrils flare in and out every time they breathe.
  • Your baby’s chest retracts with each breath.

If your baby is demonstrating any of these symptoms, call the doctor right away.

Sometimes your baby may sound congested, but, try as you may, you can’t see much mucus. What gives? The first step is to look for any other signs of illness.

  • Does your baby have a fever?
  • Is your baby listless?
  • Have your baby’s diapers been sufficiently wet and frequent?
  • Does your baby refuse to breastfeed or reject their bottle?
  • Does their congestion interfere with their sleep?

If you see any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor to determine the best treatments to help your baby.

On the other hand, if your baby seems generally content and is eating, sleeping, and dirtying diapers regularly, you may not need to do anything but wait for the congestion to pass. In some cases doing too much (like frequent use of a nasal aspirator) can irritate the nose further.

If you’re looking for a way to help a fussy congested baby, you may want to start with some of the home remedies below.

Home remedies to ease congestion

You may not see any mucus in your baby’s nose, but that doesn’t mean it might not be there. Since your baby spends so much time lying on their back, mucus can easily collect in the back of their nose or throat, causing the sniffling you don’t want to hear.

These home remedies may ease congestion:

  • Warm baths. A calming bath in warm water can help clear congestion.
  • Saline drops. A few saline drops in each nostril can help to loosen and thin the mucus. Thank your lucky stars if your baby sneezes and releases the mucus independently.
  • Nasal bulb syringes or nasal aspirators. If your baby isn’t sneezing on their own to clean things out you can clear away the excess mucus mechanically by using a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator.
  • Cool mist humidifier. A humidifier can prevent dry air from irritating your baby’s nasal passages.
  • Positioning. Hold or wear your baby, or put your baby in the swing when they’re awake so they’re spending less time flat on their back. Do not place anything in the crib with your baby to position them as that can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Facial massage. Use your thumb to gently massage the nasal bridge, forehead, temples, and cheekbones. This may help drain the nasal passages.
  • Clean air. Clear away dust, allergens, and pollutants. Clean air and clean surfaces can reduce your baby’s exposure to irritants. Throw open your windows and go on a housecleaning spree.

While some people may recommend vapor rub, at least one study suggests that it’s not the best choice for babies and should be avoided.

The same goes for the various cold medications that are available over the counter — stick to the home remedies listed above or consult your doctor about other treatment options.

While you’ll want to keep an eye out to ensure that nothing else is in the wings, usually a congested nose in your baby is simply part of their growth process. As they get a bit bigger it’s likely to simply resolve itself.

If you’re concerned, check with your baby’s pediatrician and discuss whether further treatment is needed.

Is it worth worrying if a small child sniffles?

  1. Causes of nasal sniffing in children
  • Sniffle with runny nose
  • Nose sniffle without coryza
  • Newborn sniffs in sleep
  • Adenoids in children
  • Which doctor to contact if sniffles in the nose
  • Treatment of sniffing in a child
  • It is difficult to find a mother of a newborn baby who would not listen with bated breath to how her child breathes in a dream. If, as in the old song, "snub noses sniff" quietly and evenly, then there is no cause for concern. However, it happens that the sniffing of a small nose is alarming and alarming. The reasons why this happens are varied. This can be both a natural and safe process of the formation of nasal passages, and symptoms of the disease. nine0021

    Causes of nasal sniffling in children

    A newborn sniffs through his nose in his sleep because the nasal passages are still too narrow. Air, passing through them, causes a certain noise, which then appears, then disappears. Sniffing is a fairly common occurrence in babies. If the baby sniffs through his nose, but at the same time eats normally, does not worry, does not cry and does not wake up from sniffing, then there is no need to worry. Time will pass, the development of the nasal passages will be completed, the sinuses will form, and the sniffing will pass. nine0021

    Sniffle with runny nose

    This condition is dangerous for babies, as they still do not know how to breathe through their mouths. Mucus blocks the air, little oxygen enters the body. The kid tries to inhale, but only sniffles and coughs. Since a child up to a year cannot blow his nose on his own, he begins to cry, refuse to eat, and does not sleep well. Before making a diagnosis, the child can be helped: hold him in an upright position, carefully clean the nose with cotton flagella with saline. nine0021

    Allergic reactions are a common reason that a child sniffs his nose.

