Why Do Babies Sleep with Their Mouths Open?
As a parent, watching your baby sleep peacefully with their mouth open may feel perfectly natural. But why do babies do this? Here’s what you need to know about why your newborn seems to prefer sleeping with their mouth wide open.
It Helps With Breathing
Babies sleep with their mouths open because it can help them breathe more easily. The nasal passages of newborns may not be fully developed yet, so breathing through their noses isn’t always easy.
Opening the mouth slightly when sleeping can help alleviate any pressure on the baby’s nasal passages, allowing them to take in more air. If you notice a whistle-like sound coming from your baby’s mouth as they breathe, this is normal and is known as ‘noisy breathing’.
It Can Reduce Acid Reflux
Mouth breathing can also be used to reduce the effects of acid reflux. Acid reflux is a condition where the stomach contents, including stomach acids, are pushed back up through the esophagus and into the mouth. Not only does this cause a sour taste and burning sensation, but it can also cause breathing issues for your baby.
Having your baby sleep in a semi-upright position, with their mouth open, can reduce the effects of acid reflux. Make sure that the crib is slightly elevated to keep them in this position and to reduce the chances of any stomach acids entering their esophagus.
It Can Lead To Dehydration
One potential disadvantage of mouth breathing is that your baby can become dehydrated more quickly. As babies tend to sleep for extended periods, breathing through the mouth can cause fluids to be lost more quickly. This can lead to a drop in hydration and may result in your baby experiencing signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, dry skin, or even a coma.
It’s important to ensure that your baby has adequate hydration, especially during hot weather, to reduce the risk of dehydration. If you are at all concerned about your baby’s mouth breathing, please speak to a medical professional.
What to Do If Your Baby Breathes Through Their Mouth
If your baby breathes through their mouth when they are sleeping, there are a few things that you can do to reduce any negative effects:
- Keep their nose clear: Nasal congestion can make it harder to breathe. Using a mild salt-water nasal rinse, or saline drops, can help to reduce any congestion and make it easier for your baby to breathe.
- Use a humidifier: A humidifier can help to increase moisture levels in the air, reducing the chance of your baby becoming dehydrated and making it easier to breathe.
- Talk to a doctor: If you are concerned about your baby’s breathing, don’t hesitate to speak to a medical professional. They can help you to identify any potential health issues and give you advice on how best to manage it.
Mouth breathing is a common and mostly harmless issue among newborns. It is often used as a way to reduce the effects of acid reflux or help with breathing. Make sure to keep an eye on any potential signs of dehydration and to speak to a doctor if you are at all concerned.