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Your Baby's Breathing Pattern: What's Normal?

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024


It might give you goosebumps, but it's normal for your baby to experience short pauses in breathing. Do you know that your baby breathes more rapidly than you? You tends to breathe around 18/20 times in a minute where as your baby breathes around 40/60 times per minute. The reason behind this is that your baby's lungs cannot hold that much amount of oxygen.



Babies have a very strange and peculiar breathing pattern. Your baby follows a breathing cycle, which alternates between fast, slow and occasional pauses. Your baby might have various stages of slumber, she might go deep in her dream world, still and calm, and might be possible that she might be active and noisy and sometimes she might pause for couple of seconds and not breathe at all. This is known as periodic breathing, which is completely normal. Your little ones lungs will develop with time and she would outgrow her pattern of breathing.


Your baby's breathing pattern: What's normal?

The breathing pattern of your baby will change into a mature pattern as she would grow, with occasional sighs, in her first few months of her life. If you still want to reassure yourself about the normal breathing pattern of your child then you should follow the following steps:


You have to place your ears near to your baby's mouth and nose while she is off to sleep. You will get to know if there is are any abnormalities in her breathing pattern.


You have to observe the chest movement of your baby. You need to consult her doctor, if you find any irregularity in the way her chest heaves up and down.


You have to put your cheek next to your baby’s nose and mouth and feel her tiny breath against your skin. Keep a check on the heat and moisture while she breaths.

Your Baby's Breathing Pattern: Observe different breathing sounds while your baby sleeps

If your baby makes different breathing noises while sleeping, take a note of it. This will help you to determine if there's any problem.

Whistling noise

You would have noticed it by now that your baby breathes out of her noise and not through her mouth. This trick helps her to eat and breathe at the same time. Since, your young one's air passages are too small so a little blockage leads to whistling noise.

High pitched squeaky sound

It is also known as stridor. It is caused by excess tissue around the larynx. It is very common among the infants.

Wheezing sound

You will observe that when your baby breathes out, it makes a whistling sound. Generally, it happens because of the blockage in the small airways that comes from the bronchi. If it is left unattended it might lead to asthma in near future.

Horse cry or "barking" cough

When your baby develops excess mucus deposits in her wind pipe, it leads to blockage. This affects your baby’s breathing pattern. If you don't consult your pediatrician at the right time, then it might lead to severe larynx infection.

Deep cough

A blockage in the large bronchi of your child, might result into deep coughing during sleeping hours.

Fast breathing

Your baby might feel hard to inhale and exhale. This happens due to heavy mucus blockage in the lungs. It makes very difficult for your young one to breathe normally. It has to be consulted before it might turn into pneumonia or any other lung's infection.

Your Baby's Breathing Pattern: Few home care tips

1. Never shake your child in case of no breathing. Generally, parents shake their kids too hard in attempt to restart the breathing which results into severe brain damage.

2. Always make your baby to sleep on her back and never on her stomach. This might lead to respiratory problem.

3. Try to keep your child's head and neck in one straight position while she lies down. If neck bends too forward, breathing can be blocked.

4. Never expose your baby to the cigarettes smoke. Make sure that your car and home are always smoke free.

Your Baby's Breathing Pattern: When to consult your pediatrician 

If you observe noisy breathing pattern occasionally, then it is normal, but if it is persistent then it is an alarming situation for your young one. Following are the red alert situations when you need to consult your paediatric:

1. When you clock your baby's breath more than 60 times per minute.

2. When you get to hear continuous grunting sound at the end of her inhalation.

3. Keep a regular check on the duration of her breathing pause. If it exceeds the average time of 10 seconds, then it's a concerning situation.

4. When you observe a flare in your child's nostril during breathing. This shows increased efforts in breathing, which is a result of blockage in the wind pipe.

5. When you get to find her chest pulling in with every inhalation.

6. If your baby has elevated temperature.

7. If your baby is turning blue or or dusky colour. You might also find her developing a blue, triangle shaped pattern on her forehead, indicating that there is insufficient oxygen flow in her blood streams.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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