Grunting Baby Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment

5 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

Grunting Baby Syndrome

Your cutie has begun to make the usual noises and is grunting frequently. Ease up, this simply means that they’re learning to relax their anus and pressurize the abdominal area. These abilities will help them to pass stool. Sometimes babies force their diaphragm instead, thus, you get to hear the scary grunting. In this article, we explain all about the grunting baby syndrome.

Grunting baby syndrome is pretty normal, and in most cases, not a sign of any illness. However, in a few exceptional cases, a baby might have some respiratory problems which are causing these grunting sounds. If you want to understand whether or not your newborn’s grunting is normal, look for signs like fever and unusual breathing. Babies who are showing these symptoms need medical attention at the earliest. Moreover, any form of home remedy for grunting is not advisable and is harmful to the baby’s growth and well-being.

In This Article

Why Do Newborns Grunt?

Newborn grunting usually signifies that a baby is learning how to pass their poop. Infants have no idea how to loosen up their pelvic floor and let stool and gas pass through. They also haven’t yet grasped applying abdominal pressure. Because their abdominal muscles are still immature, they tend to rely on their diaphragm out of no choice. When they apply force using their diaphragm, their closed voice box(glottis) creates a grunting noise.

At the time of grunting, your baby’s head might change to red or purple color and they might seem in a strenuous state. Such things can continue for a few minutes, and this is not a mark of constipation. Your cutie’s body is finely producing excreta or waste – they simply need to learn how to let it pass through easily.

Is it Normal For a Newborn to Grunt?

Grunting Baby Syndrome in newborns

Babies often grunt, and it’s normal. Your baby will stop grunting during their poop time and passing gas when they learn how to do a bowel movement. That means grunting is here to stay for a couple of weeks. Grunting baby syndrome is rarely a sign of a health issue.

However, grunting with every breath or accompanied by fever is of some concern. Babies who grunt like this should be taken to a doctor without delay.

Causes of Grunting in Infants

Your cutie has a vast number of noises up their sleeves, which they make for different things.

As mentioned, grunting is the result of the inability to relax one’s pelvic floor and force the abdominal muscles. But grunting can also be caused by other problems.

1. Respiratory Issues

A newborn can grunt due to Neonatal respiratory distress – it’s a condition with immature respiratory organs. This problem occurs in some premature newborns. However, babies who have had a normal birth can also go through this condition, although it’s rare for them. If your baby’s grunting is the result of a respiratory problem, symptoms like nasal flaring and rapid or irregular breathing may show up. Also, their skin color may turn blue.

[Read : Breathing Problems in Babies]

2. Immature Organs

Babies who have had a premature birth might still have developing organs. Because their organs are not matured, a baby may grunt.

3. Sepsis

In this condition, an infection flows throughout the baby’s body with the help of blood. Consequently, the baby faces some serious health issues. It may also cause inconveniences while breathing. Thus, it results in noisy grunting.

How Long Does Grunting Last in Babies?

Most of the time, a baby begins grunting in its initial months. Let time slip, it will stop on its own after a few weeks. But this is not the case with all babies. All infants are unique; thus, they may take their own time to learn to take charge of their bowel movements.

When to be Concerned About Baby Grunting?

When to be Concerned About Baby Grunting

Grunting is not the same for all babies. It’s true that they are grunting because they’re in the process of learning to harmonize their bowel movements. However, some health conditions can also cause grunting baby syndrome. Babies who helplessly grunt after every breath might be going through a respiratory problem.

Grunting with every breath indicates

  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Sepsis
  • Meningitis

When to Consult a Doctor?

When to see a doctor

There are a few signs which can be used to identify the presence of respiratory distress in babies. Babies who are grunting and possess these symptoms must be taken to a doctor immediately.

  • Fever
  • Nasal flaring
  • Lethargy
  • Blue skin or tongue
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Weight loss

Remember, grunting is considered normal but if your baby is doing this very frequently, it is a matter of great concern. It’s best not to waste any more time because respiratory distress can become even more troubling. Thus, keep a close eye on your baby and observe if they show any indication of difficulty while breathing.

There is one type of grunting which is common and is not of major concern. But a baby who grunts and also makes other types of noises that are unusual is most likely facing some kind of respiratory distress. Furthermore, grunting followed by fever, indigestion and shortness of breath is also a severe issue.

Are There Any Home Remedies For Grunting?

No, grunting is the kind of condition which can’t be dealt with any home remedies. If you find any home remedy to stop grunting in babies, that’s possibly not genuine. Only a doctor can help you if your baby is grunting because of some condition.

It’s unbearable to see your baby struggling. But the only true remedy for grunting baby syndrome is patience. You will have to inevitably wait until your baby figures out how they can let their stool and gas pass through with ease. Grunting sounds are fearsome, there’s no question about it. However, they indicate that your baby is learning a very crucial thing. Don’t be concerned if your baby is cheerful, active, healthy and eating properly – this means that their grunting is safe and normal.

On the flip side, grunting along with some other symptoms like fever are to be treated as a sign of a health condition. See a doctor if something like this happens to your cutie.

[Read : Gas in Babies]


1. Why is My Baby Grunting and Groaning so Much?

Grunting and groaning sounds mostly don’t point to any major health concerns. Babies grunt and groan at varied times of day and night.

2. What is Grunting Respiration in Newborn?

A baby makes a grunting sound every time they breathe out. This indicates that the baby’s body is trying to retain some amount of air in the lungs. This will help to keep the lungs open. Moreover, infants who do this often have low lung volume.

3. How Do You Treat Grunting Baby Syndrome?

If you truly want to cure the grunting baby syndrome of your cutie, don’t depend on any home remedies such as stimulating their anal for bowel movements. While it’s true that it might cure an infant’s grunting, they’ll start to rely on this stimulation to pass stool and gas. Thus, they may take a long time to learn to relax their bowels and force their abdominal muscles without any external help.

Read Also: GERD and Reflux in Babies – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment by Dr. Srikanta J T

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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