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Why does my grand daughter make grunting and grumbling sounds?

Friday, 05 January 2007
Answered by: Dr Deepa Hariharan
Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist
Head of the Department of Neonatology, Kanchi Kamakoti Childs Trust Hospital
Chennai
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Q. My grand daughter is 10 weeks premature. She weighed 3.4 pounds at birth. At the time of discharge, she weighed 4.4 pounds. She was discharged from the NICU after 10 days of her birth. She is being given vitamins and iron along with the formula. She always makes grunting and grumbling noises. She does not cry. What could be the reason for making these noises? Also, she does not pass stool more than twice a day. Previously, she used to pass stool as soon as she took milk. Should I be worried?

A.  Grunting and grumbling noises happen not only in preterm babies, but also in term babies. In addition to grumbling and grunting noises, sneezing, gurgling, snorting noises are also common in newborns. The cells, which line the nose, make mucus. But, proportionally there is much more mucus in the airways of a newborn than in an older child. This is why it is completely normal for newborns to sneeze frequently. Because the passageways of a newborn are very flexible and narrow, air coming through them often makes snorting or gurgling or grumbling sounds. These noises though distressing to parents do not mean that the baby is uncomfortable. They are normal sounds babies make. Stool patterns in babies vary considerably. While it is common for newborns to pass stools with each feed, as the child grows older the frequency reduces sometimes to 1 stool per day or 1 stool per 3 to 4 days. Also, straining while passing stools is common. The following symptoms warrant medical attention: a. Very hard stone-like stools b. Blood in stools c. Crying rather than straining while passing stools d. Poor feeding

A.  Grunting and grumbling noises happen not only in preterm babies, but also in term babies. In addition to grumbling and grunting noises, sneezing, gurgling, snorting noises are also common in newborns. The cells, which line the nose, make mucus. But, proportionally there is much more mucus in the airways of a newborn than in an older child. This is why it is completely normal for newborns to sneeze frequently. Because the passageways of a newborn are very flexible and narrow, air coming through them often makes snorting or gurgling or grumbling sounds. These noises though distressing to parents do not mean that the baby is uncomfortable. They are normal sounds babies make. Stool patterns in babies vary considerably. While it is common for newborns to pass stools with each feed, as the child grows older the frequency reduces sometimes to 1 stool per day or 1 stool per 3 to 4 days. Also, straining while passing stools is common. The following symptoms warrant medical attention: a. Very hard stone-like stools b. Blood in stools c. Crying rather than straining while passing stools d. Poor feeding

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