“Newborns make strange noises while they are breathing. Most of them are not cause for concern. Being aware of your baby’s breathing pattern can help you identify any issues early.”

Male holding newborn baby
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New parents worry about the breathing patterns of their newborn. They can make strange noises and take long pauses between breaths.

Newborns have different breathing and sounds than adults.

  • They breathe through their nostrils.
  • Their breathing pathways are smaller and easier to obstruct.
  • The chest wall is made of mostly shirring material.
  • “They still have to learn to use their lungs and breathing muscles, which isn’t fully developed.”
  • They may still have amniotic fluid and meconium in their airways right after birth.

Parents and caregivers may worry, but usually there is nothing to worry about.

“One thing you can do is to pay attention to your baby’s breathing pattern. You can learn what they do and if something is different later.”

Typically, a newborn takes 30 to 60 breaths per minute. This can slow down to 30 to 40 breaths per minute while they sleep. At 6 months, babies breathe about 25 to 40 times per minute. An adult, meanwhile, takes about 12 to 20 breaths per minute.

Newborns can take rapid breaths and then stop for up to 10 seconds at a time. New parents might be alarmed because of the different breathing patterns.

Most of the newborn breathing problems resolve themselves within a few months.

Some newborn breathing concerns are more common in the first few days, such as transient tachypnea. But after 6 months, most breathing concerns are probably due to allergies or a short-term illness like the common cold.

“It is important that you are familiar with your baby’s breathing patterns. If something sounds different, explain it to your doctor.”

Respiratory distress is one of the most common causes of neonatal intensive care hospital admittance, according to 2020 research.

Common sounds you might hear are listed.

Whistling noise

This could be a problem in the nostrils that will be fixed by removing it. Ask your doctor how to remove mucus.

Hoarse cry and barking cough

This noise may be from a windpipe blockage. It might be mucus or inflammation in the voice box, such as croup. It can be a sign of croup, in which case it may get worse at night.

Deep cough

This is a problem with the large bronchi. The large bronchi carry air between the windpipe and lungs. A doctor will need to listen to a stethoscope to confirm the diagnosis.


Wheezing can be a sign of blockage or narrowing of the lower airways. The blockage might be caused by:

Fast breathing

This can mean there’s fluid in the airways from an infection, such as Pneumonia.. Fast breathing can also be caused by fever or other infections and should be evaluated right away.


This is usually due to mucus in the nostrils. In rare cases, snoring can be a sign of a chronic condition, such as sleep apnea or enlarged tonsils.


Stridor is a constant, high-pitched sound that indicates airway obstruction, according to 2021 research. It can sometimes be caused by laryngomalacia.


A sudden, low-pitched noise on an exhale usually signals an issue with one or both lungs. It can also be a sign of severe infection. You should visit a doctor immediately if your baby is ill and is grunting while breathing.

Frequent sneezing

Sneezing is common in newborns and is not usually cause for concern.

Newborns have smaller noses than adults and are still adjusting to breathing through their noses as they grow.

If sneezing is accompanied by other symptoms like coughing, difficulty breathing, or a fever, you should talk with a doctor. It could be a sign of a respiratory infection, according to 2021 research.

Frequent sneezing can also be a sign of an allergy to certain types of formula as well as neonatal abstinence syndrome. Per 2020 research, neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when babies are exposed to opioid drugs before birth.

Periodic breathing

Periodic breathing is common in newborns. It is characterized by pauses in breathing that lasts at least 3 seconds, followed by clusters of breaths, which are often fast and shallow.

This is typical and doesn’t usually require any treatment. However, if pauses in breathing last more than 20 seconds, it may indicate a problem such as infant apnea.

False “first cold”

Many newborns experience symptoms of a false first cold very early because their nose is small and can become easily blocked.

Though this doesn’t usually require any treatment, you may consider talking with a pediatrician about ways to help improve their breathing if needed, such as using saline drops or a nasal aspirator.

If your baby is also having other cold symptoms like weakness, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping, it is best to talk with a doctor to determine if they have a cold or other illness.


Hiccups are common and can happen in babies, children, and adults.

Babies can have hiccups if they eat too quickly and swallow air while feeding.

Hiccups may also be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux, which occurs when the contents of the stomach flow into the esophagus, causing regurgitation.

“If you are concerned about your baby’s breathing, contact your doctor.”

Irregular breathing can cause anxiety in parents or caregivers. Slow down and look at your baby to see if they are in distress.

“If you are concerned about your baby’s breathing, here are some tips.”

  • “You should learn your child’s breathing patterns so you can identify what’s not typical.”
  • Take a video of your baby breathing and show it to the doctor. Online appointments and communication by email are now offered by many medical professionals, which will save you time in the office.
  • Always have your baby sleep on their back. This decreases your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), per 2021 research. If your baby has a respiratory infection and isn’t sleeping well, ask your doctor for safe ways to help clear congestion. It’s not safe to prop them up or put their crib on an incline.
  • drugstores sell senna drops that can help loosen mucus.
  • Babies can breathe fast when they are overheated or upset. Clothe your baby. You should only add one extra layer to your outfit for the day. If you wear pants and a shirt, your baby might wear pants, a shirt, and a sweater.

Safety note

Sleep positioners and wedges are not recommended while feeding or sleeping.

These padded risers are intended to keep your baby’s head and body in one position but are not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration due to the risk of SIDS.

Catching an issue early will give your baby the best chance for recovery in the short term.

“A change in a newborn’s breathing pattern may be a sign of a serious breathing problem. Call your doctor if you are ever worried. Make sure the doctor’s phone numbers are available at all times. A nurse can answer and help direct you.”

A chest X-ray can be used to diagnose breathing concerns.

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, you should call the emergency services.

  • There is a blue color in the mouth, fingernails, and toenails.
  • doesn’t breathe for 20 seconds or more

If your child is young, you should see your doctor immediately.

  • grunting or moaning at the end of the breath
  • They are working harder to get oxygen into their lungs because of their nostrils flaring.
  • The muscles pull in on the neck, collarbones, or ribs.
  • Difficult feeding and breathing issues are what he has.
  • Is not very active in addition to breathing issues.
  • Has a cold as well as breathing issues.

Babies breathe faster than adults. They make strange noises. Babies may have trouble breathing if there is a serious health concern.

It is important that you can tell if your baby is having trouble breathing. If something seems wrong, get help right away.