27 answers

Newborn Making Gasping Noise When He Eats

I have a 2 week old baby boy and every time he eats ( he is bottlefed) he makes this weird gasping noise, sorta like he is trying to catch his breath. He takes really fast, short breaths....like he is having trouble breathing. It is really loud and is really starting to bother me. He mainly only does it when he eats and sometimes, but very rarely, when he is sucking on his pacifier. At first I thought it was just cause he was getting too excited and eating too fast, but the more I listen to it the more I begin to think that it is not normal, especially since he does it at every feeding. I did mention it to his pediatrician last week during his 2 week checkup and she recommended that I change bottles, which I did, and it didnt help. She also mentioned that it may be a problem with his trachea, that some babies are born with a small trachea. Has anyone ever heard of this? I want to take him back to the pediatrician next week and feed him there so they can hear it for themselves, but any info in the meantime would be great. Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for your support and advice. I decided to go into the pediatricians office on Monday. I fed him there and let the dr listen to the noises. She sent us to get a chest xray and a barium swallow test done. His heart and lungs look good, she thinks it may be tracheamalacia, also known as a floppy trachea. She is going to do a recheck on Monday to make sure he is gaining weight properly and if not we will go see a pediatric ENT. If it is tracheamalcia, then he will eventually grow out of it.
Thanks again to everyone!!

Featured Answers

It sounds like he has some sinus congestion, probably because his sinus are just learning to work correctly, getting used to breathing in dust and allergin particals. I wouldn't worry about it right now, but if it continues for more than a week, I would have his doctor look at him. There could be a blockage, but I would think that it's more getting used to all the different stuff in the air.

First congrat on the new baby. I am the mother of 7 children. I would INSIST that the doctor hear this for themselves. Many problems caught early on are easier to treat than later.

The hole in the nipple might be too small.. try snipping a little bit bigger hole so he dosen't have to work so hard.

More Answers

Make sure when you feed him that he is sitting up as much as possible. Ideally at a 90 degree angle. After he eats, keep him at the 90 degree angle for about 5 minutes. Please let your peditrician listen also.

I am a 22 year old mother of a 3 week old son, and he does the same thing while eating(he is breast and bottle fed)He does it more with the bottle, and I think it's because he has to work harder to get something from the breast, and does the same thing for the bottle and winds up needing a breath, but he also does it when he is nursing, just not every time. When it happens, just pick him up over your shoulder like you're going to burp him-- it helps him get his breath back.(I think it's harder to get his breath back while trying to swallow lying down-their throat muscles are still developing tone, and all that) try switching to another slower flow nipple on your bottle ( I use the evenflo comfi bottles---I think avent is the best on the market for problems like what you're having) Good luck with "nipple experiments", and hopefully that will help. If it doesn't get better in a couple more weeks, reask your doc, and if answer is the same, seek a second opinion. GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND YOUR BABY BOY!!!!!

A..... i hope it's nothing serious. And of course always follow up with your doctor. but in the mean time.... i would check the tightness of the cap and nipple on the bottle. If the the cap is screwed on tight then the baby has to suck harder to get the fluids. You can try to see if this helps by loosening the tightness of the cap by only screwing the cap on to the bottle just barely.... enough that it doesn't come off but not much more. then see if your little guy does better. i am guessing that he is trying to drink so hard that he looses his breath and then has to gasp. most of this is normal. and many prayers that it is nothing else. -mb

It could be reflux. Mother of two - 17 mos baby boy and an 8 week old baby girl. My new baby was doing something similar. It started at around a week to two weeks. She would gasp for air along with a host of other things. It started gradually and it initially appeared she just had not mastered the suck, swallow, breath rhythm while feeding (Bottle). She would also suck for a few seconds, then gasp and just hold the nipple in her mouth along with the milk. She would eventually spit the milk out. The feedings started taking a very long time and by 4 weeks it would take an hour or two to take 2 ounces. By the time she finished, she would have severe hiccups and cry for an hour then it was time to feed again. No sleep and hunger make for a very fussy baby. We ended up in a vicious circle where she was hungry all the time but didn't want to eat. I knew something was wrong but when I called the doctor they just said some babies just feed slower than others and it will get better as she gets bigger. Finally, at around 5 weeks, she started to wheeze and cough during and after feedings. When she developed congestion, I took her in for a cold. As it turned out, she the doctor found she had an ear infection which is apparently rare for a 6 week old baby and was usually the result of bad reflux.