    Nose sniffle without runny nose

    If sniffing is not caused by viruses or bacteria, the cause may be too dry air in the apartment during the heating season or hot summer. A large number of dried crusts collect in the nasal passages, passing through which the air provokes noise.

    A parched mucosa is a place where viruses, bacteria, dust from the air enter uncontrollably. The trachea, bronchi and lungs suffer from this, and the risk of developing respiratory diseases increases. nine0021

    It is necessary to fight this. Regular wet cleaning, airing will help to establish normal humidity. You can hang wet towels in the room, on heaters, or use special humidifiers.

    To maintain the natural moisture of the mucosa, the baby's nose is instilled with special products based on sea water. It is necessary to instill, and not use a spray, since a strong jet can damage unformed nasal passages and mucous membranes. After that, with a cotton flagellum, it is necessary to remove the dried crusts. nine0021

    Sniffing in parallel with "grunting" sometimes appears in babies after feeding, if the child remains in a horizontal position. Natural regurgitation in this case will throw food debris into the back of the nasal passages, which will lead to infection in the paranasal sinuses. The development of an inflammatory process in them can cause ethmoiditis, sinusitis, frontal sinusitis and other pathologies.

    In this case, it is important to follow the recommendations of pediatricians. After each feeding, the baby should be held upright for 15–20 minutes until the air trapped during eating is released. nine0021

    Newborn sniffles while sleeping

    Serious alertness should be caused by the strange sound of a child breathing in a dream. If whistling or hissing sounds, groans are mixed with the usual inhalation and exhalation, the newborn sniffles and “grunts” with his nose, we are talking about stridor - a condition that threatens the health and life of the child. Air passes through the respiratory tract, in which the narrowed area is located. Stridor signals that the trachea or larynx is abnormally narrow and requires immediate medical attention. nine0021

    Modern studies note a high percentage of congenital stridor. This means that an early visit to the doctor will help solve the problem.

    Adenoids in children

    The space of the nasopharynx is lined with lymphoid tissue. If it begins to grow rapidly, the air passage is blocked in the nose, and the child is forced to breathe through the mouth.

    Adenoids - the so-called proliferation of lymphoid tissue - entail a wide range of ailments and problems in the development of children. Appearing in babies aged three to ten years, adenoids cause frequent colds and inflammation of the respiratory tract. Bronchitis, laryngitis, tracheitis or pharyngitis, deplete the child's body. The child is prone to otitis, which leads to hearing problems. The process is accompanied by adenoid cough. nine0021

    If the growth of the nasopharyngeal tonsils becomes chronic, children suffer from adenoiditis. Less oxygen gets to the brain, and this can lead to speech disorders and problems with school performance.

    The appearance of adenoids may depend on hereditary factors or past infectious diseases: measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough. Some viruses affect tissue growth. Provoke the appearance of adenoids can be non-compliance with nutritional standards, in particular overfeeding. nine0021

    Parents' attention should be drawn to the child's breathing through the mouth, especially at night. Nasal congestion and difficulty breathing in the absence of a runny nose or a long runny nose that is not treated for a long time are all reasons why a visit to a doctor is necessary.

    Which doctor to contact if you sniffle your nose

    If a baby sniffles with his nose or an older child constantly sniffs his nose, it is better to contact a pediatric otolaryngologist for help. The doctor will make a diagnosis or refer you for an additional consultation with an allergist to rule out allergic pathologies. General recommendations for care and treatment will be given by the pediatrician. nine0021

    Treatment of sniffling in a child

    Treatment should begin when the underlying cause is identified. Diagnosis will help determine if there is a curvature of the nasal septum, if there are polyps or foreign bodies in the nose. In this case, surgery may be needed.

