baby sleeping with mouth open

Babies will often sleep with their mouths open when they are having trouble breathing. Mouth breathing is frequently a sign of nasal obstruction or airway blockage.

Parents should eventually seek a medical opinion because it is not advisable to leave it unattended. Continue reading, you will learn why and how your baby sleeps with mouth open.

What It May Mean If Your Baby Sleeps With Mouth Open?

Unless their nasal passage is somehow blocked, newborn babies almost exclusively breathe through their noses. In fact, young infants don’t actually have the reflex to breathe through their mouths until they are about 3 to 4 months old.

Researchers explain that a baby sleeping with its mouth open may develop in response to some type of blockage in the upper airway, like the nose or throat. This might result from a relatively unharmful condition on its own, such as a stuffy nose brought on by a cold or allergies. Or it might result from other, more complicated conditions.

Breathing through your mouth can develop into a bad habit over time.

But mouth breathing isn’t as effective as nose breathing, especially when it comes to the lungs’ oxygen absorption. Additionally, nasal breathing prevents bacteria and irritants from entering the body.

Is Baby Sleeping with Mouth Open to Worry About?

As parents, we worry about pretty much everything pertaining to our children. Mouth breathing shouldn’t be a problem if it’s just temporary due to congestion for a few days. But frequent mouth breathing during the night can have a lot of negative effects and needs to be stopped.

“Children who mouth breathe typically do not sleep well, causing them to be tired during the day,” dentist As stated by Dr. Yosh Jefferson. The development of the face, behavior, teeth and facial growth may all be impacted by sleep deprivation. They may get “long face syndrome” with a narrow jaw. Even worse, it can result in low blood oxygen levels, which can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea, among other health problems.

Bring up your baby sleeping with mouth open as soon as possible with your pediatrician. Waiting until your subsequent well-person visit is not advisable. Schedule a consultation with your pediatrician right away to talk about the situation. Poor sleep can have a significant negative impact on your baby’s development at this critical juncture in their life. Long-term mouth breathing as a baby has other negative effects that could arise, including heart issues and high blood pressure. In order to alert the doctor if your baby is experiencing any other problems during sleep, such as snoring or breathing pauses, keep an eye on him or her. Your pediatrician will be able to give you the best guidance on what to do next in order to arrive at a diagnosis and treatment strategy once the doctor is aware of your infant’s mouth breathing patterns.

Why Does Baby Sleeping With Mouth Open?

There are four reasons for babies sleeping with their mouth open.


If your baby’s nose is congested or blocked with mucus, it may be breathing through its mouth out of necessity. They could be allergic to something in their surroundings or they could have recently had a cold.

Babies may compensate with mouth breathing because they find it difficult to easily clear mucus on their own.

Deviated Septum

An irregularity in the cartilage and bone that divides your baby’s nostrils from one another can occasionally be the cause of mouth breathing. For those who also have a narrow upper jaw (which is linked to mouth breathing), this may make it difficult to breathe through the nose and may be common.

Sleep Apnea

Mouth breathing is another indication of sleep apnea, which basically means that your baby’s upper airway is blocked in some way. This typically results from enlarged tonsils or adenoids in infants and young children.

Snoring, sleepiness, breathing pauses, coughing, and choking are a few additional symptoms.


Additionally, some infants might simply develop the habit of breathing through their noses after being sick or for other reasons.

How to Treat Baby Sleeping With Their Mouth Open?

Make an appointment with your pediatrician if your baby sleeping with their mouth open. The doctor can order additional testing, prescribe medication for any infections, and help rule out any conditions that might be obstructing your child’s airway.

