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Baby silent scream/breath holding!! HELP

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
M y ds is now about 10 months old. The very firstr time he ever got hurt he was about 2 months old and he accidentally bumped heads with his big brother. He immediately turned bright red and made a scream face but no sound came out. His body was quite rigid and his back was somewhat arched. It really freaked me out (and I must admit I gave him a gentle shake not knowing what else to do). But after a few seconds (which seemed like eternity) he took a breath and let out a really loud scream...He has done this maybe 10 more times, always followinga minor injury (but not every time he gets hurt). I had even begun to get used to it. But two nights ago, he fell at a friends house, it didn't even seem like a particularly hard fall, and I picked him up right away. He did his silent scream thing but this time he actually started turning blue and after a few seconds his eyes rolled back. and he fell limp in my arms. I was SO scared! I went running to my husband but by the time I got to him ds was alert and breathing fine, just a little pale and clammy. A few minutes later he is playing and acting totally normally. My dh thinks it's nothing to worry about but he didn't see him pass out! I just felt so helpless, I had no idea what to do! I found a short section in the Baby Book by Sears about breath holding which seemed to fit what happened, and he says there is really nothing to do but stay calm and try to keep baby calm. He says it normally goes away by about 2 1/2 years. Other than this, my ds is the most happy easy going baby you've ever seen.

Has anyone else seen this behaviour? I really want to learn more about it. How could I know if it is dangerous (Sears says that after they pass out their auto responses cue them to breathe)? Is there anything I can do to make this go away faster??


Thanks Jen
post #2 of 7
I haven't seen the behavior, but I immediately thought what the Sears book said. It sounds very scary, and I'm not sure what else to tell you..... both my kids do a big intake before they scream, but neither has ever gone that far. I usually pat them on the back and tell them to breathe while they're doing it. I'd guess though, that the longest either one ever took in breath though was maybe 10 seconds. Probably far less time than yours. I hope that was the last time for your little one.
post #3 of 7
Seems you'd want to take him to a pediatrician to make sure he didn't get a head injury? (or just to check him out?)
post #4 of 7
YES my dd did this from the time she was 8 mo old. the first incident was after eatinga cold popcicle and it scared her. After that when she would get hurt or mad she'd would turn blue and out she would go. It got to the point i knew she was gonna do it I would scoop her up blowing her face and she would take that breath. Or spash water on her. I had some scarey episodes and called EMTS a few times to go to the ped unit and the drs dismiss her as having a bad temper and hold her breath and kids grow out of it. she finally stopped doing it when she was about 4. It is the most frightning thing i know i have been where you are and would panic when she would do it afraid to leave her afraid she would do it.
I do know there is a condition having to do with the vagus nerve i believe dont quote me. there is also a support group of alot of moms like you and me ( breath-holding@yahoogroups.com)

I would have him looked at to be sure he is ok but i am sure he is. It is hard thing to watch and go through. YOu can email me direct if youd like Chevy974@aol.com
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Chevy SO much for your reply. It is so good to know I am not alone! I will try and join the yahoo group. It just seems so strange for such an easy going baby to have this... Is your child otherwise high needs or not? Have you heard of any prevention methods that work? My ds does not do it every time he gets hurt...I think I need to look for a pattern. I don't know. But I am sure glad to know this is "normal" at least to some degree, and not life-threatening!

Thanks again.

I'd still love to hear from anyone else who has experienced or seen this...

post #6 of 7
no she want high need at all. she was colic alittle but thats it. She did develop a pattern a bit I could tell by the sound of her cry or look on her face and i would blow on her or splash water on her. I would still have your son looked at just to be sure. My dd was seen by several whom said shes fine and she will breath on her own you cant hold your breath and and die. your body will kick in and breath. So i would have an overall evaulation and if every thing is ok you will find away to deal with him WE did. It is scarey and nerve ending but hang tight and feel free to email me anytime.
post #7 of 7

Baby brains are not developped like ours, so what happens is that at first, your baby was reacting to the oddness of the situation, he was in shock as it was a new situation for him, and was looking for the mother for safety and reassurance. That is why he showed that scared and about to scream face. Then he actually felt the pain of hitting with his head and started screaming/crying because of it. So, in conclusion, your baby felt something is wrong first and then he felt the actual pain which triggered the screaming and crying. Babies often don't see the relation between the two things so, for them, it is two separate things, the event and the bodily reaction to the event.

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