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Why does my newborn breathe so fast?

December 3, 2020

Babies are a delight, they brighten a home the moment their auspicious feet step into a house. They become the life of the family and everyone at the household fusses about these tiny little bundle of joy. There are small things that babies do which cheer us up like those cute little giggles when they see a teddy bear or their beaming smile when they know where they’re held by their mother or father.

Sometimes things babies do, scare parents to death, like fast breathing. At times these might indicate respiratory issues in newborns, which might be due to pediatric lung diseases. In such cases getting in touch with the best paediatrician in town is advisable.

If the baby seems unwell even to the slightest it is best to consult a child specialist!

Although many a time there’s no need to panic during times because newborns start breathing fast while sleeping and take long pauses between inhalations and exhalations, they even make different noises while breathing.

In case this happens there’s no need to panic;

  1. Babies have tiny lungs, smaller and soften muscles.
  2. They mostly breathe through their noses.
  3. In fact, they just start learning how to breathe as earlier the oxygen reached a baby through the mother’s umbilical cord connected to it.
  4. A baby does not have completely developed lungs until the age of 2 to 5.

Breathing patterns in infants

  • Infants breathe a lot faster than older children and grown-ups. An infant as old as or younger than 6 months breathes 40 times a minute
  • This seems very fast for a person watching the baby
  • Their breathing slows down to 20 times a minute while newborns sleep.
  • The newborn’s breathing stops and then begins more rapidly after every 5 to 10 seconds
  • This time they breathe around 50 to 60 times a minute for about 10 to 15 seconds
  • In case they pause for more than 10 seconds between inhalations and exhalations it is something to be concerned about
  • In such a case the baby should be rushed to a doctor

Things to be mindful about when deciphering an infant’s sleep patterns

  • Fast breathing isn’t a problem unless it seems abnormal Premature babies have underdeveloped lungs at times because of which they have a problem in breathing
  • Infants delivered through cesarean are at a higher risk of developing breathing issues
  • The newborn’s paediatrician can help in managing and monitoring these breathing patterns patterns

Breathing problems to be careful of among newborns

Coughing is a natural reflex that protects the baby’s lungs by keeping germs out of it. In order to monitor an infant’s breathing, checking over their breathing patterns for a few hours can be useful. Although, it is a matter of concern if the following are observed:

  • Deep coughing

Might be a sign of lung infection or mucus

  • Whistling or snoring noises

This issue might require a procedure to remove the mucus from the baby’s nose

  • Barking noises

This should also be taken very seriously as it is an indication of croup

  • Quick and heavy breathing

This could mean that some fluid is in the airways of the body and might cause pneumonia

  • Wheezing

This could indicate a starting point for asthma or bronchiolitis

  • Dry cough

This might be due to an allergy

Things to do to comfort a baby when it is unwell

  • playing soothing music
  • Keeping the baby  hydrated
  • ensuring that the infant gets a proper amount of sleep
  • prepare a warm bath or run a hot shower and sit in the steamy bathroom
  • Avoid the usage of vapour-rub completely

Abnormal breathing in infants can be very scary. However, watching the baby and learning about their normal behavioural patterns is crucial as they help parents understand what is normal for their baby and what is not.

Our customers had a few questions regarding this blog, check them out now!

Is fast breathing normal in newborn ?
Is your newborn struggling to breath?

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Want to consult the Best Pediatricians in India? Please find the links below.

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