Baby Sounding Hoarse? Five Possible Reasons Why

Motherhood offers a lot of surprises. For example, do you know babies can make a wide variety of sounds other than cooing? In fact, he or she can grunt, giggle, and babble. Sometimes these sounds do not mean anything. Perhaps the infant is just having some fun. In other times, it’s their way of expressing themselves.


In some cases, they suggest a problem you should start paying attention. Take, for example, when the baby sounds hoarse or raspy.

As a parent, you should already be spending a good amount of time with your child – a lot you can already notice subtle changes not only in their behavior but also on the quality of their voice.

While a lot of babies develop a raspy or hoarse voice, it almost always means one thing: call your doctor. It may be due to any of the following:

1. Excessive Crying

Because babies can’t speak yet, they cry if they want something. They do it when they are hungry or when they are sleepy. It is also your cue if you need to change their nappies. Crying is natural and happens a few times during the day. But it stops once you have met the baby’s needs.

A baby sounding hoarse, though, is a different matter. It means he or she is crying too much he or she could already be straining the vocal cords.

In a lot of cases, too much crying means the baby is not feeling well, but it can also happen if he or she does not feel comfortable with something. It may be his or her position while being breastfed. It may be the weather or the feel of the bed. He or she may find the environment noisy.

2. Flu

Another possible explanation for the hoarse sound is the flu, a viral infection characterized by a combination of fever, cough, and colds. The latter two can cause the buildup of mucus on the throat, which forces the baby to do something to expel it. The strain then leads to the change in the voice quality.

Babies are the most vulnerable during the flu season, which is usually from October to May, due to their still-weak immune system. They are also at risk of serious complications like pneumonia. If you see any of these common symptoms, bring the baby to the doctor right away.

3. Vocal Nodules

Although it’s not as common as the other reasons on the list, vocal nodules can also occur among infants, especially if they’re already a few months old. Also known as polyps, these are tumor or mass growths on the vocal folds. The more they grow, the more they restrict the activities of the vocal cords, hence, the raspy voice.

There’s no single known cause for the development of polyps. Rather, it can be a combination of factors such as excessive crying or yelling, dehydration, or effects of medication.

4. Croup

Respiratory System in a Child - Via Webmd.com

Croup is the general term for inflammation affecting the respiratory system, particularly the larynx and the trachea. The trachea is also known as the windpipe. As its name suggests, it’s a bony tube that allows the passage of air from the nose or mouth to the lungs. The larynx, on the other hand, contains the vocal folds and connects itself to the trachea. One of the distinguishing symptoms of croup is hoarseness as the inflammation obstructs the larynx.

Croup can occur for different reasons, although in general, they are either bacterial or viral. Flu, for example, is probable cause. Knowing the actual cause is essential since viral conditions don’t respond to antibiotics.

5. Throat and Ear Infections

A baby sounding hoarse may also be suffering from either throat or ear infection. Sometimes it’s both. If you’re wondering why, it’s because of the anatomy. The Eustachian tube in the middle ear drains mucus building up in the ears to the throat.

If you’re an adult, you should be able to expel this. Since babies cannot do it yet, mucus can end up in the throat, triggering an infection. It’s also possible for the infection to begin in the throat and travel to the ear if left untreated.

Don’t Wait!

Any change to the baby’s usual patterns such as eating, sleeping, and breastfeeding always demands an investigation. It’s the same thing with a raspy or hoarse sound.

The pediatrician will perform some tests, and you may have to see other physicians depending on the diagnosis. Be patient, as it’s always ideal to be safe than sorry. Rest assured that the baby’s doctor will do his or her best during treatment and that solutions are available.

As the parent, it’s your job to work closely with your pediatrician. Take note of other behaviors or symptoms, as well as follow the treatment plan religiously. Before you know it, your baby’s voice is back.

Stacy Belk

My name is Stacy Belk, I am a nurse, midwife and mother of two children. I would like to share my experiences in taking care of children including activities to do together, recipes to cook, good products to buy and health protection to your family. Do a search now if you like, all you need is here.

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