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Baby Pant­i­ng When Excit­ed / Crawling Babies 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

baby panting when excited - why baby panting when excited - why baby panting when crawling 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

baby panting when excited - why baby panting when excited - why baby panting when crawling 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.
  • Wheezing

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.
  • Grunting

This too, may indi­cate a prob­lem, so ask your doc­tor if it persists.
  • Stridor

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.
  • Laboured Breathing

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.

In Summary

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

*Medical Disclaimer

Please note that all the con­tents appear­ing on our site are the opin­ion of SeizeY­ourLife­To­day and are intend­ed for infor­ma­tion­al and edu­ca­tion­al use only. None of our con­tent is meant to replace reg­u­lar doc­tor vis­its or physi­cian con­sul­ta­tions. If you have a med­ical ques­tion or con­cern, we advise you to speak to a doc­tor as soon as possible. SeizeY­ourLife­To­day and the pub­lish­ers of our con­tent do not claim any lia­bil­i­ty for any dam­ages or health com­pli­ca­tions that may emerge from users fol­low­ing the infor­ma­tion giv­en on our site. All users are advised to speak to their physi­cian or licensed health­care provider before start­ing any diet, tak­ing any sup­ple­ment, or fol­low­ing any rec­om­men­da­tion they find on our site.  

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