In general, a baby would has a tendency to breathe through his noses when facing with preferential or obligate nasal breathers. Even though it is probably not frequent, breathing by mouth plays an important role in supporting to keep your baby healthy and alive.


Therefore, it is essential to know some basic facts and information about this act. When can babies breathe through their mouth? Why it is necessary? Which factors make it difficult and how could it save the life of your child?

Basic features of mouth breathing

When your baby is born, he has a couple of physical features that have the tendency to restrict mouth breathing as well as encourage quicker feeding. Those features include an elevated larynx, smaller mouth and larger tongue.

In addition, according to some doctors, the epiglottis, which would close off and protect the trachea, is really close to the soft palate (the part of muscle situated at the back part of the mouth’s roof) of a baby. In general, this proximity would allow your baby to switch between nasal breathing and nursing more rapidly. However, it would also make mouth breathing more challenging at the same time.

When can your baby breathe through his mouth?

On the first few months of living, most babies often breathe through the mouth just when they are crying. After six months old, quick physical growth helps to move the epiglottis and soft palate further apart, which would allow your baby more independence to breathe through his mouth. Even though they could effectively switch between mouth and nasal breathing, normal infants over the age of six months often continue to have a tendency to breathe through their nose.

Importance of mouth breathing

Because of the tendency to breathe by noses in babies, mouth breathing would be an indication of upper airway issues. According to a professional expert, a baby just breathe through his mouth when he is not able to breathe through the noses. During early period, before the epiglottis and soft palate move apart, obstruction in noses often makes a baby cry, which brings more air to his lungs via the mouth.

Benefits of mouth breathing

In a couple of situations, the ability of a newborn baby to breathe through his mouth on frequent basis would help to save his life. For example, choanal atresia, which is probably the most common abnormality in the noses of a baby after birth, is often featured by the presence of tissue which would block the opening of 1 or 2 nostrils. As a result, an infant who faces with blockage of 2 nostrils could only breathe if he cries and usually has bluish skin, which is resulting from a risky shortage of oxygen.

For those babies who could breathe through the mouths without crying might have ability to wait a little bit longer before needing to experience surgery to eliminate the tissue obstruction.


In general, nasal obstruction from a runny or stopped-up nose would turn easier to deal for your baby when he has ability to breathe through his mouth with a more frequent basis. Babies under the age of six months who stay away mouth breathing might face some breathing difficulties when they are facing with those issues in noses, which usually result from common illnesses such as cold or flu.

Therefore, remember to offer comfort measure when your baby seems to have symptoms of breathing trouble or catches a cold. Basically, there are 2 common treatments for these issues in babies, including thinning secretions in noses with saline nasal drop and eliminating excess mucus from their noses by using a bulb syringe.

Nancy D. Richardson

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