Is Your Baby Grunting While Eating? 3 Reasons Why!

As a new parent, you notice every sound and movement that your baby makes. When a newborn gurgles and squirms, they seem so sweet and helpless. But you may also worry that your baby is in pain or needs assistance whenever he/she grunts. In this post, we discuss some common topics regarding baby noises and grunting. 

Is Baby Grunting While Eating Normal?

Grunting is normal for babies of all ages while eating. When babies adjust to changes in feeding, they usually grunt. Generally, it occurs in two situations: the first when the mouth is full of milk, and the second when the posture of breastfeeding is incorrect. Oversupply of milk is one thing that could cause this. It can occur at any age while breastfeeding. 

When the baby consumes large amounts of milk, it passes through the digestive system rapidly, causing digestive discomfort. As a result of the additional milk and air in his stomach, he/she may grunt to handle it. 

Is Your Baby Grunting In Sleep?

It is normal for your baby to grunt in sleep. It sounds as though a baby is in pain or distress when they grunt in sleep. In fact, this is not the case since babies usually grunt in sleep when passing stool.

Also, a baby grunting in sleep can be caused by a health problem, such as reflux, difficulty breathing, or trapped mucus. All these issues can cause extreme discomfort to the baby and he/she may start grunting while he is sleeping.

Main Causes of a baby grunting in sleep:

Occasionally, Grunting can happen when babies start pooping. In some cases, it can also be caused by many other reasons, such as:

Dreaming: A baby grunting in sleep could indicate that he or she is dreaming. Babies tend to make different sounds, smile, and cry when they are dreaming.

Acid reflux: Also called gastroesophageal reflux (GER), this happens when stomach contents rise into the food pipe. It may cause discomfort for the baby, and he or she may grunt.

Trapped mucus: Babies possess a tiny nasal passage through which they can accumulate mucus. When a baby is sleeping, trapped mucus can cause a grunt.

Bowel movements: The underdeveloped abdominal muscles are to blame for newborn grunting during a bowel movement. When your baby’s intestines push stool towards the rectum, these stomach muscles contract and push against the abdominal wall. The result is a grunt.

This usually doesn’t hurt your baby, but you may want to help your baby in his bowel movement by gently moving his legs in a bicycling motion to help relieve the pressure.

Means of communication: Another reason your baby might be grunting in sleep is to let you know he’s comfortable and content. Newborns have very few ways to communicate, so they often grunt as a way to get their needs met.

For example, your baby may grunt when he wants to be burped or held. He may also grunt when he’s hungry or sleepy.

Growling tummy: A growling tummy can also cause grunting in newborns. This is because their intestines are contracting and pushing food towards the stomach.

You may hear this gurgling sound when your baby is hungry or after he’s eaten a meal. It’s perfectly normal and doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your baby

Breathing: Grunting may have a similar function to yawning and sighing, which help to regulate the newborn’s breathing. It also helps to prevent your baby from swallowing too much air.

Grunting may also be a way for your baby to relieve congestion in the chest and throat. When you hear your baby grunting, it’s important to pay attention to his body language and cues to figure out why he’s making that noise.

If he seems in distress, is crying, or has a fever, then you should consult your pediatrician. However, if he seems content and is breathing normally, then there’s likely no cause for concern.

Breastfeeding: One of the major reasons for your baby to grunt is breastfeeding, sometimes over supply of milk or a fast let-down can cause your baby to gulp and choke which then results in grunting.

Try different nursing positions to slow down the flow. If you think your baby is gulping too much air while breastfeeding, try burping him more often.

Remedies To Relieve The Baby Grunting In Sleep:

Following are some of the methods you can use to treat baby grunting while sleeping:

Feeding the baby: The way you feed the baby plays an important role in preventing gastroesophageal reflux. You should feed the baby tiny amounts at regular intervals. When feeding a baby, make sure it is fed slowly and burped several times after each feed.

Rub petroleum jelly: If your baby is having difficulty passing stool, you can rub petroleum jelly on his/her belly. It will help to relieve the baby who is having trouble passing stool.

Control the air swallowing: Babies often swallow air while having a meal, which can lead to gastric issues and may grunting while sleeping. To avoid it, Make sure the bottle has small holes on the nipple based on the child’s age.

In case you see the baby grunting in sleep, keep a close eye on the baby and If your baby is grunting with every breath, has a fever, or appears in distress, or if his lips turn blue, immediately contact your doctor.

When To Be Concerned About Baby Grunting?

If your baby seems happy and active, there is nothing to be concerned about. If grunting is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing, then you should consult your pediatrician.

If you’re ever concerned about your baby’s health or development, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician for guidance.

Here are some more situations in which a baby’s grunting might not be normal.

Respiratory issues: Your baby may grunt if he’s having difficulty breathing. This could be a sign of a respiratory infection, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

If your baby is grunting and also has other symptoms, such as a fever, rapid breathing, or chest pain, then you should seek medical attention immediately.

Digestive issues: Your baby may grunt if he’s having difficulty digesting food. This could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or another digestive problem.

If your baby is grunting and also has other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss, then you should seek medical attention.

Developmental delays: Your baby may grunt if he’s delayed in his development. This could be a sign of a neurological disorder or another developmental issue.

If your baby is grunting and also has other symptoms, such as a delay in milestones, then you should seek medical attention.

Heart Problems: Your baby may grunt if he has a heart problem. This could be a sign of a congenital heart defect or another heart condition.

If your baby is grunting and also has other symptoms, such as fatigue, blue tint to the skin, or difficulty breathing, then you should seek medical attention.

When grunting is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing, then you should consult your pediatrician.

However, if grunting is the only symptom and your baby seems comfortable and active, then there is nothing to be concerned about.

What is Grunting Baby Syndrome (GBS)

Grunting baby syndrome is an informal term that refers to a condition in which some newborns have trouble pooping (bowel movements). It could also be an indication that your baby is learning to have a bowel movement.

In their first few months, newborns typically exhibit developmentally grunting behavior. Usually, grunting lasts for about 5-10 minutes prior to a bowel movement, but it may also occur during sleep. A few days after the baby’s first bowel movement, this behavior usually appears and lasts for around 3 months.

In some cases, the sound could be a symptom of an underlying health problem that requires medical treatment. Research involving 453 infants has found that all the term and near-term newborns with persistent grunting after birth should be carefully observed and treated if necessary.

What To Do When Baby Is Grunting And Straining While Breastfeeding

Grunting and straining while breastfeeding your baby is a sign of constipation. Straining is a sign that your baby is having trouble passing a bowel movement.

To relieve your baby’s discomfort, you can rub his belly or bicycle his legs. Constipation can present a problem for all babies, but it’s common for newborns whose digestive systems are immature. You can also provide your baby with a warm bath to help stimulate and relax his body enough that he/she can pass a bowel movement.

Is it normal for a newborn to grunt and groan?

The truth is, babies, make lots of weird noises while sleeping including grunting, groaning, snorting, and even growling. All these weird sleep sounds are caused by different things such as your baby’s sleep position, hunger, gas, or even teething pain.

Grunting and groaning while sleeping are perfectly normal for babies and there is no need to worry about it.

How long do newborns make grunting noises?

In general, most of these noises will go away as your baby grows older. However, some babies may continue to grunt and groan until they are 6 to 12 weeks old.

If you’re ever concerned about your baby’s health or development, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician. 

Baby Grunting While Eating

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