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Newborn Sleeps with the Mouth Open: Should I Worry?

Watching your baby sleep is one of the most adorable faces you would probably see as she grows up. Admit it; you have once in a while tried to sniff her breath or gazed into her cute little face for hours.

In those baby-mom gazing moments, you must have noticed that the newborn sleeps with the mouth open. You must have thought to yourself, why does she do that? Could something be wrong with her? Or is it just some random baby cuteness issues?

The good news is that you are not alone. A lot of babies sleep with their mouths open at some point in their infancy stage. But why is this so? What could be the cause? Can the behavior be stopped or prevented? Well, let us today figure out all these mind-boggling questions that worry you a lot.

Why does a newborn sleep with the mouth open?

The good news is that you are not alone. A lot of babies sleep with their mouths open at some point in their infancy stage. But why is this so? What could be the cause? Can the behavior be stopped or prevented? Well, let us today figure out all these mind-boggling questions that worry you a lot.

  • During infancy, babies prefer to breathe through their nose. Even babies have standards. So, when they open their mouth, it is most probably to breathe instead of using the nose. This normally results from being unable to breathe through the nose due to blockages.
  • During their time in the womb, babies’ noses are usually covered and blocked by mucus. Once they are born, the mucus stays inside the nose and clears out with time. But before the nostrils clear, they would have to do with breathing through the mouth.
  • Collapsed Deviated Septum: When this cartilage separating the nose into two chambers collapses, babies experience a difficulty in breathing. They would, therefore, become mouthers as they sleep.
  • Pacifier use: If the newborn is constantly sucking on the pacifier, it will be hard for the tongue to resume its normal position at the roof of the mouth. This condition hinders the ability of the mouth to close even as the baby sleeps.
  • Allergies/stuffed nose: A newborn experiencing allergic reaction will have a stuffed nose which hinders nose breathing. The baby then deviates to breathing through the mouth to keep things going within.

Are there effects of sleeping with the mouth open?

The nose plays a major role in the overall health of adults and most definitely babies. The nose is used for breathing (it is the gateway to the lungs) and smelling stuff. Before the air reaches the lungs, it is first warmed, filtered of foreign materials and humidified. These are functions that our mouths are not adept at performing, more so in newborns.

As the baby sleeps with the mouth open, it is mostly as a breathing mechanism and not for aesthetics or just because she is a baby. They may look more adorable, but mouth breathing has certain effects on your newborn.

Unproportionable Growth

During rest, the tongue is supposed to be in contact with the upper parts of the mouth. This counteracts other mouth muscular forces leading to a normalized facial development. For mouth breathers, however, the tongue is mostly on the mouth floor.

This is because the muscles developed disproportionally, leading to abnormal growth and face development. Here are some of the features that characterize prolonged mouth breathers.

Increased infections

The nose is responsible for the filtering of the air the baby breathes. Breathing of dry air causes increased viral and bacterial infections, bad breath and chronic fatigue. For a newborn, fighting off these infections is still a challenge due to the undeveloped immune system. Choosing to invest in baby humidifier products won’t be a bad choice when trying to prevent your baby from suffering from the infections associated with dry air.

Changes in baby behaviors

The reduced efficiency of breathing through the mouth affects how much oxygen flows to the brain. The reduced oxygen supply distracts the “restorative process of sleep.” This in return makes the brain unable to control focusing ability, controlling behavior and balancing emotions.

The sleeping process forms a crucial stage of how a newborn’s brain develops. This process should never be interrupted.

Drooling on the bedding

The open mouth provides a free passage of fluids from the mouth. This finds its way onto the beddings. Excess drooling rids the baby’s body of essential fluids though.

Besides sleeping with her mouth open, how do you know she is a mouth breather?

Well, the first indicator of a mouth breather is a pretty straightforward one. It occurs when a newborn sleeps with mouth open. Are there any other signs? Yes, there are.

  • Baby dislatching during feeding to catch her breath, then proceeding to feed again.
  • Heavy breathing during her sleep. Normally, she would take slow quiet breathes when she sleeps.

Stopping the open mouth sleeping

Now that we have discussed the causes, signs and possible effects of newborns sleeping with their mouth open, how can it be stopped? There are a couple of things that you can do to stop this rather worrying baby behavior.

1. Give her sometime

Sometimes parents worry too much when it comes to our little guys. In most cases, there is nothing much to fuss about. Some cases of open mouth sleeping are just due to the mucus from the womb that is still clearing from her nose.

This mucus will disappear after a while, and normal sleeping modes will be restored. If it is taking longer, you can give some remedy for the stuffy nose. These should be only prescribed by a pediatrician. She will be fine once the nasal cavity is clear.

2. Discourage her from opening her mouth in her sleep

There should be no cause for alarm here. If there is no noticeable cause of her opening mouth, always push her chin gently so that the mouth closes. Do this on a regular basis until she learns to close her mouth in her sleep.

3. Consult a pediatrician

When this condition is taking longer than usual to go away, then it could be chronic. You need to consult a reputable pediatrician for a thorough look up. Do not assume that everything will be alright yet it is taking longer for the problem to disappear.

4. Provide an allergy free environment

It has been well established that allergic reactions are some of the causes of open mouth sleeping. Promptly treat these allergies or better still, ensure they do not occur in the first place. Anything like dust, pet hair or baby products and scent that could be the cause should be avoided.

5. Change sleeping posture and environment

To ease your baby’s breathing problems, make her sleep with a slightly elevated posture. This posture eases her breathing. You could also have a humidifier in her room to keep the air she breathes from becoming too dry.

Conclusion

It is relieving to know that if a newborn sleeps with the mouth open, then it is probably due to some temporary reason that will go away itself after some time. If it does not, then there are several straightforward actions that you should take to rid her of the habit.

Above all, it is important to know that your baby has a nose for a purpose. She should not use her mouth for that purpose as doing so could lead to some negative consequences. I hope this article has been of utmost help and relief to you as a loving parent.

Kristi Cathey
 

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi Cathey and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I am a mother of 3 beautiful angels. This blog was created in order to share my personal experiences in baby care and general health care for pregnant women. If you’d like to get in touch with me, please contact me by sending me an email via kristicathey.intelligentmother@gmail.com. Welcome to Intelligentmother.com

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