New moms may look for every opportunity to Instagram their beautiful baby to share with the world. But you may have come across a problem if your baby looks less angelic and more demonic when she’s sleeping because she has started frothing at the mouth.
If you are new to parenting, this can be a terrifying sight, but it’s actually pretty common.
So if you’re one of the many moms who come across your little one foaming or frothing at the mouth while sleeping, what do you do?
Well, the first answer is "Don’t put it on Instagram." And the second is "Relax, don’t worry about it, as most likely it's something completely normal."
When we talk about foaming at the mouth, all sorts of horrible images come to mind, like rabid dogs or overworked racehorses. We don’t generally think of babies.
And you’ll be happy to know that it’s not the same thing as when babies do it. Babies tend to be a lot cleaner, quieter and in less distress for starters.
This is because they are not in distress. For babies foaming at the mouth looks more like little clear or milky white bubbles gathering in the corners of their mouth or across their lower lip and chin.
Sometimes it can look like baby bath bubbles in her mouth. If your baby is sleeping peacefully or otherwise undisturbed by the foaming, it is most likely one of the following natural causes:
1. If your baby is extremely newborn, he actually might be expelling the last of the amniotic fluid from his stomach. This sometimes happens over the first few days after he is born, and is nothing to worry about.
All you need to do with this is tell yourself that your little darling is not weird, and then let it pass.
2. Your baby may have reflux, which is a very common condition in babies because their little digestive systems aren’t quite big enough or sophisticated enough to keep everything down. It is basically undigested milk coming straight back up again.
You can help your baby with reflux in a number of ways, including feeding her upright, and setting up her bed so that she sleeps on a gentle angle. If your baby is older, you can try over the counter drops for reflux, or chamomile tea.
3. Your baby may be taking in too much food too quickly, or not have been burped properly. You can try reducing the amount of food you give your baby (assess this by time with breastfeeding), and ensure a good long burping time.
You may wish to look up some new burping techniques if the current method doesn’t seem to be working for your little one.
All of these things are a very normal part of having a growing baby and are not to be stressed about. Once you get over the concern about having a baby look like some kind of very small cute demon, you should be able to deal with this situation no worries at all.
A peaceful and generally content baby who foams at the mouth in her sleep should not generally raise alarm bells for you.
However, there are a number of other factors that if these are also happening, you would be well advised to seek advice from your family doctor. These include:
The first (and always the best) thing you can for you baby is to keep calm. This is a very normal condition that may happen to babies for lots of little reasons, a couple of medium reasons, and some very rare big reasons.
The ones that you have to be concerned about don’t tend to occur in isolation from other symptoms, so just watch for these and always talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
If foaming at the mouth is just something your baby does because she doesn’t digest food properly, this condition should pass as her digestive system improves and grows.
You can help by feeding smaller amounts more often, giving her a good long time and lots of assistance to burp and generally keeping her more upright and less reclined whenever possible. Popping her on her belly can also help expel the air with some pretty cute baby farts.
Learning some types of baby massage could also help too to encourage the digestive system to work food down and air up and out. You could look into burping techniques, back massage, chest massage, and bicycling her legs up to her chest and outwards.
Massage may help to calm and soothe your baby, and can also make for great bonding time.
It can be very scary to see your baby foaming at the mouth for the first time. By the third baby pretty much nothing they do surprises or scares you anymore.
But be assured, there is unlikely to be anything wrong with your little one or with how you are nurturing her. Babies frothing from the mouth happens extremely common and is something you usually take steps to address pretty easily.
It’s not a horror movie, it’s just parenting.
Amy Duncan is the founder of KindMommy, a blog where she's providing helpful information about pregnancy and many useful tips for young parents. Besides writing, Amy loves to cook and travel with her friends and family. You can also find Amy on Twitter (@AmyKindmommy).