Frequent question: What does it mean when a baby holds their breath?

Breath-holding is when a baby or child stops breathing for up to 1 minute and may faint. It can happen when a child is frightened, upset, angry, or has a sudden shock or pain. It’s usually harmless but can be scary for parents, particularly when it happens for the first time.

Is it normal for a baby to hold their breath?

Breath-holding spells happen in healthy children from 6 months to 6 years old. They’re most common when kids are 6–18 months old, and tend to run in families.

Why do babies hold their breath for a few seconds?

This irregular breathing pattern is common in premature babies in the first few weeks of life. Even healthy, full-term babies sometimes have stretches of periodic breathing. These episodes often happen when the infant is sleeping deeply. But they may also happen with light sleep or even when the baby is awake.

Is it normal for a 2 month old to hold their breath?

Babies as young as 2 months old and up to 2 years old can start having breath-holding spells. Some children have severe spells. Children can have breath-holding spells when they are responding to: Fear.

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Do newborns sometimes hold their breath?

Normal newborn breathing

At 6 months, babies breathe about 25 to 40 times per minute. An adult, meanwhile, takes about 12 to 20 breaths per minute. Newborns can also take rapid breaths and then pause for up to 10 seconds at a time.

Are breath-holding spells normal?

Also called breath-holding attacks, these spells are somewhat common and can happen in healthy children. They can look like seizures, but they’re not. The spells don’t hurt the children, and many outgrow them by age 6 or 7. They are most common in 2-year-olds.

What is the breath holding test?

n. A test used as a rough index of cardiopulmonary reserve, measured by the length of time a person can hold his or her breath. Diminished cardiac or pulmonary reserve is indicated if one’s breath is held for less than 20 seconds.

How do I stop my baby from holding his breath?

Do

  1. stay calm – it should pass in less than 1 minute.
  2. lie the child on their side – do not pick them up.
  3. stay with them until the episode ends.
  4. make sure they cannot hit their head, arms or legs on anything.
  5. reassure them and ensure they get plenty of rest afterwards.

Why do breath-holding spells happen?

What causes breath holding? The cause of breath holding is not known. Breath holding is usually involuntary, and is caused by a slowing of the heart rate or changes in your child’s usual breathing patterns. Sometimes breath-holding spells are brought on by strong emotions such as anger, fear, pain or frustration.

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Are breath-holding spells seizures?

No. Children with breath-holding spells do not have epilepsy. As breath-holding spells may look like epileptic seizures, the 2 are often confused. Breath-holding spells happen after your child has been frustrated, startled or hurt.

How do you tell if a baby is struggling to breathe?

Signs of Respiratory Distress in Children

  1. Breathing rate. An increase in the number of breaths per minute may indicate that a person is having trouble breathing or not getting enough oxygen.
  2. Increased heart rate. …
  3. Color changes. …
  4. Grunting. …
  5. Nose flaring. …
  6. Retractions. …
  7. Sweating. …
  8. Wheezing.

How do you know if a baby is having trouble breathing?

What might breathing problems indicate in a newborn?

  1. Rapid or irregular breathing. Rapid breathing is more than 60 breaths each minute. …
  2. Flaring nostrils. A baby who is having trouble taking in enough air will have nostrils that widen with each inhaled breath.
  3. Retracting. …
  4. Grunting. …
  5. Blue color. …
  6. Coughing.

How do I know if my baby has low oxygen?

Other common signs of hypoxia (or lack of oxygen) in the baby include:

  1. A lack of fetal movement. (infant lethargy or fatigue)
  2. Bluish or pale skin tone.
  3. Poor / weak muscle tone.
  4. Poor reflexes.
  5. Weak / no cry.