Understanding Newborn Snorts When Crying: Signs to Watch and When to Seek Help

When your newborn starts crying, it’s not uncommon to hear a few snorts in the mix. It’s a sound that can be alarming for many new parents, making you wonder if there’s something wrong.

Rest assured, snorting while crying is usually normal for newborns. It’s part of their adjustment to breathing air after nine months in the womb. However, it’s always wise to know when it’s just a quirk or a sign of something more serious.

In this article, you’ll discover why newborns snort when they cry, what’s normal, and when it might be time to seek medical advice. Knowledge is power, and understanding your baby’s unique sounds can give you peace of mind.

Key Takeaways

  • Newborn snorting when crying is generally normal and part of their adjustment to breathing air outside the womb. However, persistent snorting or accompanied by other symptoms may signal a problem that needs medical attention.
  • The snorting sound happens when babies take in excessive air too quickly which results in minor blockages in their nasals causing the snorting sound.
  • Differentiating between normal and worrying snorting sounds are essential. Parents should familiarize themselves with their newborn’s typical breathing patterns. If the snorting is associated with symptoms like skin discoloration, consistent fussing, or visible respiratory difficulty, consulting a healthcare provider is necessary.
  • Swaddling, maintaining a consistent environment, checking for signs of discomfort, and implementing gentle rocking motions can help soothe a newborn who snorts when crying.
  • Immediate medical assistance should be considered if a baby’s snorting is accompanied by a blue or purplish color around the lips, mouth, or torso, indicating a severe condition called cyanosis. Changes in the newborn’s feeding habits and extraordinary fussiness can also be alarming signs.
  • Trusting your instincts as a parent is crucial. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s important to contact the pediatrician and ensure the health and safety of the newborn.

Why Do Newborns Snort When Crying?

As your newborn makes their way into the world, they’re greeted with an entirely new, and somewhat intimidating environment. Among the barrage of new sensations they’ll experience is the act of breathing air. It might come as a surprise, but in the womb, your little one gets oxygen through the umbilical cord, not their lungs. So, once they’re out in the world, with lungs as their primary oxygen source, it’s an entirely new ball game.

This novel breathing experience often manifests as snorting during crying. But you might ask, why exactly does this happen?

When newborns cry, their little bodies work overtime, exerting more energy than usual. With this increased energy demand comes the need for more oxygen. Here’s where their still-developing respiratory system kicks in. Babies take in more air than usual to meet this demanding oxygen need.

But what happens when they take in too much air too quickly? It results in what we refer to as snorting. As your baby cries, they quickly force air in and out, which could lead to mild blockages in their nasal airways causing that distinctive snorting sound.

It’s important to remember that snorting during crying isn’t necessarily indicative of a problem. Most times, it’s a result of your newborn getting used to breathing in a whole new world. However, constant, persistent snorting or snorting accompanied by other symptoms like skin discoloration could signal a more serious issue.

Your baby’s snorting could simply be a quirky reminder of their newness to life outside the womb. So don’t let those cute little snorts worry you too much! Stay calm and observant and you’ll soon learn to understand your baby’s unique language.

Normal vs. Concerning Snorting Sounds

Let’s dive deeper into understanding the differences between normal and concerning snorting sounds in newborns. As a parent, it’s crucial for you to observe and familiarize yourself with your infant’s usual breathing patterns.

Your newborn’s snorts or snuffles while crying can seem alarming at first. Yet these sounds are usually just the product of their little bodies learning how to breathe in a world filled with air. Remember, your baby spent nearly nine months in a fluid-filled environment, so snorting when taking in air is typically a non-issue.

However, not all snorts are created equal. Some sounds could act as red flags for underlying conditions. While it’s true that a nasal blockage might cause your little one to snort when they’re upset, consistent or intense snorting can potentially be a sign of an airway issue.

For instance, you might observe that your baby snorts more when lying on their back. This could indicate conditions such as laryngomalacia, a fairly common condition that causes softening of the tissues of the larynx (voice box) above the vocal cords. It’s most often noticed in the first few weeks of life.

Also, you need to be alert for signs of distress. If your baby’s snorting is accompanied by blue coloring, constant fussing, grunting, or noticeable difficulty in breathing, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider. These signs could suggest a more serious condition, such as respiratory distress syndrome or bronchiolitis.

Remember, keeping an eye on any noticeable changes in your newborn’s breathing patterns is vital. While snorting might be a part of your baby’s adjustment to life outside the womb, it’s always advised to trust your instincts. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider when in doubt. It’s always about ensuring the comfort and safety of your little one.

