Young infants make the weirdest noises. If your baby is not yet earth-side, just be prepared to hear some strange sounds. My daughter used to sound like pig in her sleep, one son sounded like a pterodactyl, and my little 5 month old is hitting the long, drawn-out grunting noise phase.
Snoring may be a part of all of this. It should dwindle and lessen over the first few months of life.
Snoring in children is typically caused by a narrowing of the upper airway. This occurs due to allergies, food sensitivities, obesity, the way the child’s face and sinuses are developing, or enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
But, sometimes snoring is more than a fading phase. Sometimes the snoring worsens. Sometimes it continues through toddlerhood. This is one of those ‘Trust Your Mama Gut’ moments. Your baby may outgrow the snoring, but if it happens every time your baby is asleep, it may be worth learning more about the possibilities and natural treatments.
If your toddler or young child is a mouth-breather, sounds congested and snores, a GIANT RED FLAG is being waved. So many doctors will jump at the chance to diagnose sleep apnea, BUT get a second opinion. These are all signs of food sensitivities. While you can still go through with sleep apnea studies, also ask for an IgG test to be done. IgE testing detects food allergies, but IgG weeds out the tiniest of food sensitivities.
Chronic snoring that lasts throughout childhood and into adulthood has been found to increase the chances of illnesses such as:
- Heart disease
- Stomach ulcers
- Parkinson's disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Gastrointestinal tract disorders
- Kidney disease
Impaired sleep due to snoring can also:
- Weaken the immune system
- Speed tumor growth (Up to 300% faster growth rates)
- Impair memory
- Impair physical performance and mental tasks
- Decrease ability to problem solve
- Behavioral problems in children
By the age of 4, children with sleep-disordered breathing (snoring) are 20-60% more likely to have behavioral difficulties. By age 7, they are 40-100% percent more likely. The worse the symptoms are, the worse the behavioral outcomes tend to be.
What is considered chronic snoring? It means that snoring occurs loudly 2-3 times a week.
Researchers have found that children are more likely to snore if they were not breast-fed as babies, or if they were from a lower socio-economic class. Children of lower socio-economic status tend to have worse air quality and poor nutrition. These factors may make it harder to sleep soundly.
Breastfeeding may remodel the airway to reduce snoring. It also increases a child's immunity, and spending less time being sick may also mean less snoring!
Natural Ways to Treat Snoring
Eliminate dairy from the diet (the mother’s diet as well, if breastfeeding) – Dairy causes excess mucus, which causes drainage. It is also an inflammatory food. The hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, and compound breakdown of dairy is one that should not be consumed by human beings. But yet, it is more addicting than anyone could have ever imagined. Eliminating dairy can lessen inflammation of the nose, throat and gut.
*You should also avoid eating fast foods and processed foods. These contain harmful preservatives and additives that can trigger inflammation.
Stay away from 2nd hand smoke. Secondhand smoke is linked to SIDS, learning disabilities, asthma, inadequate sleep, and snoring.
Have breathing passages checked. If there is an obstruction, it is harder to move air in and out, which causes snoring.
Saline or breastmilk in the nose. A stuffy nose needs saline (or breastmilk) dropped into to a few times a day. The Nose Frida can be used to suction out any excess fluids.
Use a humidifier. Humidifiers keep the air moist and aid in loosening stuffed airways. A warm air humidifier is best to help prevent snoring. You can also bring a baby or child into a steam shower before bed to jump start the process.
Remove allergens. Anything that collects dust or dander should be removed from the sleep environment. Keep carpets and rugs clean, run the fan (well-dusted) to keep air circulating, and make sure all air filters have been replaced.
Sleep on the side, not the back. Encouraging side-lying can help prevent snoring.
Sleep inclined. Raise the head side of the mattress. This helps with reflux and snoring.
Keep a healthy weight. Even our youngest toddlers are overfed and falling into the obesity category. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight can help to eliminate snoring.
If your child is still waking due to snoring, or snoring is still occurring regularly, even after food triggers have been eliminated, take the time to record sleep patterns in a journal (try to video the snoring if possible) and present the information to your pediatrician.