As uncommon and abnormal as it may seem, snoring in babies is not always a red flag for your baby’s health. Many babies produce noises like whiffing, snuffing and snoring while sleeping. If your baby snores rarely or occasionally, then it’s not a cause of concern. But if it has become a chronic habit of your little angel to snore, then consulting your Pediatrician is always advisable.
But before you start panicking, let’s understand the causes of snoring in babies.
Causes of Snoring in Babies
- Cold and flu infections: This is the most common cause of snoring in babies. As your baby’s airways are very small and narrow when they are few months old, mucous secretions during a cold or flu infection easily block her nose and throat. As a result, your baby may snore while she is suffering from cold or throat infections.
- Allergies: Your baby may be allergic to down filling in the mattress or pillows or allergic to pet hairs if you have a dog or cat. This may obstruct the airways of your baby while she sleeps and become the cause of snoring.
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids: Adenoids are lymph nodes at the junction of nose and throat which may enlarge due to various infections. Similarly, tonsils are lumpy lymph tissues located at the back of throat, which can also enlarge due to repetitive infections. Although the rate in newborn babies, with time these can contribute to obstruction in breathing which can in turn cause snoring.
- Deviated Nasal Septum: Nasal septum is the bone that separates both the nostrils and in case of a deviated septum, this bone may be structurally misaligned obstructing one of the nostrils. This could be a cause of chronic snoring in your baby.
- Laryngomalacia: In very young babies, the cartilage that keeps the nasal airways open may remain underdeveloped for some time after birth. As a result, your newborn may snore frequently until this cartilage develops properly.
- Throat abnormalities: Cystic formations in the throat or abnormal palate movement can also cause snoring in babies.
- Sleep Apnea: This is a condition wherein your baby experiences obstruction in breathing for several seconds, causing lack of oxygen and acute breathlessness. This may happen multiple times during sleep and can cause loud snoring in your baby.
How to correct snoring in your baby?
Once you have identified the cause of snoring in your baby, in consultation with her pediatrician, you can start with the corrective measures to alleviate your baby’s snoring.
You can take the following steps to correct snoring:
If your baby is suffering from cold, flu or allergies; use a humidifier in your baby’s room and put saline nasal drops in your baby’s nose to help her breathe better while sleeping.
Also remove any allergens or allergy-causing agents from your baby’s room to avoid any breathing obstructions.
Change your baby’s position or put a pillow under her head when she’s asleep to help keep her airways open.
If your baby is suffering from sleep apnea, enlarged adenoids and tonsils may be responsible. You can either reduce this enlargement with medicines or can even get them surgically removed once your baby is a little older.
Throat abnormalities and deviated nasal septum can only be corrected surgically and you should consult your Pediatrician/ ENT specialist for complete corrective action.
Thus, if your little one snores, the next time she dozes off, rest assured that it’s nothing to worry about. With proper care and as she grows, this problem can be easily resolved.
Dr Rahul Varma