Baby Panting When Excited / CrawlingBabies are marvellous creatures, aren’t they? We all know what crying means (they’re wet or hungry or sleepy) but what about those other sounds? What about those weird, wacky noises they make when they’re excited?They gurgle, burp, and giggle, making mysterious and hilarious noises. No wonder parents can sit staring at their baby for hours, both mystified and entertained by the sounds emitting from these wee creatures.But have you noticed something else your baby does and wondered what on earth it means? Is your baby panting, almost like an excited puppy dog? And do you wonder why they’re doing it and what it means for the physical development of your little one? And being the devoted parent you are, you may have wondered whether panting is something you should be considered about, right?We wondered too, so we decided to investigate this type of breathing in babies – why they do it, what it signals and – most importantly – whether it’s something that you as a parent should ever worry about. (The short answer is: probably not!)In this article, we explore panting and explain the reasons babies do this, at what age panting usually begins and when it stops. We’ve researched what the experts say and pass along helpful tips for knowing when your baby is just breathing and when a visit to the pediatrician might be in order.
When Do Babies Begin Panting?
When They’re Newborns
Imagine how tiny the lungs of a newborn baby are. It’s no wonder they breathe much less deeply than older babies and toddlers and sometimes breathe erratically. Parents sometimes panic when they think their baby has momentarily stopped breathing, and that’s certainly understandable. But most often, this is simply part of newborns’ shallow, irregular breathing patterns. Still, we know it can be alarming. But as your little grows, you’ll notice that their lungs begin taking in the air more deeply, and eventually, their breathing patterns regulate.
Babies Often Pant When They’re Crawling
This is the stage of development when babies begin exploring the world around them. They get excited by every new encounter, and panting is a common way for them to express that excitement. They don’t have words at that age, so their mouths and lungs have to talk for them. Panting is a natural part of this phase, and there is nothing to be alarmed about if you’re baby is doing it.
Babies Sometimes Pant When They’re Hungry
Panting may occur if your baby isn’t latched on properly or there is a delay in getting their bottle. Usually, the panting subsides as soon as they are nursing comfortably or having a bottle.
When Panting Might Indicate a Problem
Every parent is keenly aware of their baby’s responses and breathing patterns. Is there ever a time when panting might indicate a problem? It’s rare, but watch for these other signs to know what your baby may be trying to tell you by panting.Parents know immediately when their baby is in respiratory distress, and panting can signify that they aren’t getting enough air. Look for these other physical signs if you have any concerns:
They are pulling on their chest and scowling.
Their skin is bluish and/or clammy.
The baby’s nostrils begin flaring, and they seem distressed.
They feel feverish to the touch.
They open and close their mouth as if gasping for air.
If any of these physical symptoms appear, get medical help immediately.However, those are the “worst case” scenarios occasionally accompanying panting. Most of the time, babies pant to express delight and excitement. After all, they don’t have a vocabulary to express their complex emotions, so they use their breath instead.
Breathing Patterns In Babies
As your baby grows and develops, you will notice their breathing patterns and rhythms change. Here’s a look at some of the ways babies breathe when they’re awake and when they are sleeping.
During Sleep, Breathing Rates Slow Down & Speed Up
Depending on their sleep phase, a baby’s breathing rate may quicken or slow down. During REM sleep, babies sometimes make noises. But once they are in stage four sleep – the deepest – a baby’s breathing slows down considerably. All of this is normal.
Babies Don’t Breathe With Their Diaphragms Like Adults Do
You know you breathe with your lungs and diaphragm, but babies breathe with their noses and stomachs. Watch your baby breathe while sleeping, and you’ll notice their tummy going up and down. Breathing deeply through the lungs and diaphragm occurs later in physical development.
If Your Baby Has a Fever, Breathing Will Accelerate
When they’re sick, babies have to work harder to breathe. That means their breathing rate increases because fever stimulates the respiratory muscles to increase both the rate and depth of breathing. According to experts, if your baby takes up to 60 breaths per minute, there is no real cause for alarm.Their muscles are simply working extra hard to take in deep breaths. However, you need to feel sure your baby’s getting the oxygen they need, so see the doctor if you have any reason to suspect it isn’t just a minor illness making your baby’s breathing more laboured.
They Only Use Their Noses To Breathe
When babies are really small, they can’t breathe through their mouths, like older babies, toddlers and adults. (This begins around six months, but some babies start using their mouths to breathe sooner). Their breaths are noisier than their older siblings and parents. When your baby is excited and happy, you may notice they start panting because their brains are stimulated, and their emotions are heightened.It’s perfectly natural and usually very cute! And once they begin crawling and responding to other people and external stimulation, the panting may become more noticeable.
Why Babies Pant When They Crawl
Imagine how much energy it takes for an eight or 10-month-old baby to crawl around a room! They expend an enormous amount of it as they begin learning about their world and dealing with objects, people, and everything else that’s a part of their lives. Remember that their lungs are still a work in progress, so it’s common for them to get excited and for their breathing to accelerate and sound like panting.
Other Sounds Babies May Make
In addition to panting, babies make all kinds of sounds as they grow; some are important to be aware of. If you notice that your baby is doing any of the following, consider a visit to the doctor.
If your baby is wheezing, it may be a sign of an underlying issue that needs attention. Always be on the safe side by having your physician listen to the baby’s chest if you have any worries about this.
This too, may indicate a problem, so ask your doctor if it persists.
Stridor refers to a high pitch, almost whistling sound a baby may be making if they are experiencing an underlying breathing problem. If you notice this, book an appointment with your doctor.
This is also a sign that something may be wrong. If your baby is having a hard time breathing at any time, take them to the doctor.
Although we included important information about your baby’s breathing patterns that might indicate a problem, most of the time, weird noises and panting are simply part of a baby’s development. Panting usually indicates delight and excitement.In almost all cases, a baby’s panting is perfectly natural, particularly when crawling around. With every passing day, a baby grows and change, and their breathing patterns change, too. Relax and enjoy the sounds your baby makes – they can be very funny, especially when they’re panting like a puppy dog!
Newborn Breathing: What is Normal & What Is Not — Video — St. Louis Children’s Hospital
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