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Grunting Baby Syndrome

What You Need to Know About Grunting Baby Syndrome

Grunting baby syndrome confuses and frustrates many parents, but it’s no cause for concern. 

An infant who has grunting baby syndrome actually grunts, moans, gurgles, and turns red while trying to move his bowels.  Parents often become concerned that their new baby is constipated because he may only pass a small amount of stool along with all that grunting.


Pediatricians also sometimes misdiagnose a baby with grunting baby syndrome because the signs and symptoms are so very similar to constipation itself. 

So Exactly What Is Grunting Baby Syndrome? 

Grunting baby syndrome is really not much more than a baby who grunts while passing a stool.  It’s best not to try to help your infant pass the stool if he’s not actually constipated.  This is because your little one is simply trying to figure out how all of his parts work. 

Not all infants come out of the womb just knowing how to move their bowels.  It’s a learned process that takes some concentration and coordination when you’re just a few days old. 

It may seem natural to us as grown-ups, but it’s just another sign that your new little bundle of joy is literally learning new things from the moment he was born.

Constipation vs. Grunting Baby Syndrome

It’s important to determine whether the baby really is constipated or if he’s simply a victim of grunting baby syndrome. 

The best course of action you should take if your baby grunts a lot while passing a stool is simply to watch and wait.  You’ll know he’s constipated if he gets to the point where he doesn’t pass any stool in a whole day. 

Babies will always pass at least one stool per day, and whether they’re grunting or not, the most important thing is that they are actually passing stool.  It’s also important to make sure there are no other signs of constipation or digestive problems. 

Symptoms of a more serious digestive problem can include:

Blood or mucus in the stool



Dealing With Grunting Baby Syndrome

Some parents try to help their little one pass stool by sticking a rectal thermometer in their little one’s bottom.


This method is fine if the infant is actually constipated, but it creates a problem for babies who are suffering from grunting baby syndrome.  This is because the baby needs to learn how to coordinate his bowels and move them properly to pass stool. 

However, if the parent keeps stimulating bowel movements instead of letting the baby work through them, she’s teaching the wrong thing to her new infant.  

Instead of allowing the baby to learn the proper way to pass stools, the parent is teaching the baby that she will always stimulate the little one’s bowels. 

Grunting baby syndrome can only add to the worries of new parents, but once you know exactly what it is, there's really nothing to worry about.  Instead of worrying about your newborn, just sit back and enjoy watching your little one learn one of life’s most basic skills.    



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