Weird Newborn Grunting at Night: Is This Something I Need to Fear?

Fear is something that all new parents feel when it comes to their newborn. You may call the newborn grunting at night as weird, but clearly, you see that she is experiencing discomfort during sleep. What would be the cause of the grunting? There are reasons for this behavior, and soon you will know if it is worth fearing or nothing at all.


What do you mean by grunting?

When your inborn make sounds like she is in pain or in utter discomfort during sleeping is called grunting. Most of us parents would be worried sick especially if we do not know what is causing it. To further understand how it is, here is a video showing a granting newborn then perhaps you can relate.

What could be the possible causes of newborn grunting at night?

​Although grunting imposes rapid breathing to newborns and occasional quick deep breaths. It would freak out a mother especially if her newborn stops breathing for a few seconds. These are actually natural considering that newborns are still mastering the rhythm of their breathing. Nothing to fret about so relax and try to learn more about other possible causes in making this possible.

1. Bowel movements

Newborn might be passing stools while sleeping. It could explain the noise, and the grunting so check her diaper. They grunt during pooping because their tummy muscles are still not fully developed so they need great effort to push it out. Take a careful look though for a sign of constipation in which case, your newborn needs help.

Signs of Constipation:

  • The newborn’s face turns to red or purple when pooping
  • Grunts, cries, and strains in the process
  • Will act with irritation a few minutes before pooping
  • The stool is very dry and hard
  • Hard tummy
  • Infrequent pooping
  • Does not like to be fed like the way she used to

2. Dreaming

Even newborns dream too, everyone does.

3. Illness/Sickness

If she grunts at the end of every breath, she maybe having a hard time taking in the air. Call the doctor for possible respiratory distress or other conditions like meningitis, sepsis or heart failure.

Be observant. If your newborn is showing these signs, this could be a respiratory problem and needs immediate medical attention.

4. Acid Reflux

Commonly known as GER (gastro esophageal reflux), this happens because newborns still have an underdeveloped muscular valve that makes bringing up of food or milk and tummy acids in the esophagus lining difficult. Here are some practices that may help ease it down:

  • Allowing natural pressure to help milk go down effectively
  • Slow feeding, to make it easier for the tummy to empty itself faster.
  • Apply some medication to lessen tummy secretion.

Below video will explain more about newborn grunting and when you need to call a doctor.

What are the home remedies that can help lessen newborn grunting at night?

You try some home remedies to help give your newborn relief in her discomfort during sleeping at night. As parents, it is natural to look for ways even just at home.

Massage - A gentle massage before bedtime can soothe your newborn. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with olive oil then use it when massaging especially at the abdomen part. It is said to relieve acid reflux and give her good condition when she dozes off.

Aromatherapy- Best to have humidifier or diffuser at home. Helps regulate temperature. You can put diluted lavender oil for a more relaxing newborn nap.

Warm bath - giving your newborn a warm bath before sleeping at night would make her feel fresh and comfy. Swaddle her when putting in bed.

Rub eucalyptus (Vicks vapor rub) to your newborns’ chest and feet (sole) before swaddling and putting on socks.

As a parent, is there anything you can do to make things easier?

Newborn grunting at night will eventually pass once your newborn's breathing control and tummy muscles have been fully developed. If not, it could be associated with a respiratory disorder or probable constipation. Here are a few tips for parents to do that would be helpful just in case the grunting will worsen.

1. Keep track on newborn activities - Start with the feeding first. This information will greatly help the doctor.

  • check
    You have to note down the kind of formula you feed your newborn.
  • check
    Make a log sheet on how many times you feed daily.
  • check
    When you are breastfeeding, you should remember the food you ate.
  • check
    Include in your record how frequent your newborn poops.
  • check
    Monitor the poop. Write down if it is hard, soft and the color.

2. Patience is a virtue - Just watching and observing your newborn for days would require a lot of patience. It Is hard to control not to panic and go straight to a doctor. Just give your newborn the love that she needs, the attention and the gentle care.

3. Try to change your formula - If the obvious cause is constipation, you might as well change the milk formula. Look for another that would suit her. There are so many formulas available on the market that are formulated for easy digestion. If you are using formula, buy the hypoallergenic kind. A newborn that has reflux are cow milk intolerant.

Here is some recommended formula for you to buy:

4. Take care of your newborn sleeping - When your newborn is sleeping, keep her head elevated at about 30-degree angle using pillows. You can also make her sleep on her back or side to help clear acid from the esophagus.

5. Breastfeeding - If possible, choose breastfeeding instead of milk formula. Mother’s milk is easy to digest preventing constipation. You must be conscious of your diet to prevent acid reflux to your newborn.

  • Avoid dairy products and other common allergens like wheat and gluten.
  • Do not eat too much fatty and spicy foods, sodas, caffeine, and chocolates.
  • Never indulge in alcohol and cigarette smoking.
  • Drink plenty of water.

What to do when your newborn needs immediate medical help?

It is your ability as a parent to know whether your newborn needs immediate medical help or not. Hopefully, you would be very diligent in observing for your newborn's safety. Here are helpful tips on what to do during an emergency:

 Do not panic

 Call your pediatrician (you should save his number for times like these)

 Before calling the doctor, prepare the information you have (the log sheet/monitoring you have been keeping)

 Decide! Should you bring your newborn to ER or just stay at home? If your newborn displays symptoms below, it is time to call ER :

  • Blue-tinged complexion
  • Inability to breathe
  • Weak pulse
  • Completely pale

Here is a video giving instructions whether to call or not the emergency team during certain situations.

Newborn grunting at night could be harmless or could be a sign that your newborn needs medical attention. It is up to you parents to be keen in observing for your newborns’ safety. We have mostly covered all that you needed to know and what to do related to your newborns’ grunting at night. Hopefully, this article has been a good help to you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write it here!

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