Your Newborn Baby’s Breathing Noises

Whistling noise: A small blockage in the nostrils tends to make a whistling noise that clears when you suction it out. Newborn babies breathe out of their noses, not their mouths. This is a good trick, as it allows them to breathe and eat at the same time. However, their little noses have small air passages, so a little bit of mucus or dried milk can make the breathing passage even smaller, causing a whistling noise or occasionally, difficulty moving the air in and out. Hoarse cry and a “barking” cough: A blockage in the larynx (windpipe), often due to mucus, makes a hoarse cry and a “barking” cough. This may be a sign of croup, an infection of the larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes. Croup is not a common infection in newborns. High-pitched, squeaky sound: Called stridor or laryngomalacia, this is a sound very young babies make when breathing in. It is worse when a child is lying on their back. It is caused by excess tissue around the larynx and is typically harmless. It typically passes by the time a child reaches age 2. Deep cough: A blockage in the large bronchi (divisions of the trachea, which lead into the lungs) makes a deep cough. Fast, labored breathing: Fluid in the smallest airways (the “alveoli”) causes pneumonia, an infection due to a virus or bacteria. Pneumonia causes fast, labored breathing, occasionally cyanosis, a persistent cough, and crackly sounds (“rales”) when listened to with a stethoscope.

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