Tips for Soothing a Newborn Who Snorts When Crying

Even though snorting in newborns can be part of their natural breathing pattern, it can be quite alarming for you. As a parent, of course, you want to make sure your little one is comfortable and safe. Here are few tips to assist you during those crying moments with your snorting baby.

Keep a Steady Environment
Newborns are sensitive to changes in their environment. In general, try to maintain a consistent, quiet environment to avoid startling or upsetting your baby. Swift changes can overstimulate your child. This may result in your baby snorting even more during episodes of crying.

Swaddle Your Baby
Swaddling is another tried-and-true method to soothe a crying baby. When you’re swaddling, make sure not to wrap too tightly. This would restrict your baby’s chest movements, leading potentially to breathing difficulties. A properly swaddled baby can feel secure and fall asleep more easily, reducing crying and subsequently lessening snorting episodes.

Check for Signs of Discomfort
One of the reasons your newborn might be crying and snorting can be discomfort due to a wet diaper or hunger. Regularly check your baby’s diaper and look out for signs of hunger such as sucking motions. Remember, early feeding could reduce crying spells and the associated snorting.

Use a Gently Rocking Motion
Babies find rhythmic motions soothing. A gentle rocking motion or even a ride in the car can help soothe a crying, snorting baby.

As a parent, it’s essential to stay calm throughout these episodes. Your calm affects your baby’s mood. Understanding that snorting can be a part of the newborn’s natural breathing pattern helps to reduce anxiety around these events. If there are noticeable changes in your baby’s breathing or if the snorting is accompanied by blue coloring, seek immediate medical attention.

When to Consult a Pediatrician

While snorting noises during crying can be quite normal as your newborn adjusts to the outside world, there are certain circumstances under which you should consult a pediatrician. Understanding these circumstances gives you a heads up, helping you make informed decisions about your baby’s health.

If your baby’s snorts are accompanied by a blue or purplish hue around the lips, mouth, or torso, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical help. This change in color is tied to oxygen levels in the bloodstream, and it could indicate a serious condition known as cyanosis.

Look out for other abnormal noises like wheezing or continuous grunting. Both these could point towards respiratory distress. Changes in the shape of your baby’s chest, such as an upward and outward curvature, known as barrel chest, is also a cause for concern.

Here’s a table with the concerning signs to watch out for:

SignsWhy it’s a concern
Blue or purplish huePossible cyanosis, a serious condition
Wheezing or continuous gruntingPotential respiratory distress
Changes in chest shapeMay indicate abnormal lung or chest wall growth

Difficulty feeding or a change in eating habits is another factor that could indicate a problem. If your newborn regularly snorts while feeding, seems to be struggling for breath, or isn’t feeding as well as they usually do, that’s a cue to call the pediatrician.

Also, keep tabs on your infant’s temperament. A newborn that’s extraordinarily fussy might be signalling a health issue. Be vigilant of unexpected spikes in temperature. Fever can be a result of an underlying infection causing the snorts.

Remember, you’re the one who knows your baby best. If something doesn’t seem right to you, it’s always a wise choice to contact your pediatrician. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to raise a concern and get it checked out, even if it turns out to be nothing. It’s reassuring knowing you’re doing everything you can to ensure the health and safety of your little one.


Remember, it’s normal for your newborn to snort when crying. But, if you notice any concerning signs like a change in color, abnormal noises, difficulty feeding, or unexpected fever spikes, it’s time to consult a pediatrician. Trust your instincts as a parent. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. Your proactive approach plays a crucial role in ensuring your baby’s health and safety. So, stay alert, trust your gut, and remember – you’re doing a great job.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should a parent consult a pediatrician if their newborn snorts when crying?

Parents should consult a pediatrician if their newborn exhibits concerning signs such as a blue or purplish hue, abnormal noises like wheezing or grunting, changes in chest shape, and difficulty feeding.

Are changes in eating habits a cause for concern?

Yes, significant changes in a newborn’s eating habits could indicate an underlying issue and should be discussed with a pediatrician.

How can parents judge if a change in a baby’s temperament warrants medical attention?

A marked change in a baby’s temperament, especially alongside other symptoms such as unexpected fever spikes, can warrant medical attention. Parents should trust their instincts and seek advice if anything seems amiss.

What is the impact of being proactive in ensuring a baby’s health?

Being proactive helps detect potential health issues early, improving the chances of quick and effective treatment, and thus ensuring the overall health and safety of the baby.