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  • Post last modified:January 6, 2021

Mom’s Question:

My baby is 8 weeks. Ever since she has been born, she has had a heavy chest. It sounds like wheezing. I have been to the doctor but nothing has cleared it. Please help.

Karen (South Africa)

Baby Helpline:

Possible Reasons For Wheezing In Baby

While normal baby breathing may sound strange to your ear sometimes and be interpreted as wheezing, and airway blockage due to infection may also be causing these sounds.

The blockage may be on any level from nostrils to the larynx, to bronchi, and the sound would be different for each one. The doctor will certainly be able to differentiate normal breathing from persistent cold or bronchitis.

Wheezing is generally produced when a part of the respiratory airway is narrowed or obstructed.

Heavy breathing, wheezing, etc. doesn’t have to be a reason to worry about unless it is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or fast breathing rate. If your baby has one of these symptoms or he/she is not feeding well or has low energy levels a pediatrician should examine your baby.

Wheezing in babies can be caused by different health conditions. One reason, if it is a raspy sound, could be an uncommon condition called tracheomalacia, in which the tissues of the trachea are soft and flexible, causing tracheal collapse. The collapse of the trachea produces airflow obstruction and wheezing. Tracheomalacia is usually a benign condition and that does not need any treatment. In most of the cases the symptoms disappear by 3 years of age, but a doctor, of course, needs to make the diagnosis.

The obstruction of respiratory airways is babies may also be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Wheezing caused by infections is preceded by an incubation period of 2 to 5 days. During this period the baby is not feeding well and has a fever. In general, infections are self-limited and resolve within 3 to 5 days, the most important thing is that you keep your baby well hydrated. However, if you observe nasal flaring, abnormal movements of the thorax, or if your baby is grunting, does not want to feed or has more than 60 breaths per minute, it is recommended that a doctor examines your baby.

In any case, even it turns out to only be a cold that is going to be resolved by itself, I really think you should contact another pediatrician to get a second opinion.

I hope your baby s better soon and that this information helps you with your next step.
(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)

More Q&As On Babies With Heavy Breathing

Find comments below.


Feb 03, 2018wind

by: Anonymous

It could also be you need to do more winding

Feb 13, 2018Rattly babies

by: Abagail

I have a 3-month-old daughter and she now has this rattle on her chest every now and again when she breathes. Our family has a family doctor we attend and I told her about it. She said no doctor can recommend anything for an infant because it can even be an allergy or something so she said to ease up off of canned milk and give her lots of breastmilk and water and it helped.

I wish the best for any other mother with my situation. Try it for your baby. Wish you luck!

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