Is It Normal? Understanding Why My Baby Sleeps with Her Mouth Open

Many new parents find themselves meticulously monitoring their baby's sleeping habits, patterns, and even posture. Among the various quirks that might catch your attention is if your baby sleeps with her mouth open. This behavior can be puzzling and, in some cases, concerning for parents. In this detailed overview, we'll explore whether it's normal for babies to sleep with their mouths open, the potential reasons behind it, and steps you can take to address it.

Why Do Some Babies Sleep With Their Mouths Open?

Sleeping with an open mouth is relatively common among babies, and while it can be normal, it also merits attention. This is because habitual open-mouth sleeping can be symptomatic of underlying issues. Let’s explore some of the reasons this might occur:

  • Nasal Congestion: The most common reason for babies sleeping with their mouths open is nasal congestion. Infants have small nasal passages that can easily become clogged due to colds, allergies, or even milk residue.
  • Enlarged Adenoids or Tonsils: Babies with enlarged adenoids or tonsils may find it difficult to breathe through their noses and might resort to mouth breathing during sleep.
  • Habitual Behavior: If your baby frequently had nasal congestion in the past, they might have become accustomed to breathing through their mouth — even after the congestion resolved.
  • Sleep Apnea: Although less common in infants, sleep apnea can cause babies to breathe through their mouths as they try to get enough air during sleep disruptions.

Potential Impacts of Mouth Breathing

Occasional mouth breathing due to temporary factors like a cold is typically harmless. However, chronic mouth breathing can lead to various health issues, including:

  • Poor Sleep Quality: Mouth breathing can prevent a baby from falling into the deep, restful phases of sleep, resulting in poor sleep quality.
  • Dental Health Issues: Chronic mouth breathing can lead to dental abnormalities, including the misalignment of teeth and changes in the growth of the face and jaws.
  • Increased Risk of Infections: Breathing through the mouth can dry out oral tissues, making your baby more susceptible to infections.

How to Help Your Baby Breathe Better During Sleep

If you notice your baby frequently sleeping with an open mouth, there are steps you can take to help:

  • Clear Nasal Passages: Keep your infant’s nasal passages clear using a rubber bulb syringe or saline nasal drops, especially before bedtime.
  • Humidify the Room: Using a humidifier in your baby's room can help ease breathing by adding moisture to the air and preventing the drying out of nasal passages.
  • Adjust Sleeping Position: Elevating the head of your baby’s crib slightly can help alleviate congestion, making it easier for your baby to breathe through the nose.
  • Consult a Pediatrician: It is always best to consult with a pediatrician to rule out any medical issues, particularly if the mouth breathing is accompanied by loud snoring, pauses in breathing, or other concerning signs.

Another practical step is to ensure that your baby's sleeping environment is conducive to good nasal health. The quality of air and the presence of allergens can significantly impact breathing during sleep. Utilizing blackout curtains like the Sleepout Home Blackout Curtains can not only improve sleep by creating a dark, calming environment but can also help in maintaining a dust-free, allergen-lower space.

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When to Seek Medical Advice

While the occasional open-mouthed sleep can be normal, persistent mouth breathing can be indicative of deeper issues. If you notice any of the following signs, it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider:

  • Continuous mouth breathing beyond the infant years.
  • Frequent snoring, coughing, or choking sounds during sleep.
  • Signs of sleep disturbance, like waking up frequently at night.
  • Physical signs such as sluggishness, daytime fatigue, or slow growth.


Although it's not uncommon for babies to sleep with their mouths open, understanding the reasons and potential implications can help you take the right precautions and remedies. By being proactive about your baby’s sleep and breathing habits, you ensure they get the restorative sleep necessary for healthy development. If your baby’s mouth breathing persists, it is crucial to consult a pediatrician to address any underlying conditions effectively.

Remember, every baby is different, and while some might naturally transition to nose breathing as they grow, others might need a bit of assistance. Keeping their environment optimal for sleep and breathing, like using blackout curtains and maintaining the right humidity levels, can make a significant difference.

Ensuring your baby's comfort and health during sleep lays a strong foundation for their overall wellness and development. Keep an observant eye, take proactive measures, and seek professional advice when needed to provide your little one with the best start in life.

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