Baby Sleep Noises – Types, Causes and Tips to Reduce by Dr. Srikanta J T

7 min read

Written by Dr. Srikanta J T

Dr. Srikanta J T

Baby Sleep Noises

Watching a newborn sleep is a precious experience for parents. The little one’s innocent face, quick changes in expressions can all be wonderful, especially for first-time parents. But often a baby sleeping’s sleeping patterns and noises can also make parents worried. Infants often let out weird sounds when sleeping. You can hear their stomach growl, their nose and mouth emit weird noises. Sometimes you will also notice that they are breathing very irregularly, which can be a source of worry.

It is important that baby sleep noises are common, and you need not panic most of the time. The baby goes through various developmental stages during the first few weeks of life. With these developments, sleep noises mostly resolve on their own. At times, though, you may see certain warning signs, like your baby stopping breathing for more than 10 seconds. In such cases, you may need to consult a pediatrician.

In This Article

Causes of Baby Sleep Noises/Sound

There are various reasons for baby sleep noises.

1. Continuous Growth

After birth, the baby is not accustomed to the outside environment and struggles to adjust to the external world. A lot of continuous developments and changes happen in the infant’s body throughout the day and night. And the respiratory organs and digestive system often adjust to the situation, creating some awkward sounds.

2. Irregular Sleeping Cycle Leads to Baby Sleep Noises

According to, depending on the age of the baby, the sleeping pattern changes. Newborns are very much sleepy, but this sleep is not a continuous and long one. The periods of sleep are very short, and babies constantly move and out of their sleep causing different sounds which are pretty normal. They turn frequently, might dream and smile during sleep, make sucking sounds as if they are always in hunger.

3. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep

Generally, the sleeping style of babies is different from that of adults. According to a study done by, they have a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep most of the time which is a condition of dream time sleep with a shorter duration. This is also called a night of active sleep. The newborn moves a lot with the flow of the dream, and this is quite noisy.

4. Baby Sleep Noises Due to Small Nostrils

Babies predominantly breathe through their nostrils which are very small. When air passes through those tiny holes, it makes a whistling sound. Don’t worry about it, it’s normal.

Newborn Breathing Sounds

baby smiling in sleep

Generally, parents are worried about the different types of breathing sounds they hear during baby sleep time. But these sounds are most common and normal. As the baby’s lungs mature with time, the irregular breathing sound disappears.

Below are some normal breathing sounds of a newborn.

1. Normal Periodic Breathing

A slow shallow sound can be heard during the periodic breathing of your baby, and this is normal. In this kind of breathing pattern, there is a short pause of 8 to 10 seconds. After the first 2 months of life, this issue gets resolved.

2. Rapid Breathing

Typically, there are 30 to 60 breaths per minute for a newborn and it can be slowed down to 20 times during their sleep. But sometimes they inhale a lot of air at one time and then the respiration pattern comes down to normal. During the initial period of birth, the overall system of the newborn’s body is trying to synchronize altogether, and this causes this type of sound. This may last for some minutes only.

3. See-Saw Breathing

Variations in respiratory patterns are observed during the first few weeks of a newborn. Rapid fluctuating rates of respiration and variable rhythms in this period are often termed as “see-saw breathing”. This happens due to the shifting of one pattern to another.

Besides these, some of the other breathing sounds you can hear are:

4. Whistling

As babies predominantly are nose-breathers, the airflow through their narrow nasal passage makes this kind of sound.

5. Gurgling

Due to a pool of saliva at the backside of the mouth, this type of sound is generated.

6. Hiccups

Hiccups is very strong in infants. Even before their birth, you can feel the same. Not a point of concern, you can burp your baby, and rub its back. The issue resolves on its own with time.

7. Snoring

Particularly during sleep, the extra mucus or dryness causes this kind of sound. Generally, these sounds are not a cause of worry.

[Read : Snoring In Babies]

Normal Newborn Irregular Breathing Patterns

Normal Newborn Irregular Breathing Patterns

It is normal for a newborn to have irregular breathing patterns that range between fast and slow and interspersed with periods of pause in breathing. For first-time parents, this may look unusual and ring warning bells. But you must know that this is normal in infants and resolves with time and the growth of the baby.

A few types of irregular breathing patterns in newborn babies include

1. Periodic Breathing

When observing your baby, you may notice a pattern where your baby is breathing rapidly, followed by periods of shallow breathing. You may also notice that your little one doesn’t seem to breathe for a second or two.

