9 baby breathing problems to look out for
Age: 7 weeks 4 days
- Deep cough
A low or deep cough that lingers on instead of going away after one or two coughs might mean that your baby has a blockage in the large bronchi. This airway leads directly to the lungs, so any obstruction here is a serious matter.
- “Barking” cough
This hoarse cry can sound like a bark and is often the result of mucus in the windpipe. It might just be a common cold but if the cough persists, you should get your baby checked for croup, which is a viral infection of the larynx and bronchial tubes.
- Rapid respiration
Sometimes a baby’s breathing rate will briefly pick up. But if you notice your baby’s breathing get fast enough to reach more than 70 breaths per minute without taking a break, take her to the doctor immediately, as this can be an early symptom of pneumonia, or another serious infection.
- The wheeze
When the small airways in the lungs are clogged, this can lead to wheezing sounds when babies breathe in and out. That blockage is most often due to mucus or tissue swelling, and it’s commonly known as bronchiolitis: an infant equivalent of bronchitis that can be contracted from a virus.
- The whistle
Unlike adults, newborn babies breathe most prominently through their nostrils. If you hear a slight whistling coming from your child’s nose, chances are there’s either some mucus or dried milk blocking one of her nostrils.
- Heavy rasping
A common cause of heavy rasping is tracheomalacia: a condition in which a baby’s trachea is floppy and softer than normal. This usually happens fairly soon after birth. Breathing often changes with changes in position, and may improve while sleeping.
If your baby regularly makes a grunting sound when breathing, it's a sign that she is having trouble breathing, and is trying to keep oxygen in her lungs.
- Nasal flaring
Nostrils widening every time she takes a breath in are a sign that she is having trouble getting enough air, and should be evaluated by a doctor.
When the sternum is sucking in further than usual, or the skin under the breastbone, above the collarbone, or around the ribs is being pulled in more than usual, this is also a sign of trouble breathing.
- “Breathing Problems.” Stanford Children’s. Stanford Children’s Health, 2017. Web.
- “Children’s lungs.” British Lung Foundation. British Lung Foundation, 2017. Web.
- “Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, April 27 2015. Web.
- “Respiratory Problems in Babies.” AboutKidsHealth. AboutKidsHealth, October 18 2009. Web.
More articles at this age
The postpartum screen every mom should take
Healthcare providers recommend that pregnant and postpartum moms get screened for depression at different intervals, but how do these screening tools work?
My baby is gassy...what do I do?
It's not a bad manners thing - babies just tend to be really gassy! But what makes them so gassy? And what should you do about it?
Our 4 favorite baby games
The science is in: playing games does wonders for the human brain. Sure, your baby might not be ready to take up residence behind a chessboard just yet, but that shouldn't stop you from drawing out her natural curiosity and playfulness.
Navigating the workplace as a single parent
A working single parent wears a lot of hats, and it can help to be prepared for how work might be different after your baby's birth.
7 weeks old
your baby may not be fully independent yet, or really in any meaningful way whatsoever, but that won't stop her from trying.
8 keys to bath time safety
your baby already spent 9 months at sea, so just think of her first couple of baths as a return to familiar waters. Of course, there's no comfy womb protecting your baby now, so now it's up to you to make bath time safe for the two of you.