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Article: Should You Be Concerned If Your Baby Sleeps with an Open Mouth?

Should You Be Concerned If Your Baby Sleeps with an Open Mouth

Should You Be Concerned If Your Baby Sleeps with an Open Mouth?

A few months after I became a mom, I remembered tiptoeing into the nursery for those middle-of-the-night checks, heart swelling at the sight of my angel sleeping soundly. But then noticing her mouth fallen open, looking like she was mid-cry. I would gently touch her cheek or forehead just to check that she was breathing okay. 

Dear reader, if you have had the same experience as me? I know that feeling of checking on your sleeping baby and seeing their tiny mouth hanging open.

As first-time moms, it's so natural for us to worry and not always know what's normal infant behavior. I used to google whether it was okay for babies to sleep with their mouths open, and even asked my pediatrician about it. Now that I have a general understanding about babies sleeping with their mouths open, you can also gain an understanding by reading Kaiya Baby’s article.

Is it normal for babies to sleep with their mouths open?

It's pretty normal for babies to sometimes sleep with their mouths open, especially when they're in a really deep sleep or if they have a lil' cold. Babies have smaller nose holes than us, so breathing just through their nose might not come as easy, especially when they're really small.

But if a baby always seems to be breathing through their mouth when they sleep and you notice other signs like sniffing a lot, it could mean there's an issue like a stuffy nose, allergies, or something else going on with their breathing. If it's happening all the time, it's prob a good idea to check in with the doc just to make sure everything's ok with how they're breathing.

Occasional mouth breathing at night is usually no biggie for babies. But consistent, chronic mouth breathing might be a sign that something needs looking into to make sure the little one's breathing is all good.

Why is my baby not closing his mouth when sleeping?

Here are some common reasons a baby might not close their mouth while sleeping:

Stuffy nose - A blocked nose from mucus, allergies or a cold is gonna force them to breathe through their mouth to get enough air.

Breathing issues - Sometimes babies have problems breathing through their nose cause of things like enlarged tonsils or a wonky septum that make it hard to breathe through their nose comfortably.

Sleeping position - How they're lying can matter too. Babies on their back are more likely to have their mouth open cause of how their airway lines up.

Comfort - Might just feel better breathing that way when they sleep. Not always a big deal.

Teething - When the teeth are bothering them and they're all drooly, it could lead to mouth breathing.

Habit - Over time they can get used to doing it, even when the original cause like a stuffy nose isn't there anymore.

Sleeping Newborn Baby

If their mouth is open all the time when sleeping and it seems like more than normal, or they're snoring, fussy or having trouble eating, it's a good idea to check with their doctor. The doc can help figure out what's really going on and give you advice on if anything needs to be done about it.

How to distinguish between baby's mouth breathing and regular mouth opening

Here are some things to look out for to tell if a baby is mouth breathing or just opening their mouth normally during sleep:

Sounds: Listen for any grunting, snorting, or sounds like they're struggling to breathe. Normal mouth opening shouldn't cause noises.

Lips: Check how their lips look. Dried, loose lips may mean mouth breathing. Babies who just crack their mouth open usually have moist lips.

Nose: Take a peek in their nose. If it's stuffy or gunky, it'll force more mouth breathing. Normal mouth opening isn't caused by nose issues.

Position: See how they're lying. Babies will change head positions, but constantly tipping their head back or facing their mouth up favors mouth breathing.

Other signs: Look out for other problems too if they're mouth breathing, like fast breathing, fatigue, no appetite or fussiness. Regular mouth opening usually doesn't cause those symptoms.

Portrait Cute Newborn Hold Mother's Breast

What is the harm of babies sleeping with their mouths open

Babies occasionally sleeping with their mouths open is generally not a cause for concern. However, if mouth breathing during sleep becomes chronic or is accompanied by certain factors, it can potentially lead to various issues or indicate underlying problems. Here are some potential harms or concerns associated with chronic mouth breathing in babies.

Dry Mouth: Mouth breathing can lead to a dry mouth and dry lips. The lack of saliva production in the mouth during sleep can contribute to these symptoms.

Dental and Facial Development: Chronic mouth breathing in infants and young children might affect the development of their teeth and facial structure. Prolonged mouth breathing can sometimes lead to dental problems, such as an open bite or other orthodontic issues.

Increased Risk of Infections: Breathing through the mouth can bypass some of the body's natural filtration systems in the nasal passages. This may increase the risk of respiratory infections.

Nasal Congestion: Chronic mouth breathing might be a sign of underlying nasal congestion or respiratory issues, which, if left untreated, could lead to more severe health problems.

Sleep Disruption: Mouth breathing can at times lead to a drop in oxygen levels because the oral and throat airways are relatively narrow and are not as effective in warming, humidifying, and filtering the air as the nasal passages. This can result in the body waking up during sleep to ensure an adequate oxygen supply.

How do I stop my baby from sleeping with his mouth open?

Encouraging your baby to breathe through their nose during sleep can help reduce mouth breathing. Here are some tips to help your baby breathe through their nose.

Clear Nasal Passages: Ensure that your baby's nasal passages are clear and not congested. Use a saline nasal spray or a nasal aspirator to remove mucus if needed.

Use a Humidifier: Running a humidifier in your baby's room can add moisture to the air and help prevent dryness that might lead to mouth breathing.

Elevate the Head: Place a small pillow or rolled-up blanket under the baby's mattress to slightly elevate their head. This can make nasal breathing more comfortable.

Correct Sleeping Position: Ensure your baby sleeps on their back as recommended to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, if your baby has difficulty breathing through their nose while sleeping on their back, consult a pediatrician for guidance.

Use a Nasal Strip: For older babies, nasal strips designed for infants may help open their nasal passages and promote nasal breathing.


In the end, if your little one sometimes sleeps with their mouth open, it's probably nuthin' to worry about. Babies go through all sortsa changes as they're growing up and develop different sleep habits.

But if ya notice them consistently breathing through their mouth at night, snoring, or other signs like being fussy or trouble eating, then check in with the doc. They can take a look at bub, make sure everythin's ship-shape overall, and address any issues that might be causing the mouth breathing.

Remember every baby is different. What matters most is making sure they're cozy, safe and doing well as they learn and grow each day. Don't stress too much about the small stuff - just pay attention and get professional advice if ya start to notice any prolonged or bothersome behaviors. Your baby's health is top priority.

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Yujia Shi

An expert in sleep sack design, is a valued contributor to Kaiya Baby's blog. With a strong background in baby sleep bags and maternal care, she is highly regarded for her professionalism. Yujia Shi prioritizes baby comfort and safety in her designs, using high-quality materials. Her insightful articles on sleep bags have been featured in reputable publications and have gained a significant readership. Trust Yujia Shi to help you create a comfortable and safe sleep environment for your baby, backed by her proven track record in the industry.

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