Newborn sneezing is very common, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate that they are sick or cold. It’s merely a reflex mechanism used to clear the airborne particles and congestion in respiratory and nasal passages. It’s no shock that the air we inhale is loaded with impurities like chemical fumes, dust particles, pollutants, germs, and other related substances that are undesirable. Such impurities can be cleared from nose via sneezing reflex. So if you find your baby sneezing much too often but with no other accompanied symptoms or any hint of illness, do not panic! It is totally normal.

Common Causes of Newborn Sneezing

  • Small Noses: Newborns are known to have the itty-bitty small noses, which lead to narrow nasal passages that are very likely to get impeded with pet hair, lint from blanks and cloths, residues left after spit up, dust, etc. Therefore, sneezing is frequently done by babies to keep the pathway clean.
  • Need for Nose Clearing: By nature, babies breathe through their mouths. And it’s not easy for them to switch between breathing via mouth and breathing via nose. Hence, babies often need nose clearing, for which sneezing is the most helpful strategy.
  • Open a Closed Nostril: A nostril that becomes temporarily closed may become opened by sneezing. During the nursing done by mothers, babies are pressed up too closely against mothers in such a way that their noses might get flattened or one of the nostrils gets shut. So once the feeding is done, the baby might sneeze or take a breath in order to get his nose opened.

Other Possible Causes of Newborn Sneezing

Parents can easily deal with the matter once they know the cause of newborn sneezing. Listed below are some notable causes:

1. Dry air

Newborns have tiny nasal passages, due to which naturally secreted substances of the nose become easily dried and this is more frequent in winters or dry seasons and in air-conditioned rooms. The consequences are sneezing, noisy breathing and nasal discharge.

2. Irritants

Irritants like cigarette smoke, dust, and sometimes milk (that enters the nose of the newborns after they throw up) can result in irritation and frequent sneezes.

How to deal with it: What parents can do about it is to keep their homes properly ventilated to minimize the pollution that builds up within the home. This can be achieved by using exhaust fans that are capable of expelling the irritants from the home, by opening windows, using window air-conditioner or fans, and by prohibiting anyonefrom smoking within the house premises.

3.    Allergies

Sometimes seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, can be the cause of nasal congestion and sneezing. The substances in air generate an allergic response that leads to hay fever. These substances may include pollen that enters the eye, throat, sinus, and nose. Dust, insect bites, and animal hair may also generate an allergic response.

How to deal with it: Parents can overcome this by keeping the baby away from the sources of allergies. This, however, isn’t practical all the time, so the use of anti-histamines upon doctor’s prescription may be called for help.

4.    Illness

In newborns, upper respiratory tract infections, nasal discharge, and sneezing are common signs of cold. With a very weak immune system, they are prone to catch cold when held by an adult who is already infected with influenza or cold.

How to deal with it: Parents must make sure to wash hands with disinfectant prior to holding a baby.  Once diagnosed, colds must be treated immediately in newborns before it develops into a secondary bacterial infection.

Symptoms Requiring Medical Attention

Newborn sneezing may occur several times a day (and sometimes in a row). However, if your baby sneezes all the time or if he is experiencing symptoms of illness, such as cough or cold, which is causing difficulty in breathing, you should immediately consult the paediatrician. To know if your newborn is having difficulty in breathing or not, look out for the following signs: fast breathing rate, and forceful chest movements. You may also need to consult your doctor if the baby doesn’t seem to eat as much or looks less energetic.

Other Weird Signs to Watch For in Newborns

Symptoms that Require Attention

Is That Normal?

Jerky Movements

It is uncomfortable to watch sudden flailing of baby’s spastic limb or jerky movements, but you should know that these symptoms are normal. The primary cause is developmental changes, such as sharpening of startle reflex. This maybe random or due to noise, biochemical change, and other reasons. Whatever the cause is, it all settles within 3-4 months. You can only fret when you see your baby not exhibiting these movements, as total absence suggests that something is not right.

Strange Heads

In the beginning, baby’s head is malleable and soft and may get flattened as he squeaks his way out through birth canal. In addition, while inside maternal womb, the baby may get flat spots due to his position in the pelvis. Increasing the tummy time is often helpful. You might need a temporary helmet for your baby in case nothing works. This needs doctor’s recommendation and is best effective in the first 4-6 months.

Blood in the Diaper

This may be due to numerous reasons (and most causes are transient or temporary). Due to exposure to hormones in utero, baby girls may develop growth of their female reproductive tissue. However, after delivery, the female babies often go through abrupt estrogen withdrawal that may present as mild vaginal bleeding or infantile menses. Another reason could be a rough birthing experience that may causes a tiny cut or scratch on internal or external tissues,which presents as bleeding. Use of Vaseline can help external scratches. But for extra caution, you may consult the doctor if necessary.

Blister on Lips

Sucking briskly on a breast or bottle may result in nursing tubercle/blister in newborns. Sometimes babies are born with blisters due to thumb sucking in womb. No discomfort is usually felt by the baby due to sucking a callus. The skin overgrowth may result in stiffening of the lip that assists in easy nipple grasp. This callus may vanish all by itself in a few months.