Babies look most adorable when they are soundly sleeping in their cots. You forget all your worries and feel relaxed when you see your tiny bundle of joy having pretty dreams with his mouth open and his hands folded into a tiny fist.
But have you ever paid attention to your child’s sleeping habits? I read somewhere that kids sleeping with their mouths open might be suffering from respiratory issues. As parents, we often take these open mouth scenarios too lightly and think that this is just how a baby sleeps. But the truth is sleeping with an open mouth is an indicator of some major health problems your child might be facing.
So, why do kids sleep with their mouths open? Why is it considered unhealthy for a newborn to sleep with an open mouth? And what are some best ways to prevent your child from developing this habit?
Newborn babies always breathe with their noses, so if your child is sleeping with an open mouth, there might be something off. Some major reasons that cause your child to sleep with an open mouth could be an airway obstruction caused by a cold or allergy. When your child is having chest congestion, it becomes difficult for him to breathe through the nose, and as a reflexive action, infants start breathing through their mouths. Another reason could be a low facial tone, which means your child’s oral muscles are weak, and it is easier for him to sleep with an open mouth. It is also possible that your toddlers have a habit of drooling at night, which is why he is sleeping with an open mouth.
What Is Meant By An Open Mouth Posture?
An open mouth posture is simply an issue faced by newborns and toddlers due to which they start breathing through their mouths instead of the nose. It becomes difficult for infants facing open mouth posture to close their mouths even during the day.
The open mouth posture can cause problems in developing facial and oral structure-function in your infant, and you must consult a pediatrician to solve this problem.
Is It Normal For My Baby To Sleep With His Mouth Open?
We all know that breathing through the nose is a natural way of taking in oxygen. The same goes for your baby. So, it is not considered normal when your little munchkin is sleeping with his mouth open, even if it’s a slight crack.
The nose creates a clear and healthy air passageway for breathing. When we breathe through our noses, we take in more oxygen, plus the nose filters out all the bacteria and dirt particles trying to enter the body. The mouth is certainly not capable of doing this.
This is why breathing with the mouth is unhealthy, particularly for our little darling.
Why Is My Toddler’s Mouth Always Open?
We, as parents, always take our child’s wellbeing, is our priority. So, why take this sleeping issue for granted? There could be many reasons why your toddler is unable to get a well-rested nap, but no need to worry too much. There could be some simple reasons behind this sleeping with an open mouth condition such as…
Cold & Allergies
Your infant can easily catch a cold and develop allergies. This seasonal flu and allergies can cause excess mucus to develop in your baby’s air passageways, making it difficult for your baby to sleep with a closed mouth.
Your baby might be sleeping with an open mouth posture if he is suffering from severe chronic congestion, making it impossible for him to breathe through his nostrils. You may notice that your newborn has a stuffed nose, and he is breathing heavily from his mouth.
Mild congestion is normal for a baby, and simply raising your child’s head on a pillow can help drain all that accumulated mucus.
Breathing with an open mouth is often associated with sleep apnea. This means that your baby’s airway is blocked may be due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Sleep apnea causes the baby to snore and take pauses in breathing while taking a nap.
Some common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Restless sleep
A deviated septum may be a culprit behind your toddler’s mouth breathing problem. A deviated septum is an abnormality in the cartilage and bone separating the baby’s nostrils from one another. This could be the reason your baby is sleeping with his mouth open.
Is It Bad If A Toddler Sleeps With Mouth Open?
Good long sleep will surely have a positive impact on your baby’s mental and physical health. But babies who sleep while breathing with their mouths open do not get a sufficient amount of rest compared to those infants who are sleeping with their mouths closed.
Sleep deprivation in infants is always a concern for parents because naturally, if your child is not sleeping properly, it can adversely affect your child’s performance, growth, concentration, behavior, and development.
Other problems that your child might face due to mouth breathing include:
- It will reduce the level of oxygen in the baby’s bloodstream.
- Dry lips and mouth
- Teeth change
- Mouth breathing is often linked to symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
How To Prevent My Child From Mouth Breathing?
Well, if your baby is also facing difficulty in breathing or is continuously sleeping with his mouth open then there seems to be a problem in your baby’s airways. If the condition looks serious to you then consulting your pediatrician is a wise move. The doctor will prescribe proper medicine for your child.
You can also take some simple precautions on your own to help your child get proper sleep and breath properly with his nose.
Use a humidifier
Dry air around your baby to increase mucus production in your newborn. Adding a mist humidifier to the room can help your baby cope with his stuffed nose allowing him to breathe more freely.
Keep your baby hydrated
Keeping your baby well-hydrated is also a good way of avoiding the mucus from accumulating. Make sure that your baby is feeding properly to prevent dehydration.
Use saline drops
Using saline drops is the most effective solution to clear the mucus building up inside your baby’s nose. A few drops of saline will cause the thick mucus to become thinner making it easy for it to flow out.
Give your baby a warm quick shower
Giving your baby a warm bath not only removes germs from the body but also thin out all the mucus stuffed inside the nose.
Suction it out
Suctioning out all the mucus from your baby’s nose will help your child breathe properly since he is not old enough to clear his nose independently. Use a bulb syringe and be as gentle as possible. And don’t forget to wash the syringe after every use.
Sleeping with an open mouth is a habit often found in newborns and toddlers. My elder son used to sleep with his mouth open throughout the night, and the problem became permanent during the winter season. It started to bother me after a while, and I started looking for ways to solve this problem.
Observing my son a bit more, I realized that he was having a congested chest, which might be the reason for his blocked nose. Someone advised me to use saline drops along with a warm bath in the morning. These home remedies became pretty effective, and my son could finally breathe properly through his nose. But when my daughter faced the same problem even in the summers, these remedies were not useful. And I had to rush to the doctor to prescribe her medicines to improve her condition.
Now, it’s up to you. If you think home treatments are not working out for your kid, please consult a doctor on this matter. After all, your child’s health is more important than anything else.