Baby Stopped Breathing

Updated on January 30, 2010
J.B. asks from Central Point, OR
16 answers

I have an 8 1/2 month old little boy. About 3 weeks ago he became stiff as a board, and stopped breathing for about 30 seconds. His eyes were open, and he was awake. When he finally took a breath he went limp for a few seconds, then recovered fully. He was completely normal after that. We took him to our doctor, and he checked out completely healthy, and the doctor said not to worry about it unless it happened again.

Well it happened again today, almost the same thing, but a little bit shorter. Aftherward he went right back to normal, and even now he is back to normal, happy as ever, but we are worried. We called the doctor, and she has a call into a neurologist.

I guess I'm just wondering if this has happened to anyone else out there, and if so, how did you handle it? Thank you SO much in advance.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much everyone for the advice and words of encouragement. Just a side note, I was not upset at all by how my doctor handled this, we didn't want to freak out about it if it was only going to be a one time thing. The second we called her to let her know it happened again, she was on the phone getting a consult with a neurologist. So it happened Monday, On Tuesday they had us in there getting blood drawn, and Wednesday he had a sleep deprived EEG. We haven't found out the results of that yet, our little man was a trooper through all these tests, and is doing really great. Other than these little episodes, he is a super healthy, happy guy. We are hoping it turns out to be nothing. Thanks again for everything!

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

I agree that this sounds like a seizure of some kind. Get a new pediatrician or at least a second opinion. Who says not to worry - is she crazy? Of course you're worried.

I would Google it. It doesn't sound like apnea since he's awake.

Get into a pediatric neurologist - your insurance company should be able to refer you to someone in the network.

This hasn't happened to us. Good luck and God bless.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I don't have any answers for you, but just wanted to say that we will be praying for you and your son. I hope the neurologist can help you.

Take care,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My friend's daughter does something similar. When she gets really upset and takes that deep breath before a child usually starts into the screaming cries, she holds it. She just doesn't breath until she passes out. She's done it since she was pretty small, and she's two now. They either tell her to "breath!" or they just lay her on the floor for a quicker recovery. She seems totally unaffected. It's just her way of throwing a tantrum.

It sounds like your son has figured out how to hold his breath too.

Keep in contact with your doctor about it, but I can get you more info if you need it.



answers from Allentown on

i'd take him to ER asap just to make sure.


answers from Seattle on

You didn't mention what happened before the "episodes". When my first daughter was old enough to walk (sorry, I don't remember how old she was the first time, but she started walking at 10 months) she would do a silent cry until she passed out if she was startled and hurt at the same time. So, for instance, she tripped and hit her head on the sidewalk. It surprised her and hurt, so she did that first big cry that all babies do, but she wouldn't take a breath and continue sobbing. She would turn purple, her eyes would roll back into her head, and she would pass out, then turn completely white and clammy. Talk about scary for first time parents who were 20 and 21 years old!! She did this once in a while, when conditions were right, the last one when she was 4 years old. She's a completely fine, healthy, intelligent 7 1/2 year old now.

Follow up with your doctor, get a second opinion if you feel you need one, but if nothing is found just relax and pray that he grows out of it.



answers from Portland on

I don't have any answer for you, I'm just frustrated by the posters who didn't read your whole question. I just wanted to point out that your doctor has called a neurologist so she has heard your concerns and is taking steps to help you. Sorry for the "burst" but people need to read the whole thing before jumping in.


answers from Seattle on

I have no answers for you but if I was you I would refresh my baby CPR skills and when happen again I would take him to the first CHILDREN hospital ER. They are all pediatritians there and know what they are doing and have all the equipment and etc. Good luck! We will pray for you!



answers from Portland on

Get your son into a Dr. asap.. don't let them tell you this is "normal"... it's not. It sounds like he is possibly having small seizures. Remember, not all seizures mean they flop about like a fish out of water... some are as simple as a long blink of the eyes.
If you do not have a call back with an appointment to a specialist within a few hours, call your Dr. again... if they do not cooperate, get a second opinion from another office. Too many times Dr's think the parent is just over reacting when really, they have a clue.
Be an advocate for your child and listen to your gut.



answers from Seattle on

Sounds like you are doing the right thing. Keep being an advocate for your child. You are the best one he could have. Keep your eyes and ears open and take notes. Write down any questions you have for the docs and if you feel like they are not being answered, ask again and again until you are satisfactorily informed. Hang in there.



answers from Chicago on

If your Dr. doesn't seem "concerned" I would seek another opinion. Maybe your Dr. is correct, but that is very scary and could be a very serious situation. I would call another Dr. 1st thing in the morning. I hope your Dr. is correct and this is nothing to worry about, but if it were my child I would rather be safe than sorry. You will be in my thoughts. Good Luck.

Please let us know what happens.


answers from Duluth on

i dont know anything about this but its sounds like a seizure or heart problem.
bring him back to the doctor. if you get the same "its nothing" answer, listen to your instincts; GET ANOTHER DOCTOR TO EXAMINE HIM.

you have to pressure doctors sometimes. do it. we are talking about your baby here. make sure you do everything you can to make the doctors figure out whats going on!


answers from Medford on

It sounds like he is having seizure activity and I would ask for a referral to a specialist or at least go to another ped. md.



answers from Seattle on

I haven't had that experience and can only imagine how scared you may have been!

The neurologist will probably be very helpful. It sounds like it could be seizures. I've seen multiple seizures that looked just as you're describing.

I'm not an expert, but handle it by trusting your intuition. You know your baby best. If something the doctor suggests doesn't seem right, keep asking.


answers from Seattle on

Sounds like your son may be having seizures. Until you see the neurologist I would sleep with him to ensure his safety.


answers from Boston on

I've never had this happen with any of my children, but one of my neighbor's boys used to hold his breath on purpose. He was a toddler, but I'm not sure if he did it when he was an infant, too. If he's holding it, the pediatrician told her that there's no harm. It's just incredibly scary for the parent. The body automatically makes the child pass out for a moment so it can start breathing again. I hope this helps. Good luck.


answers from Austin on

My friend's baby had to be hooked up to a portable alarm which sounded if her daughter stopped breathing... (Here it is, I googled it: It was a portable SIDS alarm for infant apnea. She rented it for several months from the hospital.

Below a link to an article from USA Today that says infant apnea is fairly common (hence, previous posters mentioned seizers... it could be that, or perhaps infant apnea--which is still scary, but to me, not as frightening as the possibility of a seizure.)

I would immediately mention the possibility of infant apnea to a pediatrician or call the ER and ask to speak to the doctor/nurse on call if you're not trusting your pedi and you're too scared to fall asleep tonight.

"Some infants are given portable sleep monitors for home use, which sound an alarm if breathing becomes erratic. Silvestri's research has found such episodes are common, even in healthy infants, but life-threatening lapses occur mostly in premature babies."

Next question: Breath Holding Spells