What is Grunting Baby Syndrome?

If your baby does this is a lot, you might just want to know why. Dr Philippa Kaye reveals all...


We’ve noticed a fair bit of chat on our forum about grunting babies lately – yes really! For example, Allie73 writes: “My son [grunted] when he was newborn, until he was about 2-3 months old.


“He sounded like a barnyard with all the grunting, snorting, squeaking etc! It was so bad, we had to move him out of our room at 6 weeks old. I had planned to keep him in with us until he was 3 months, but he was so loud, my husband and I weren’t able to sleep!

“I have a few friends whose babies did the same thing and they all eventually stopped.”

Allie73 wasn’t the only mum who had a ‘grunting baby’ – SpriteFM says: “My lo has started ‘grunting’!! He started doing it yesterday whilst in his buggy and then carried on yesterday evening and is still doing it today!!”

And then there was this from babycakes36671: “Lily started grunting when she was about week old. She’d do it in her sleep and make the most alarming noises – but she slept through it.”

And so intrigued were we about this whole grunting syndrome thing – we wanted to find out more.

What is Grunting Baby Syndrome?

Basically, it’s an informal term for the noises that your baby may make when nothing else is wrong and generally means that they are about to do, or are doing, a poo!

It’s not a medical syndrome – your baby will make lots of noises that aren’t crying, and grunting may be one of them.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms are that your baby:

  • cries, strains or grunts while doing a poo
  • turns purple or red before having a bowel movement
  • seems uncomfortable for a few (around 5 to 10) minutes before having a bowel movement.

What does the doctor say?

Dr Philippa Kaye tells us you may notice that your baby grunts after a feed as they are digesting and they may grunt and go bright red or purple as they open their bowels. This doesn’t mean that they are constipated as long as the stool itself is soft.

“It tends to last for a short period of time and eases as their digestive system matures – pooing, like everything else, has to be learnt, you have to tense your abdominal muscles at the same time as relaxing your pelvic floor and this co-ordination takes time to mature and develop,” she adds.

“As it does the grunting stops, though many adults occasionally grunt as they open their bowels!”

Dr Philippa Kaye is a London GP who has written several books on pregnancy and childcare including The First Five Years. Follow her on twitter @drphilippakaye

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