Newborn breathing: how to recognise if your baby is breathing correctly

In newborns, breathing is an important factor in ensuring normal growth, right from the very first few months of life.

How newborns breathe

 

Newborns breathe exclusively through their noses. Watch your baby when he or she is sleeping: if they are calm and breathing through their nose (mouth closed) without snoring, it means that they are breathing correctly. When breathing is physiologically correct (nasal), the lips are closed and the tongue is positioned forwards and towards the top of the mouth, touching the palate.

 

Baby sleeps with an open mouth, or snores: breathing is incorrect

 

Meanwhile, if baby sleeps with his or her mouth open and sleep is interrupted by gentle snoring, breathing is not physiologically correct. The tongue is lower and towards the back of the mouth; this position can be dangerous, as it could reduce airflow into the lungs, and affect the child's overall well-being and growth long term. Breathing in a way that is not physiologically correct can lead to disturbed sleep, and cause common problems such as fatigue, irritability, frequent oral infections and reduced growth.

 

What to do if your newborn has disturbed sleep?

 

If you notice nocturnal symptoms such as frequent snoring or restless sleep, we advise you to discuss this with your paediatrician during your next regular visit; he or she will then ask you a series of questions and will observe your baby in order to help to identify the cause of these symptoms, and refer you to an appropriate specialist.

 

 

How can I help baby to breathe correctly?

 

Among the many benefits of using a soother, a number of recent studies have shown that using a soother with a shape that is specially designed to encourage the tongue into a raised anterior position can help maintain correct breathing in newborns.

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