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  • Writer's picturePriya Thomas

Newborn Breathing Patterns: A Guide for New and Expecting Parents

Welcoming a new baby into the world is an adventure filled with joy, love, and, let’s be honest, a bit of anxiety. One of the things that can cause concern for new parents is understanding the breathing patterns of their newborn. But fear not! We’re here to shed light on the rhythmic mystery of your baby’s breath.

Periodic Breathing of Newborns: What Is It?

Periodic breathing refers to a pattern where a newborn’s breathing may pause for a few seconds, then resume with a few rapid breaths to catch up. This is not a sign of distress but a normal variation in a newborn’s breathing pattern. It’s seen particularly during sleep and is due to the immaturity of the baby’s respiratory center in the brain.

Recognizing Normal Breathing Patterns

In the first few weeks of life, you might notice:

  • Short pauses in breathing lasting up to 10 seconds.

  • Rapid breaths following the pause, as if making up for lost time.

  • A mix of shallow and deep breaths, which is entirely typical for a newborn.

When to Be Concerned

While periodic breathing is normal, there are signs that may indicate your baby needs medical attention:

  • Continuous pauses in breathing longer than 20 seconds.

  • Persistent blue coloring around the lips, mouth, or fingernails.

  • Excessive flaring of the nostrils or chest retractions with each breath.

If you observe any of these signs, it’s essential to contact your pediatrician or seek immediate medical care.

Embracing the New Normal

As a new or expecting parent, it’s natural to worry about every little hiccup or sneeze from your precious bundle. But understanding the ins and outs of newborn breathing can help you distinguish between what’s normal and when it’s time to seek help.

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Our community of parents and experts is here to support you every step of the way. So, take a deep breath, and let’s embrace this beautiful new normal together.



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