Why Do Newborns Breathe Fast

Baby Can Be Over Exerted

infant fast short breathing is normal

Sometimes even simple things can cause a baby to breathe rapidly. Often times, infants can simply work themselves up because they want to be held or fed, and therefore they exert themselves to the point of exhaustion. It is the same as when an adult goes to the gym and breathes hard. While it can still be alarming it can actually be good development for an infants lungs so long as it does not go on for an excessive amount of time.

While a parent may become concerned seeing their baby breathing so rapidly, it is important to remember than even infants need to exert themselves sometime in order to gain strength. If however the baby is unable to calm down on their own and slow their rapid breathing it can be useful to know how to calm the baby. What calms a baby will vary somewhat from one infant to the next. Generally speaking though the caregiver holding and gently rocking the baby as well as feedings are well known to calm even the fussiest of babies.

Things To Be Mindful About When Deciphering An Infants Sleep Patterns

  • Fast breathing isnât 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 newbornâs paediatrician can help in managing and monitoring these breathing patterns patterns

What Are The Symptoms Of Transient Tachypnea

The symptoms of transient tachypnea are different for each newborn. Common symptoms of this condition include:

  • rapid breathing, which means over 60 breaths per minute
  • labored breathing, including grunting and moaning
  • nostril flaring
  • the appearance of the chest sinking under the ribcage with each breath

Also Check: How Many Ounces Of Milk Should A Newborn Eat

Whats A Normal Newborn Respiration Rate

Research shows that by the time your baby is six weeks in the womb, his or her heart is beating 120 to 160 times per minute, which is about twice as fast as the average adults heart rate. The same goes for newborn breathingyou can count on it being quicker than your breath rate. A normal newborn respiration rate is at least two times faster than an adults.

Newborns typically have a slightly faster respiratory rate than older infants and 40 to 50 breaths per minutecan be normal in the absence of other signs or symptoms of illness, Eboni Hollier, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician

Thats pretty quick considering the average adult or older child at rest takes about 12 to 20 breaths per minute!

Like adults, your babys breathing will slow down while resting. Expect baby to breathe about 20 to 40 times per minute when they are asleep.

Warning Signs And Symptoms

Why Is My Baby Breathing So Fast?
  • Turns blue all over or in areas that typically get a lot of blood flow like the lips, tongue, and the vagina. Even though bluing of the hands and feet can be fairly common due to an infant’s immature circulatory system, if other areas are turning blue, it’s time to get immediate attention.
  • Has a significantly increased breathing rate, which is more than 60 breaths per minute
  • Struggles to breathe, which can be spotted by the nostrils persistently flaring and the chest retracting unusually
  • Is feeding poorly or has no interest in eating
  • Is lethargic or excessively sleepy

Read Also: How To Properly Bathe A Newborn Baby

How Is Transient Tachypnea Of The Newborn Treated

Babies with TTN are watched closely and may go to a neonatal intensive care unit or special care nursery. There, doctors check babies’ heart rates, breathing rates, and oxygen levels to make sure breathing slows down and oxygen levels are normal.

Breathing Help

Some babies with TTN need extra oxygen. They get this through a small tube under the nose called a .

A baby who gets extra oxygen but still struggles to breathe might need continuous positive airway pressure to keep the lungs from collapsing. With CPAP, a machine pushes a steady stream of pressurized air or oxygen through a nasal cannula or mask. This helps keep the lungs open during breathing.


Good nutrition can be a problem when a baby is breathing so fast that he or she can’t suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time. If so, fluids can keep the baby hydrated while preventing blood sugar from dipping too low.

If your baby has TTN and you want to breastfeed, talk to your doctor or nurse about pumping and storing breast milk until your baby is ready to feed. Sometimes babies can get breast milk or formula through a:

  • nasogastric tube: a small tube placed through the baby’s nose that carries food right to the stomach
  • orogastric tube: a small tube placed through the baby’s mouth that carries food right to the stomach

If your baby has one of these tubes, ask the doctor about providing breast milk for your baby.

Irregular Breathing In Newborns

Newborns will often begin breathing faster for a few seconds and then slow down their breathing, especially when sleeping. This type of irregular breathing is normal and does not require treatment. If irregular breathing persists past the age of 6 months, call your pediatrician to ensure your childs breathing is healthy. If your infant displays any of the symptoms listed below, immediately seek emergency care.