I don't know for sure but you might want to ask about acid reflux. My baby had that and it can be scary. Babies don't know they can breathe through their mouth so if they have acid reflux it blocks their breathing passages and sometimes they gasp. Mine did make some gasping noises but usually she just stopped breathing. It can be dangerous so you do need to rule that out.
From B. mother of 6.

It doesn't sound normal to me either. Pester the doctor. I've heard of cases where the mother was the only one concerned, and finally the doctors would check it out, and find a problem. You are more aware of what goes on with your baby. You are with him all the time.

It sounds like he has some sinus congestion, probably because his sinus are just learning to work correctly, getting used to breathing in dust and allergin particals. I wouldn't worry about it right now, but if it continues for more than a week, I would have his doctor look at him. There could be a blockage, but I would think that it's more getting used to all the different stuff in the air.

My daughter A., has a nine month old,Brayden, that had the same problem, tracheomalacia. It really does sound a lot worse than it is. The trachea is soft and elongated, so it makes this horrible sound. He has outgrown it.
I know you are concerned, but relax. Talk to your pediatrician about this on his next visit.
Google tracheomalacia, and research a little more. You'll feel better when you are more informed.

Hope this helps,

I had the same problem with my daughter. It was almost like she was choking while she was eating, making this terrible gasping sound. She did it with bottles and when she was breastfeeding. Our pediatrician looked at us like we were crazy :) but also suggested that we switch bottles. Another ped suggested that she may just not be used to the bottle and the flow was a little too fast for her. She still continued to do it until she hit 8 or 9 weeks and it's like she suddenly was able to handle the flow. I would ask your ped again if he's still doing it (be persistent!), but hopefully it'll just be something he has to grow into. Hope this helps! :)

My baby used to do this also. She's now 2 and half months and no longer does it but for about the first month or so she would gasp and almost hold her breath at times during eating.(She's also bottlefed) She was doing it because she would eat too fast and not be able to catch a breath. Was your baby born early? My little girl was born at 37 weeks and had minor lung problems. Anyway, I hope this helps!

In the 1980's my newborn daughter did a similar thing. It was determined to be "infant stridor." An exploratory procedure w/ a view camera helped to determine this. At the time I was told that my daughter would grow out of it which she did.

First congrat on the new baby. I am the mother of 7 children. I would INSIST that the doctor hear this for themselves. Many problems caught early on are easier to treat than later.

I would ask the doctor, but it sounds like he made just be hungry and is trying to eat to fast but if he does this every time then I would ask his doctor you may just to change the nipple type like to a softer nipple more like mamas nipple it could also be that the nipple hole is to big and he is in a hurry to eat or to small and he has to work harder

I think it is probably normal. My youngest used to make a gurgling noise for several weeks after he was born. Sounded like lots of mucus, but I was told it was normal and would go away. Are you using a nipple with the smallest hole? If he's getting it too fast or large amounts, he may be trying to catch his breath. If so, it is probably normal...after all, he's only been at the bottlefeeding for only 2 weeks!

Hi, I have had a baby that had breathing problems and feeding problems, so I don't like to make light of anything like this. But on the other hand I don't want to completely freak you out either if there isn't an issue.

So here is my advice. But first a couple questions. When he does the gasping thing is it while sucking or is he coming off when he gasps? Do you notice any other signs of distress like red, watery eyes? Does he spit up a lot?

First of all, I definitely think you should feed him in front of your pediatrician. It is hard for them to distinguish what is normal baby noises and problems if they are not hearing them for themselves. It could easily be that he is getting too much milk and just gasping because it is going down too fast. If that is the problem you may need to check his nipple size and make sure you are using a slow flow nipple. My babies have always been breastfed at the beginning, but I know that those first few weeks when the milk supply is so high, they do a lot of gasping, but they adjust eventually.

I was thinking that a lactation consultant would be helpful, but since you are not breastfeeding, I'm not sure if that would work. But they are good at telling if there is a problem with the baby that needs attention. If you have access to a speech therapist they can tell the same things.

Oh, one other simple thing to check is if his nose is stuffed up. Babies have trouble eating if their nose is congested. You probably have already checked this and since it is every feeding that is probably not it, but if it is a problem you can put saline solution in his nose to soften it up and then suction it out with an aspirator.

Well, hopefully it is nothing, and he will adjust in time. But don't hesitate to keep pursuing help if you think there is a problem.