Otherwise, you might try the following things at home to clear congestion:

  • Humidifier. Stuffy noses can benefit from more moisture in the air. To reduce the risk of burns, a cool mist humidifier is best for infants and young children. If you don’t have a humidifier, you might think about letting your baby stay in the bathroom with you while you take a hot shower to produce steam.
  • Bulb syringe. Your baby may have trouble breathing if there is even a small amount of mucus in their nose. Using a standard bulb syringe or one of the more upscale snot suckers, such as the NoseFrida, you can remove the mucus. Be gentle so as not to damage your child’s nose. And to stop harmful bacteria from growing, clean your syringe after every use.
  • Saline wash. Before sucking out the mucus, you might want to give it a few sprays of a saline solution (salt water). You might even give a neti pot or saline rinse a try as your baby gets a little older. Just make sure to boil the tap water for safety, then let it cool or use distilled water.
  • Stay hydrated. To prevent dehydration and maintain the flow of mucus, make sure your baby is drinking plenty of breast milk or formula.
baby sleeping with mouth open

How To Stop Baby Sleeping With Mouth Open?

Depending on the reason for babies sleeping with their mouths open, it may be possible to prevent babies from sleeping with their mouths open. Use a cool-mist humidifier in their room overnight if it’s just transient congestion brought on by a cold. Before going to bed, you can also clean your nose with a NoseFrida or a bulb syringe. Another at-home treatment for nasal congestion is to put the baby to sleep with you in a steamy bathroom.

The next steps for a condition like sleep apnea or a deviated septum require that you follow up with your doctor. The doctor may suggest taking medication, using a CPAP or BPAP machine, or having the tonsils or adenoids removed to treat sleep apnea. A doctor might advise surgery for a deviated septum.

What are the Possible Complications of a Baby Sleeping with Mouth Open?

You might not anticipate any significant effects from mouth breathing while you sleep. Doctors and dentists warn that if it persists for a long time, a number of potential discomforts and other problems could arise if the baby sleeps with their mouth open.

Side effects include:

  • swollen tonsils
  • dry cough
  • inflamed tongue
  • teeth issues, like cavities
  • foul-smelling breath
  • gingivitis

Additionally, there could be issues like long-face syndrome if sleeping with mouth open. Basically, this means that the lower facial features of your child may lengthen disproportionately. Features you may notice include things like:

  • larger chin
  • gingival “gummy” smile
  • open bite
  • overall narrow face

Surgery can be used to change these features.

The amount of oxygen in the blood may be reduced when mouth breathing. This might cause anything over time, from high blood pressure to heart problems.

After that, there is sleep. Babies and young children who breathe through their mouths while they sleep frequently don’t get as deep of a sleep as those who do.

There’s actually a link trusted Source between mouth breathing and symptoms typically associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In fact, some children who have been diagnosed with ADHD may actually be experiencing problems as a result of the lack of sleep brought on by mouth breathing. Both conditions exhibit similar symptoms.

Therefore, you can more effectively treat the underlying problem if you can determine that your child’s mouth breathing is the cause of their lack of sleep.

When to See a Doctor?

a less stuffy baby now? Talk to your pediatrician if you continue to experience mouth breathing while you sleep. The upper airways are obstructed by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, which are resistant to home treatment. They could be infected in some situations. Others may simply have larger ones due to genetics.

No matter what, your doctor can advise you on any testing (like an overnight sleep study) or subsequent actions you should take.

Drugs like Flonase or Rhinocort may be beneficial for persistent allergies or for milder forms of sleep apnea. In other circumstances, your doctor might advise surgery to remove the tonsils and/or adenoids or to address other problems, like a deviated septum, that are preventing you from breathing normally.

Positive airway pressure therapy using CPAP and BPAP machines is one option for treating sleep apnea. These devices work by slowly blowing air through a sleep mask that your child wears. Your child’s airway is kept open by the air.

Additionally, some mouthpieces and other oral appliances may or may not be helpful as your child gets older. Be assured that it is uncommon for children to require these types of interventions.


Baby sleeping with mouth open breathing might be entertaining to watch, but it could also be a sign of a serious medical condition. Therefore, if you have any concerns, make an appointment with a pediatrician.