What is Wrong With a Snoring Baby?
In the initial stages of their growth, babies are able to use different mechanisms that help them cope which for most parts are physical. Different peculiar yet amazing changes happen within their bodies, wherein for most parts may seem odd during the first few months of the growth period but eventually switches back to the normal routine.
Snoring in babies, for example, may not be usual yet can be considered under given circumstances. New-born babies, in particular, still have immature organs. This also means that their airways are still small, resulting to them ‘catching breath’, literally. Since snoring is caused by air passing through restricted pathways mostly due to an occurring obstruction, some babies tend to snore. It is also an important fact to remember that colds usually occur within the first few months of infancy, hence the decongestion babies have on their airways, specifically in their nostrils.
However, babies may suffer from various illnesses and/or deformation within the passageways of air due to indicators that can be observed even during these stages of infancy. Most of these indicators may not be noticed right away due to the confusion between them being normally occurring or already a warning sign.
Snoring vs Snorting: Which is which?
The real deal behind snoring made by babies is that it is normal most of the time. Snoring is the vibrations in the airway walls as air passes by through obstructed and often restricted pathways. As mentioned earlier, it is most common among babies since the diameter of their airways are still in the process of expansion.
Snorting is when the baby is experiencing clogged airways, i.e., in the nose. Its breathing mechanism is usually performed through the nose, and if clogging occurs, the effort to breathe through the nose produces the sound.
Snoring and snorting are both experienced by babies under such conditions. It is expected that these diminish over time, especially after the internal organs of the child has completely developed.
When is snoring and snorting not normal anymore?
If snoring can still be experienced by your child after the indicated period of time of it being normal, it can be a symptom of complex illnesses that are detrimental to the child’s health.
If your child’s snoring has been out of control lately, the following could be hinted by the snoring your child makes:
- Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is when your child experiences too much drowsiness and urges to sleep, even when having taken the recommended amount of rest.
Sufferers of sleep apnea, particularly Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition wherein airways are blocked, experience a series of disruptions during sleep, like waking up after snoring for a more than the normal period of time. This is because the body signals the brain to find a way to breathe again normally, which in turn results to the sufferer jolting randomly often during the night for him/her to catch their breath.
To identify whether your child is experiencing with sleep apnea, it is best that you observe their breathing pattern as they sleep. If your child inhales quite longer than usual, it may be best to seek for an appointment with a sleep physician.
- Complications in the Airway Structure
Doctors usually check for structural complications, especially if upon observation, their breathing patterns may differ from that of sleep apnea. The following deformations can be:
- Deviation in Nasal Septum Bone
The nostrils are separated by a cartilage that enables are to flow in and out of the body with ease. However, children may be born or acquire a deviated nasal septum which caused the inability of your child to breathe comfortably. This is because there is a tendency that most of the air circulating in and out of the body may pass only through the wider nostril.
- Enlarged Tonsils
Tonsils help in maintaining the bacteria acquired and stays within the mouth. If there is an infection, the tonsils are inflamed, creating a blockage in the throat.
If such happens, snoring may not only be the outcome of the inflammation. It can also cause ear problems that will result to difficulty in hearing and swallowing, among a few. Check your child’s tonsils and recall whether or not bacteria-infested objects were consumed by your child or look for a wound found near or on the tonsils, as these are susceptible to bacteria.
This happens when a cartilage blocks the baby’s airways therefore causing the snoring sounds. According to doctors, laryngomalacia is normal for most babies during the infancy stage, since the said cartilage is expected to mature six months into/after their growth period. The snoring caused by such condition is also expected to subside.
- Throat Disorders
The occurrence of cysts in the throat or the presence of bacteria and/or virus within the area can cause various disorders within the throat, hence a hindrance for air to be fully breathed in and out of the body. Stomach acid leakage can also contribute to the infection in the said area.
Laryngitis may also be the suspect behind the snoring, as it is a serious condition that ultimately affects the throat, particularly the voice box and causes hoarseness of the voice and even the total disappearance of the voice.
Lumps are usually harmless yet can cause snoring. However, it can be an indicator of an enlarged thyroid, presence of excess mucus in the throat, or cysts forming on the tonsils.
Why is snoring something to be alarmed about?
Snoring causes damage to the over-all condition of the body because of the lack of oxygen as a result from little exchange of CO2-O2 within the body that happens during breathing.
Oxygen is vital to the development and proper functioning of the body, as it is used to burn food or solid substances consumed and convert it to energy; the deprivation of such mineral can lead to numerous health issues mostly affecting the central nervous system, i.e., the brain.
David McIntosh, an internationally acclaimed ENT expert, enumerates the following symptoms that are most apparent when looking for an indication of oxygen deprivation:
- Higher levels of stress, leading to anxiety and depression
- Reduced attention span
- Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
- Problems with memory and cognitive dysfunctions
- Higher levels of social anxiety
- Problems with executive functions, i.e., logical thinking
In addition, children that participate to any outdoor activity, such as going to school, can greatly affect their performance and energy. It can also be categorized as an inconvenience to the whole household, since babies and kids alike are unable to articulate what they feel whenever they feel discomfort.
Yet certain factors that ultimately will result to snoring during sleep should also be taken note of, as snoring, especially after a long day, is inevitable due to physical exhaustion. There is noting to worry about if your child has:
- Have had a loooong, tiring day;
- is feeling sick, especially having contacted colds, as it can cause blocked airways and produce the snoring sounds as air pass through a narrow airway;
- Allergens present in your home/environment he/she was exposed to;
- Is an occasional snorer, which should be no more than four nights a week; and
- Sleeping position, especially when lying on their backs or stomach
The good news about snoring is that it can be minimized through changes in lifestyle and bedtime routines. The following tips can be used to minimize sleep discomfort, including snoring:
- Using nasal spray/hose may help with the snoring.
Clogged airways in the nose is the most obvious symptom which can cause difficulty in breathing, especially when the child is suffering from a cold or allergic rhinitis. The best alternative then when breathing is through the mouth. And if they have somehow managed to breathe through them, the snoring sounds intensify. You can use these methods to relieve the stuffy nose:
- Salt nasal sprays help decongest the clogged airways thus letting alleviating difficulty in breathing. You can also make your own nasal drops with ¼ teaspoon of salt diluted in 237 mL of pure water and use a dropper to place it onto your baby’s small nostrils.
- Nasal aspirators and neti pots can also help unclog congested airways.
- Humidify air ins your baby’s room.
Central heating systems dries up the air on your house, making it harder to breathe in with, literally. Humidify air inside your home, especially on your baby’s nursery using a warm-mist vaporizer. Taking your baby to a warm bath just before bedtime helps too, as warm and humid air helps in taking away the secretions and decongests the nose.
- Be mindful of the allergens inside your own home and banish them once and for all.
Allergies can cause stuffy nose, which is a symptom of allergic rhinitis. Allergens worsen this, especially if your baby is most sensitive to it. These are some allergens to be mindful of:
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- House plants
- House rodents
If any of the following is present in your home, make sure to eliminate it immediately.
- Adjust his/her sleeping posture.
Sleep posture contributes greatly to how we are able to breathe in our sleep. Lying on his/her back or stomach may hinder air to pass freely through its airways hence the snoring. This will also cause further damage, as oxygen cannot fully circulate within the body. Let your child sleep on his/her side instead.