Also Check: How To Adopt A Newborn Baby In Florida

How To Measure Breathing Rate

It is essential to measure a persons respiratory rate at rest to determine whether it is normal. Exercise or even walking across a room can affect it.

According to Johns Hopkins, the respiration rate refers to the number of breaths a person takes in one minute. To take an accurate measurement, watch the persons chest rise and fall. One complete breath comprises one inhalation when the chest rises, followed by one exhalation when the chest falls.

To measure the respiratory rate, count the number of breaths for an entire minute or count for 30 seconds and multiply that number by two.

relies on the coordination of the control center in the brain and the respiratory muscles. An area at the base of the brain controls breathing. The brain sends signals from the brain to the breathing muscles.

Sometimes, the body needs to adjust the breathing rate. Receptors in the brain detect low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels and send signals to the body, which can change the breathing rate.

Having an abnormal respiratory rate can indicate a variety of things. In some cases, a high or low respiratory rate is due to an activity, such as exercise, and is not an indication that there is anything wrong.

Sometimes, however, various diseases, injuries, and substances can lead to a change in breathing. In a medical setting, an abnormal respiratory rate, especially if it is too fast, can indicate a health problem.

Baby Can Have Contracted Pneumonia

How to tell if your newborn’s loud breathing is normal

Pneumonia can cause rapid breathing in all people as well as infants. If the child has pneumonia, it is of the utmost importance to get the baby to the Emergency room or pediatrician right away. Pneumonia can be deadly to elderly people and infants as well as persons with compromised immune systems. Knowing the signs and symptoms of pneumonia is extremely important for any caregiver of an infant and one of those signs is rapid breathing.

Rapid breathing in infants is often considered taking more than 60 breaths per minute regularly. While it is true that infants do breathe faster than adults or even young children, if the baby is steadily taking more than 60 breaths per minute it could be a sign of pneumonia. Other symptoms of pneumonia include but are not limited to: fever, lack of appetite, wheezing, and change in coloring. If pneumonia is suspected it is best to contact a medical professional for additional guidelines for care.

Also Check: How To Do Newborn Photography

If Your Child Stops Breathing

If your child has stopped breathing and is not responsive, immediately begin CPR and call 911.

If your child ceases breathing for 15 seconds or more, and then resumes breathing, visit the pediatric ER. Even if your child seems fine, it is important to make sure the underlying reason for the episode has been resolved.

Many children between the age of 6 months and 6 years experience breath-holding spells, involuntary breath holding that usually occurs when the child is crying or upset. Children who experience these spells do not need to seek emergency care unless the incident results in unconsciousness or a seizure. In these cases, it is best to visit the pediatric ER to make sure there are no other reasons for the seizure or unconsciousness.

When Should I Call The Doctor

If you are uncertain about your babys wellbeing at any time, especially when it involves her breathing, you should contact the doctor, a health visitor or any appropriate healthcare provider.

In general, its important to seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following:

  • Fewer than 30 breaths per minute
  • More than 60 breaths per minute
  • Persistent grunting or noises after each breath
  • Flared nostrils with each breath
  • A stridor and/or a barking cough
  • A pause in breathing which lasts longer than 10 seconds
  • Retractions when the muscles under the rib cage and neck visibly pull in and out much more than usual
  • A bluish colour around the lips and nose
  • Anything else about your babys breathing that causes you concern.

You May Like: What To Do If Newborn Is Choking

Make Note Of Sounds And Motions

Babies are natural nose-breathers rather than mouth-breathers. This allows them to breathe and eat at the same time. Newborns will usually breathe exclusively through their nose until about 6 months. By their first birthday, they’ll breathe more through their mouth.

You’ll experience a full range of whistling, gurgling, and snorting sounds as your baby’s tiny nasal passages take in air.

As you are getting acquainted with your new bundle of joy, notice the following sounds your baby makes throughout the day.