    Infectious rhinitis is treated with topical preparations: drops with silver ions or herbal remedies. Their task is to neutralize the threat that has arisen at the site of inflammation. nine0021

    If overdried mucosa indicates prolonged use of vasoconstrictors, treatment will consist of moisturizing and restoring the health of the mucosa.

    Sometimes mucus secretion occurs along the back of the pharynx, as it cannot flow freely through the nasal passages. Treatment will be aimed at restoring the free outflow of secretions through the nose.

    Is the baby snoring? We know how to solve the problem


    Sniffle - what is it ? This is what they call heavy breathing through the nose, with whistling, grunting and other extraneous sounds. Often this is accompanied by nasal congestion and runny nose, besides, it is difficult for the baby to perceive smells. If you notice that your child is breathing with some heaviness - this is a reason to contact a pediatric ENT.

    Causes of children's sniffle

    If a child sniffs, the reasons for this can be varied. To begin with, it is worth saying that sniffling in infants - is a fairly common thing. This is due to the fact that his airways are not yet fully formed. Infant needs a lot of oxygen because his head and chest are quite large compared to the rest of his body. At the same time, his nasal passages are narrow and do not always cope with the task.
    Due to these reasons , if a child has been sniffing for 1 month, do not panic. There is a small traffic jam at the upper part of tracks , through which air flows. Because of this, the baby may make strange sounds. But gradually his nasal passages expand, and breathing normalizes. Therefore, when a child snores for 3 months, this is already a cause for concern and a visit to a doctor.
    When you hear a child sniffling, the causes of are most often associated with inflammatory diseases of the nose. But there may be other factors causing this problem.

    Inflammatory diseases of the nose

    Snoring can cause rhinitis, sinusitis and other viral diseases of the nasopharynx, which are accompanied by a decrease in the patency of the nasal passages. Under the influence of an infection, the tissues swell, and it is difficult for air to pass through the nose. Usually, mucus is released from the nose, body temperature rises , and other manifestations of an infectious disease are also noticeable.

    Other causes

    Baby sniffle may be related to:

    • Congenital malformations such as deviated septum.
    • Angina - sound is born in the throat, which swells due to enlarged tonsils.
    • Enlarged adenoids - overgrown pharyngeal tonsil prevents air from passing through the nose. Therefore, sniffing with adenoids is one of the characteristic signs.
    • Diseases of the lower respiratory tract - wheezing and sniffling in the lungs , bronchi or trachea can sometimes be confused by the sound with difficult nasal breathing. nine0004

    What should I do if my child sniffs through his nose?

    If the child sniffs heavily , it must be treated . After all, the pathologies that cause this sound can lead to irreversible complications. Quite often sniffing in a dream in an adult is a consequence of untreated nasal diseases in childhood. To prevent this, you need to contact a pediatric otolaryngologist.

    Treatment of baby sniffle

    When the baby sniffs heavily during sleep, ENT conducts a detailed examination to find out the cause. If it is an inflammatory disease, it is treated with antibiotics, washes, topical agents, and other drugs. When the problem is related to the adenoids, they are removed. Congenital anomalies are corrected surgically.

    Features of treatment

    If you notice that your child is snoring , make an appointment with our ENT center. Here he will undergo a comprehensive diagnosis, and then effectively eliminate the cause of sniffing. Our doctors select medicines for small patients very carefully, taking into account their individual characteristics. nine0103 With advanced inflammation or adenoids, we can offer cryotherapy. This is a procedure for treating pathological tissues with liquid nitrogen cooled to an ultra-low temperature. As a result, it is possible to completely kill the pathogenic environment, remove pus and mucus accumulations, and freeze pathological tissues.

    Possible complications

    Children's sniffing is bad , it needs to be dealt with. If you miss the moment and do not cure inflammatory diseases in time, this will affect the formation of the respiratory system. Due to the fact that they are formed incorrectly, then sniffling in sleep in an adult , snoring, frequent colds and other unpleasant consequences.


    In order not to hear sniffing from a child, watch his health. Support children's immunity with vitamins, hardening and proper nutrition. At the time of outbreaks of epidemics, it is better for the baby to stay at home - so that he could not get infected in a kindergarten or transport.

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