Why Does My Baby Gasp For Air – Is It Something To Worry About?

Have you ever seen your little one making weird noises while breathing? And do you also wonder whether if the baby is having difficulty breathing? This may be a sign that she is gasping for air. But you don’t need to panic! We’re moms, and moms always worry about everything. Is it normal for her to gasp for air? Is she okay? What can I do to help her? I’ll explain everything you need to know about why babies gasp for air and how you can help your little one breathe better. 

Gasping for air can be very alarming for us moms. The reason why your baby gasp is because she is not getting enough oxygen. Usually, babies have something stuck down their throat, which is the most common cause of accidental death in babies. Other times, it could be a medical condition like upper respiratory infection, sleep apnea, asthma, or laryngomalacia, aka stridor. If your baby’s condition starts getting worse, then please consult your pediatrician as soon as possible.  

Is it normal for my baby to gasp for air? 

There are a couple of reasons why your baby is gasping for air. Some of the reasons are normal, and some of them are not. For example, if your baby is crying hard, she will be gasping for air while crying. This is normal.

Also, breathing problems that occur only occasionally are not worrisome as well. On the other hand, if the breathing problem is persistent, it might be a warning sign, and you should call your pediatrician to go over your little one’s unique situation.

How do I know if my baby is having trouble breathing?

How do I know if my baby is having trouble breathing?

Note your baby’s breathing pattern when she is well. Count how many breaths does she take in a minute. This will give you an idea about how it usually looks and helps you spot a potential problem if anything is wrong. If she is taking more than 60 breaths per minute, then look for these signs:

  • Your baby will make a grunting noise as she tries to open a blocked airway.
  • Your Baby’s nostrils will flare to breathe, showing increased effort.
  • Your Baby’s chest muscles underneath the ribs and neck will visibly be seen going deeper than usual.
  • Your Baby’s energy will significantly decrease in the case of a lung problem.
  • Noticeable decrease in her feeding intake.
  • Cheeks and other areas that a lot of blood flow like lips and tongue will turn blue.
  • Mostly lung problems cause fever, so check your baby’s temperature when concerned.

When should I worry about my baby’s breathing?

You must see a few things while your baby is gasping for air to see what’s the cause of it. If you notice the following symptoms, then take action by calling your pediatrician or going to the emergency room if it’s late at night or a weekend.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Upper respiratory infections are of two types, Pneumonia and Bronchitis. These infections are quite common in babies between the age of 3-6 months and can cause them to gasp for the air along with fever and cough. In bronchitis, the bronchial tube becomes inflamed. And in pneumonia, the lungs fill up with water. In either of these cases, take your baby directly for medical evaluation. 


Asthma is not just an older children’s disease. Every year around 70% of kids diagnosed with asthma is under the age of 5. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the common signs of asthma in babies and toddlers are fast breathing, persistent coughing, pale or blue coloring in the face, panting, wheezing, and difficulty eating. In any of these symptoms, please get medical attention immediately. 

Too much mucus

Mucus comes from cold, allergies, or other illnesses. Even asthma can also cause a severe level of mucus. So, if your baby has a cold or any allergies, use a humidifier or nasal aspirator to get some of the snot out. But do take her for a checkup as well to get the doctor’s opinion too. 

Whooping Cough

Pertussis (aka whooping cough) has several symptoms. It can cause your infant to gasp for air suddenly. Other symptoms are fever, congestion, vomiting, and watery eyes. But one of the distinct symptoms is when your baby makes a specific whooping sound while coughing. If you suspect this symptom, then talk to the pediatrician right away. 

What are other reasons my baby sounds like she’s gasping for air?


In Laryngomalacia, babies make a high-pitched gasping noise. It occurs when the tissues around the vocal cords become softer than usual and fall between the airways, making it difficult for the baby to breathe. In many cases, this condition is not serious and resolve on its own, and only 15%-20% of babies end up needing surgery. 

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea can be diagnosed in adults, children, toddlers, and infants. In this, your baby will stop breathing in their sleep. This condition is called obstructive sleep apnea in which the tissue in the throat become floppy and block off the airway. In this condition, you can use a breathing machine for your little one at night, but do consult your pediatrician as well. 


Premature babies are born with a premature respiratory system. They will usually breathe heavily for a moment and then start breathing normally again. Over time their respiratory system will catch up. But if your preemie doesn’t immediately begin breathing normally afterward, they go to the emergency quickly without wasting any time. 

Smoking in the same room

Smoking in the same room as babies can is very dangerous. It can give them asthma, ear infection, strep throat, etc. Along with this, it can also make a baby gasp for air. That is why always go outside or to a different room while smoking. 


Reflux is another common problem in babies and causes them to gasp for air. If you see your baby spitting up after every feed, then this is likely the problem. It usually resolves on its own, but it can also last until your baby becomes an adult. 

What do I do if my baby’s gasping for air after feeding?

What do I do if my baby's gasping for air after feeding?

There is no proper cure for acid reflux in babies but there are surely a few things you can try to make your little one feel better 

Make sure she is in the right position

Babies tend to lie down a lot, but it can cause problems for a baby with acid reflux. Try holding your baby in an upright position, or you can also raise the head of her crib or bassinet. No matter what you do, always make sure that her head is in a safe position. 

Hold her up while feeding

Babies with acid reflux suffer more severe symptoms when they’re lying on their backs. The situation will even get worse during or after feeding. What you can do is make them sit up slightly during the process. 

Don’t lay her down right after feeding

Most of the time, babies fall asleep while feeding, so we moms make the mistake of putting them down right away in their crib. But this can upset your little one’s stomach and cause them to gasp for air. Therefore, if your baby has reflux,, you should hold her in your arms for a least 30 minutes. 

Give her gripe water

People often recommend gripe water for babies with reflux, colic, or other gas issues. Sometimes mothers see a change in their baby’s condition, and sometimes they don’t. You can give it a try to see if it works on your munchkin or not. 


Worrying about your bundle of joy is normal. Even our mothers still worry about us. But it doesn’t mean you should start panicking once you notice anything different in your baby’s pattern of breathing. Keep on checking your baby’s breath and see the signs of gasping for air. Stay strong if you see any of the above-mentioned signs and call your doctor immediately; it’s better not to diagnose anything on your own. 

Do let us know if your baby ever gasped for air and share with us how you cured it in the comment section below. If you have any questions regarding why babies gasp for air, then write them down; we would love to answer all of them.  

Was this article helpful?

Hello, I am Ramsha. A mother of two naughty boys. One is 2.5 years old while the other is 1.5 years old so you can understand the tips and tricks I may have learned and am still learning while upbringing them. It is a wonderful yet difficult phase of life. But every moment is worth cherishing!

Leave a Comment