This type of breathing is known as periodic breathing and is completely normal. But if you observe that the breathing has stopped for more than 10 seconds, you will need to take your baby to the pediatrician.

2. Transient Rapid Breathing

This type of breathing is seen in premature babies who are born before 38 weeks of gestation of the mother and born through a C-section. Medically known as Transient tachypnea, this condition happens due to incomplete development of the lungs.

Typically, in this type of breathing pattern, you will see that the infant is breathing much quicker than a normal infant who breathes about 40 to 60 times in a minute. The good news is that this condition is transient, meaning that it will resolve a few days after birth.

3. See-Saw Breathing

Some babies born with soft ribcages often face this breathing irregularity. During the breathing process, you will notice that the chest contracts and the stomach expands when breathing in. While this may be alarming to parents who watch their babies sleep, this issue gradually resolves with the strengthening of the rib cage.

Newborn Digestive Sounds

Newborn Digestive Sounds

The digestive system of a newborn is in the developing stage. They are in a hungry mood throughout the day and night and soil their diapers frequently. Therefore, some strange sounds are often observed. Some of the common digestive sounds of infants are:

  • Belching
  • Burping
  • Churning
  • Growling
  • Grunting
  • Gurgling
  • Hiccups
  • Passing gas

[Read : Baby Sleep : 3 Months to 6 Months]

When do Baby Sleep Noises Resolve?

All kinds of sleeping sounds are mostly normal. With the gradual growth of the baby, these sounds will also get resolved. Mostly after a few months (3-6 months), your baby will enjoy a deeper sleep. By this time, the dream sleep time gets reduced and most of the time they are into a deep sleep.

Top 5 Tips to Reduce Baby Sleep Noises

baby sleepy

If you as a parent want to have a stressless sleep and make sure that your little one is also sleeping peacefully, you may want to resolve the baby sleep noises issue. Here are the tips to help you with the same.

  1. It is very important to make them feel the difference between day and night from the very beginning. Always try to keep the night-time dark and as quiet as possible. Your newborn’s sleep is not very deep, and a small noise can wake the baby.
  2. You need to catch the sleepy cues of your baby. The general indications are rubbing the eyes, sleepy and glazed eyes, yawning frequently, etc. Promptly try to put your baby to sleep if you observe these fatigue signs. This will help your baby sleep deeper.
  3. During the initial days, feed your baby more frequently. This will keep them full and the sleepy sounds, due to hungry stomachs, can get reduced.
  4. Always burp the infant after feeding. This helps to remove gas from the stomach and your baby sleeps better.
  5. Babies below 3 months generally have 4-5 hours of daytime sleep. As the infants do not have any sleeping routine, make a schedule for a daytime nap for them. It helps to get a good sleep. To know the sleep pattern of a 0 to 3 months baby, click here.

During the initial days of your baby, you will be surprised to hear strange sounds from your baby during sleep, but they are common, and no need to worry about it. Maybe the little one is dreaming. As we discussed, these are the outcome of the gradual healthy development of your newborn. But if your baby’s sleep noises seem uncommon and you are worried, it is always better to consult your doctor.

[Read : Grunting Baby Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment]


1. Is it Normal For Babies to Grunt a Lot in Their Sleep?

Due to bowel movement, babies are used to uttering grunting sounds and it is normal. Sometimes due to the acid reflux, the discomfort makes the baby grunt.

2. Is it Normal For Babies to Moan and Groan While Sleeping?

During the early stage, babies are active sleepers. They sleep a lot in short intervals, dream, do different activities, laugh, moan, and groan too. As per studies, generally, these are pretty normal.

3. Why Does My Baby Squirm and Grunt While Sleeping?

While squirming is sweet to listen to, grunting may worry you. But this is a common thing in babies. Their digestive system is trying to adjust with the mother’s milk or formula. Sometimes, while gas passes through, these kinds of sounds are generated.

4. Is it Normal For Babies to Make Squealing Noises?

While your little one is very much delighted, he/she makes high-pitched noise to express their feelings. This is not a cause of concern. But if your baby is squealing continuously, you must check whether there is any discomfort and contact your doctor.

Read Also: 8 Tips To Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Well

Dr. Srikanta J T, MBBS, Diploma in Child Health (DCH), Diplomate of National Board(DNB), Fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine(NUH, Singapore), Training in Interventional Pulmonology
Consultant - Paediatric Interventional Pulmonology, Allergy and Sleep Medicine, ASTER CMI Hospital
10 years of experience

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