First, great idea about feeding in front of pediatrician. Second, baby isn't choking, right? Food goes down and stays down,right?
Third, my baby girl was a noisy eater because she had generalized allergies and had trouble due to a stuffy nose. It was especially noisy at first, when she was ravenously hungry, then abated. Her nose wasn't runny--just very stuffy. Doctor's advice was to get rid of dust catchers like stuffed animals and try to keep her room dust-free. Eventually, due to drainage down her throat and into her ear canals, the doctor advised nightly teeny doses of decongestant like Triaminic. Don't try anything until you consult your pediatrician. Your doctor is the one from whom to get advice--if you are not satisfied, try another one. By the way, she is now 26 and married and we eventually had to have her tonsils and adenoids removed at 13!

Well A., I had the same problem with my newborn. He sounded as if he was panting like a dog. I was very concern as well. My friend, who is a Pediatrician advised me that it was a result of a poor latching-on reflex. It comes when the infant is not getting air so that is their way of breathing. She explained it like a beginner swimmer constantly coming up for air. Anyways, the problem continued until he was like three months. I no longer have this problem, thank God!!! You have that right to worry and I'm praying that it's the same problem with your baby.

Try changing to a slow flow nipple, and make sure he is "sitting up" a bit when you feed him. If that doesn't help, it wouldn't hurt to have him checked out. It is difficult to say whether or not it is normal without hearing it.

When my daughter was first born she used to come off breast during feedings and make this loud "sucking wind" noise (like you would make if you stayed under water too long and really needed a breath.) It really worried me, but I could tell that she was fine. I watched her breathing during feedings closely and made her take frequent breaks. She outgrew it by 3 weeks of age.

To me it does sound like he is wanting more flow from the nipple. He might be sucking so hard bec to him he doesn't think he is getting enough food... and it creates him to respond that way. And I would think that he only does it with the pacifier because he is trying hard again to get food. Maybe make the whole bigger with a needle.

And of course this is just what I would try first to see if it makes any change.. but then call your doc.

Good luck! I'm sure its not a real big deal whatever it is!

The hole in the nipple might be too small.. try snipping a little bit bigger hole so he dosen't have to work so hard.

Definately sounds like he's aspirating while eating. Which means that some of the milk is getting into his lungs also.
Is he gaining weight normally? I have had two friends with babies with this problem and both turned out ok. Two different types of treatments though. Make your pediatrician listen to him and if they still don't seem concerned, get a second opinion. It is NOT normal. Usually they add a thickner to the formula and this stops it or if it's reflux causing it, treat it with reflux medicine.

Hi, any time you question if your baby is okay or not, you should take them in. Mom's always know their baby better than anyone else. In the mean time, a "slow-flow" nipple would probably be the best. The playtex slow-flow nipples work really well. Also, congrats on the new baby.

I would definately follow up on this. My daughter has been having eating difficulties that have led to poor weight gain. A couple of weeks ago she had a swallow study at the children's hospital. We discovered that her formula (and baby foods) were actually going into her lungs or just going to her vocal chords. One of the questions I was asked by the specialist was, "Does your baby gasp for air when feeding?" My daughter did not do that, but apparently it is an indicator of feeding problems.

For the swallow study, they had me feeed her foods barium added whie they watched her with a special x-ray camera to see where the food ended up. They also try different consistencies and different nipples to see which the child can use most efficiently. We have begun adding a thickning agent to her bottle and I will begin working with a feeding specialist to train her oral muscles.

I think that feeding him infront of the doctor would help. My thought is that it would be with the breathing system and not eating system. Have they checked his nose to see if he has a good flow through his nose?

every baby does this they are learning to breathe air and eat at the same time . good luck and congrats on the new arrival. and the small trachea i am pretty sure is congenital strider my husband had this and they told his mom they needed to do surgery but she told them no and he is almost now 27. way more than the 6 months they told her so if it sounds that bad haul him back to the doctor and have her do a x-ray. my youngest would make the same noise but it was choppy and the doc said she would be fine and she is. although we did have delivery complications so that may have been a factor. always if you are worried about something take you child to the doc or hospital. it saved my daughters life!!!!!

My son did that and the doctor told me there are three reasons why he may be doing that. one was that the milk may be to cold, the flow was way to fast or he may have sinus blockage and the only way to breath is through his mouth. So check all of those and see what happends.

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