Your Baby is Sounding Hoarse: 6 Plausible Reasons

Does your baby sound different lately like she’s been screaming at a concert or something? You’ve come to the right place. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll be explaining possible reasons why.



Before I do that, let me just share with you that your baby will have different sounds over time.

It’s not only crying one day, and the next day she’s talking. No. there will be cooing, giggling, and other sounds unique to your baby.

What’s different between these sounds and a hoarse voice, however, is that they sound normal. When a baby is sounding hoarse, her voice seems strained and raspy.

Here are the possible reasons for that.

1. Excessive Crying

Remember when you were at a concert and you sang to almost all the songs the band played? Or when you were at a ball game and you cheered on your team almost the entire time?

I’d bet you had a hoarse voice the day after that because your vocal cords are overused; hence, they became swollen and/or overextended.

It’s no different for our babies.

When they cry too much, there’s a high chance their vocal cords will also be overused.


The first thing you have to do is recall if she did cry a lot prior to getting a raspy voice. If she did, recall why.

Was she feeling ill?

Take her to the doctor right away.

If she’s just a “cryer,” don’t worry, the hoarseness will clear up on its own. But try to hush her right away when she starts sobbing.

2. Nodules

Excessive crying can also cause nodules, which are like calluses on our little ones’ vocal cords.

They may also be called by screaming, repetitive throat-clearing, repetitive coughing, etc. However, infants will not always get them.


If your baby is sounding hoarse and you remember her doing any of the above, then it could be that she has developed a nodule. Ask your doctor about it, and she will determine the type of diagnosis and treatment necessary.

What's the treatment?

According to Great Osmond Street Hospital for Children, the primary treatment is non-surgical.

3. Phlegm

If your little angel has cough, colds, flu, or allergies, chances are she’s having a phlegm buildup in her throat. When this happens, the phlegm or the mucus irritates the vocal cords resulting in your baby sounding hoarse.

What you can do is:

Get rid of the phlegm by giving her what her doctor prescribed. If you haven’t taken her to the doctor, you can start with clearing her nostrils with a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator.

Note that when the illness disappears, the hoarseness should be gone by then too. Otherwise, there could be an underlying problem. Ask your doctor about it.


If your baby is diagnosed with acid reflux, it’s highly possible she’ll start sounding hoarse when the reflux attack becomes frequent.  This is because the acid from the stomach starts to affect and “scratch” the vocal cords.


...there’s no overnight cure for this. What you can do is ask your doctor about a feeding plan so your baby can avoid frequent reflux onset.

5. Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis 

Although this is uncommon, this can be a reason your baby is sounding hoarse.

If you’ve had her checked for the symptoms mentioned above yet they don’t seem to be the reason your child has a raspy voice, it could be the RRP.

What is RRP?

RRP is an infection caused by HPV or the human papilloma virus, which results in wart-like growth in your baby’s vocal cords.

According to The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, it may also be accompanied by a breathing problem. Treatment for such may include a surgery.

6. Tumor

A tumor in the throat area, be it cancerous or not, may also be a reason for a raspy voice.

If your little one’s hoarse voice seems to be getting worse plus there’s a breathing problem and an abnormal cry, ask your doctor about this possibility.

The treatment will depend if the tumor found is cancerous or not.

So What Do You Do?

Now that you’ve learned the possible reasons your baby’s voice is hoarse and raspy, the next thing you have to do is to observe.

How long should the observation take?

I can’t really say for sure. It depends on your little one. But for me, my rule of thumb is checking her overall health and movement. 

If she seems lethargic or cries more than usual, I know I have to call her doctor right away.

I’m just so blessed to have a very friendly doctor for my daughter than she would respond almost immediately to my inquiries even if it’s only via SMS.

Another factor you have to observe is her feeding pattern.

Does she eat normally?

Or does it seem like she lost her appetite?

If it’s the latter, it may warrant a trip to her pediatrician.

What I’m trying to say is:

 You know your baby better than anyone else. If she’s sounding hoarse and seem to be in pain, then you have to do something about it quick.

Sarah Morgan

Chief editor of and striving mom-extraordinaire.Let me share and inspire you with my daily struggles to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

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