As a new parent, one of the most concerning things may be your newborn sneezing. It can happen often, and you probably think something is wrong, but there is usually no cause for alarm. Read on to learn more about this normal condition.
What causes sneezing in infants?
When your baby sneezes, especially during infancy, it could be happening for a number of reasons. You probably worry that your child has caught a cold or is sick with some other ailment. However, it’s a positive thing when your infant sneezes. This is because the sneezing signifies that the baby’s nervous system is working properly. Sneezing is a reflex that is controlled by the child’s nervous system.
Just as it is with adults, infant sneezing is a reflex that happens when there is irritation in the nasal passages. When your baby sneezes, it’s largely because it’s necessary. A newborn’s nasal passageways are much smaller than those of an adult, which means they have to clear their noses more frequently than adults do. Irritants can get into the nostrils, such as mucous, breast milk, dust, pollen and other substances that might be lingering in the air.
Smoke can also cause an infant to sneeze more. If you are a smoker, avoid smoking around your baby or quit altogether.
It’s important to know that infants also breathe through their mouths as they develop. That can cause sneezing because they must gradually adjust to breathing through their noses.
Why is it good when your infant sneezes?
Sneezing is actually a good thing and can help your child. It is not always a sign that the baby is coming down with a cold, the flu or some other kind of virus. The sneezing serves as a natural defense system against germs. Sneezing helps to clear out germs that your baby may come into contact with through the outside world.
When should you worry about sneezing in infants?
Of course, sneezing isn’t always a good, healthy sign in a newborn. Sometimes, it can mean something serious. One reason could be a condition called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, which occurs when a baby is suffering withdrawal because his or her mother abused opiates during pregnancy. Sneezing is only one of the symptoms of the condition.
It could also mean that your baby has a cold or virus. If you believe your newborn may be sick, look for other symptoms in addition to sneezing, such as a cough, trouble breathing and refusing to feed. If you take your baby’s temperature and it’s higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, contact your pediatrician immediately.
Once you know what to expect with your baby and sneezing, you can rest easy and just enjoy your bonding time together.