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Breath Holding by Baby

(9 Posts)
PKM0809 Wed 06-Jul-11 15:34:41

My DD is eight months old and has stopped breathing when distressed on several occasions, she has had blood tests, was too distressed for an ECG and we are waiting for an EEG test. The consultant has spoken to me and explained that he believes it is breath holding, and has given me a leaflet on this subject and there are similarities. Normally when she has these episodes she comes round straight away, however nursery phoned me the other week as she was out for approximately 20 seconds and swallowed her tongue. She had another episode the other day with my DH and I and she was out for about 10 seconds, her eyes roll back first and then she stops breathing then her eyes came back round but there was nothing there she wasnt consious of her surroundings and she was limp.

Has anyone else experience of baby breath holding and did they grow out of it? I have spoken to consultants and I know things are on going but sometimes it helps to have someone who has been through it to put your mind at ease.

Snuppeline Wed 06-Jul-11 15:44:04

I have a friend with a small boy who breath-holds. She describes the same issues as you do and was equally scared. From her I understand that she normally breathes hard in his face if he holds his breath and also tries (within reason) to prevent him becoming upset (not to let him become overtired, wet, hungry or too frustrated as these trigger the issue). He is younger than your girl and not in nursery. He also seems to hold his breath for longer than your girl and always until he passes out (at which point he is blue).

There will be lots of times when you can't prevent frustration during the toddler years so perhaps you should try to take a first aid course? That way you have more ideas of what you can do to restart breathing.

From what my friend tells me children tend to stop around 10 years of age but I'm not sure. Most grow up fine though so take comfort from that.

Hope someone with first-hand experience comes along to give you support soon.

PKM0809 Wed 06-Jul-11 15:57:00

Thanks Snuppeline, I have taken a first aid course this weekend but when she did it on Sunday the blowing in her face didn't work, it's so scary when it happens, hope your friends little boy stops getting them soon.

mungojerrie Wed 06-Jul-11 21:33:47

Hi PKM. My DD started doing this at 12 months - however she is now 22months and touch wood has not done it for quite a while. It is utterly terrifying especially when you watch them going unconscious. We called an ambulance the first time and ended up in A&E.

Our doctor advised us that there are two types of breath-holding - one for toddlers having tantrums and having control over it, and one for younger babies who do not have control. My DD (and yours!) would fall into this category - it's called Pallid Breath-holding.

Things that worked for us - recognising that when she fell and banged her head/got a big shock she would be likely to take a really big breath to scream, and then seemed not to be able to catch her breath, then pass out. We would do the blowing in her face when we saw her about to scream and try to shout her name to distract her.

She does seem to have grown out of it. I don't think there is anything that you can do to hasten this, apart from ride it out. We didn't have any further tests done as the doctor was quite sure it was basically harmless (but horrific to watch!!) I hope your DDs tests come back clear and have everything crossed for you that she will grow out of it very soon! All the best.

PKM0809 Thu 07-Jul-11 09:33:16

Hi Mungojerrie, thank you for your post. It sounds so trivial and deliberate, breath holding, but it is horrible to watch. After your post I am hopeful it is not a long term thing and will go as quick as it came, she only started at six months and has had 6 episodes since.

I keep my fingers crossed for your daughter to and hope that she has grown out of it.

Thanks again x

Starxx Thu 07-Jul-11 11:17:10

Hi - my son is almost 6 years old and he suffered from this although the last time he did it was almost a year ago now but it is very scary. It usually happened during times of distress (ie when he had hurt himself) but it does get less and less with time.

My son would scream with pain and then stop breathing, his eyes would roll back in his head, he would go grey in colour and his lips would go blue and he would fall over if stood up. He would go as stiff as a board (and usually wet himself) and then would go completely limp and when he did come round (after what seemed like forever) he would whimper and cry a little. The only thing we could do if we were nearby of course was to catch him if falling to ensure he didnt injure himself further but then we would put him in the recovery position. We learnt that trying to hold him or pick him up during an episode did not work and we would either get hurt ourselves or you could end up dropping them so the best thing to do is to lay them down and wait till its over.

On one occassion my son did this while walking through the kitchen and passed out banging his head on the cooker on the way down (I was in the other room and didnt make it in time) and another time he was playing on the swing, he fell off it and I heard him scream, saw him start to walk towards me and the next minute he was flat on his face on the pavement poor little sausage.

We talked to doctors and HVs etc but they all said he would grow out of it and thankfully he seems to have done.

It is scary I know but you almost get used to it and you will deal with it as and when it happens but if you are still really bothered by it all, keep taking your child back to the doctors about it.

Good luck

Star xx

Zeeky Fri 08-Jul-11 08:08:27

My 14mth ds has been having pallid breath holding episodes since about 6 months old. It first started happening not long after he started sitting up. If he keeled over and bumped himself he would scream & then fail to draw the next breath & pass out. I agree it is absolutely terrifying. Had to call ambulance on one occassionally as he didn't come round properly after one breath holding. He was limp & lifeless (although very shallowly breathing) for about 5 mins until paramedics arrived & was then fine. Had to sit in hospital all day while he was monitored but doctors agreed that it was just a slightly more serious breath holding incident.

I have discovered that if I try to distract him when he looks like he is about to do it & don't pick him up (I was scooping him up & cuddling him which seemed to send him into shock) then he will usually take a breath & not pass out. Thankfully he has only had one episode since the hospital visit.

sobeda Fri 08-Jul-11 14:24:22

DS2 (now 5) did this from the age of 1, but hasn't had a pallid breathholding attack for a year now. It is utterly terrifying for the parent or carer, but doesn't seem to have harmed DS2 in the least. Neither DD nor DS1 did this, so it was a big surprise to us!

PKM0809 Mon 11-Jul-11 11:39:13

Thank you for all your posts. I hadn't thought of when she is more mobile her falling over, or the fact that me rushing to pick her up could make her worse. And it is reassuring to know they seem to grow out of it. As she has had a number of episodes over a few months it seems like something we will just learn to live with but reassuring to know you begin to recognise the signs.....i'm nervous everytime she gets upset but it is still quite new to me.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences, as much as you dont wish things on other people nice to hear of people who have experienced it.

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