Why is My Baby Grunting?

If you have a newborn you are probably spending a great deal of time gazing in wonderment at your new precious gift. You marvel at their toes and count their little fingers. You stroke their tiny head and sing lullabies your mom once sang to you. You listen to every tiny coo, sigh and grunt. Grunt?! Yep, little babies like to grunt a lot.

So Why do Babies Grunt?

Babies tend to grunt due to things moving around in their tummies. Digestion is old school to mom and dad but for baby it’s a skill their little body has not quite mastered. They are new to the world of eating and as the milk moves through them they do some little grunts to help it move along.

What is Going on in their Tummies During Grunting?

When babies or anyone else need to have a bowel movement the stomach muscles are used to bear down. New babies though do not have developed ab muscles. They haven’t used them yet! So what they do use for bowel movement is their diaphragm. The diaphragm bumps into their tiny voice box when they are pushing and that is where the grunt comes from.

How Do I Know My Baby is Not Constipated?

Just because the baby is grunting that does not mean they are constipated. If a baby is constipated they will only have a bowel movement a couple times a week or less. Baby will lose their appetite and their little belly will be hard. Baby will squirm and cry out in pain and have tiny hard pellet like poop. With a normal poop baby can fuss and even turn red from straining but if it keeps happening and you aren’t finding a surprise in the diaper then there is a good chance it is constipation.

How Can I Help if it is Constipation?

There are several things you can do at home if baby is having an issue with constipation. A tried and true method to get baby to have a bowel movement is to take their temperature rectally. Sometimes the stimulation from the thermometer gets things moving. Be prepared though sometimes things get moving pretty quickly so keep your baby’s bottom covered. You can also try massaging baby’s anus softly and they may get things moving as well.

Should You Be Worried?

In most cases of grunting, there is nothing to be worried about but if your baby’s breathing and grunting seems to be tied together or your baby seems to be breathing hard or uneven, then you need to call the doctor. If the baby seems to be having trouble getting a breath, call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room.

Baby grunting does not last long but enjoy it while you can. All of the baby’s tiny noises are gone much too quickly. As with every moment in your child’s life take the time to cherish it.