2:26 min| 3,151 views
Don't be alarmed if your newborn sounds like a piglet – grunting by babies is totally normal. In this video, Dr. Dawn Rosenberg explains why your little one makes so many funny noises, and when grunting can possibly be a sign of something serious.
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Why do babies grunt so much?
Babies are very noisy. I warn my patients not to be surprised if their little one sounds like a piglet in the first months of life. It's not unusual to hear your baby grunt throughout the day and night. Most grunting is totally normal.
These funny sounds are usually related to your baby's digestion, and are a result of gas, pressure in the belly, or the production of a bowel movement. In the first few months of life, digestion is a new and difficult task. Many babies grunt from this mild discomfort. When your baby's having a bowel movement, his face may turn red or purple, and he may grunt away. There's a lot of work involved with having a bowel movement. Your baby has to relax his pelvic floor, contract his abdominal muscles, and create pressure in his abdomen to move the stool and gas through his intestines. When your baby bears down with his diaphragm against a closed voice box, he produces the grunting sound.
Often the grunting is louder or more frequent at nighttime, which can make it really hard for you to fall asleep listening to his noises. If your grunting baby seems very uncomfortable, you can try to relieve his gas or belly pressure by flexing his hips upwards or bicycling his legs. You can ask your doctor about over-the-counter gas remedies, such as gripe water or simethicone.
Rarely, grunting can be a sign of something serious. Babies may grunt when they have a high fever or struggling to breathe. If that's the case, the grunting will persist beyond a few minutes, and your baby will appear very uncomfortable or overly sleepy. Grunting at the end of every breath is a sign of respiratory distress. It sounds like this. … Often, that type of grunting is accompanied by a persistent cough, flaring of the nostrils, and fast, heavy breathing. Call your doctor right away if you notice these symptoms.
As you get to know your baby, you will learn to decode his many grunts. You'll decipher whether the grunt is from pooping, passing gas, or perhaps just a grunt to express that he's content. And as he gets older, his body learns how to master digestion, and how to make bowel movements and pass gas without much effort – and grunt-free.
Video production by Paige Bierma.