  • General sounds and noises your baby makes as they breathe
  • How much your baby’s nostrils flare as they breathe
  • How your baby’s breathing changes when they change position
  • How your baby’s sneezes sound
  • Sounds that are unique to when your baby feeds from the breast versus the bottle
  • The rhythm of your baby’s chest rising and falling

Adults breathe between 18 and 20 times per minute. Since newborns have much smaller lungs, they need to breathe more often. A newborn takes between 40 and 60 times each minute.

Baby Is Grunting: Is It Normal

Why Is My Baby Breathing So Fast?

Newborn grunting sounds are generally related to their digestion. Your child is getting familiar with formula or breast milk. They may have gas in their belly, causing discomfort. A newborn grunting usually means they are moving gas and stool through their digestive system.

Due to their weak abdominal muscles, they apply downward pressure using their diaphragm, which pushes against the baby’s closed glottis and results in a grunting noise. Your baby’s face may become red or purple in the process this is completely normal.

However, a baby grunting with every breath isn’t normal and may indicate respiratory distress. A baby grunting with every breath may indicate serious conditions including:

  • Asthma
  • Nasal flaring

Recommended Reading: Is Powder Formula Safe For A Newborn

In Case This Happens Theres No Need To Panic

  • Babies have tiny lungs, smaller and soften muscles.
  • They mostly breathe through their noses.
  • In fact, they just start learning how to breathe as earlier the oxygen reached a baby through the motherâs umbilical cord connected to it.
  • A baby does not have completely developed lungs until the age of 2 to 5.
  • Baby Is Wheezing: Why Does That Happen

    The bronchioles are small airways that branch out from the bronchi, the main passage into the lungs. When the bronchioles become blocked, it can produce a whistling or wheezing sound when your baby exhales.

    Some of the potential causes of wheezing are allergies, bronchiolitis, and asthma. Your baby might form extra phlegm because of allergies . Since they can’t yet clear their throat or blow their nose, the phlegm stays in their small nasal passages.

    Bronchiolitis is an infection of the lower respiratory tract. It commonly occurs during the winter months. Bronchiolitis causes congestion and inflammation of the lungs, making babies cough and wheeze.

    In some cases, a baby wheezing may indicate asthma, especially if the wheezing is persistent, there is a family history of asthma, or the parents smoke. In certain rare cases, wheezing may indicate a congenital disease such as cystic fibrosis or other illnesses such as whooping cough or pneumonia.

    Flo is great to track my period. It is pretty accurate and alerts me when my period is late. I like the advice it gives me when I track headaches and moods. I have recently started trying for a baby so its great to show me when I’m ovulating. Recommend!

    Also Check: Can You Give A Newborn Gripe Water

    What To Do If Baby Has Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea generally presents in the first few days of life, usually within a week. Although sleep apnea has not be identified as a cause of SIDS, it can be serious and even life-threatening.

    If it seems like your baby has stopped breathing while sleeping, try touching him/her to see if he/she responds. If there is no response, then your little one may be experiencing sleep apnea, and youll need to respond immediately. According to BabySlumber.com, you should begin infant CPR while another person calls 911. If you are by yourself, then perform infant CPR for two minutes, then call for help. Continue CPR until the paramedics arrive.

    As always, if you are concerned about your babys breathing, call a healthcare provider immediately.

    Baby Can Be Feeling Overstimulated

    Newborn breathing fast, Normal? – Dr. V Prakash of Cloudnine Hospitals

    Often people find that while playing with a baby, the baby can become agitated and upset and then suddenly begin breathing rapidly. While infants love interaction and watching people talk to them they can easily become overstimulated. Parents often think they need all the best toys, books, and music for babies when in reality infants’ senses of sight and sound are not the same as adults, so many simple things can become frightening and too much for the baby to handle.

    While parents obviously dont want to cause rapid breathing from overstimulation it can be easily fixed by nurturing the child or swaddling the baby to calm her down. Many people however still want to find ways to interact with infants to bond, and while loud brightly colored toys are not good for keeping an infant calm there are other options. Babies see red and black colors best so toys in those colors will be easy for them to examine. Babies also enjoy soothing white noise sounds and the sounds they grew accustomed to in the uterus. So while overstimulation can cause rapid breathing there are still ways a parent can stimulate the babys mind and development without overwhelming the baby.

    Don’t Miss: When Does A Newborn Become An Infant

    Related Posts

    Popular Articles