20 answers

Chest Congestion

hi,
our 1 month and 2 week old son, has a gurgling type of congestion in his chest. it seems it is most obvious in the morning. i don't think it in his sinues or his throat. he drinks formula and has a problem keeping it in his belly. any suggestions?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

K.,
What type of formula are you using? He may be allergic to the ingredients.
S. Fox, L.Ac., M.S.
Balance Restored - Center for Integrative Medicine
600 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
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What kind of formula is he on? I would not give him soy formula, and if he was allergic to milk, try a goat's milk formula or hypoallergenic formula - this sounds related to his diet -

good luck!

More Answers

Hi K.,
My first piece if advice is to get your son to a doctor immediately (yes, that means the ER). I'm not saying that your situation is definitely an emergency, but there are several things that could cause the gurgling you're describing, some of which could lead to chest infections (v. important to treat immediately). Do not take a chance. I think it's probably a bit early for RSV season, but not by much, so who knows. RSV needs to be taken very seriously. However, to me this sounds more like reflux from the little I have to go on here. You may need to switch from the formula you are using to one with the proteins broken down, such as Alimentum. Our son had vicious reflux, and we worked w/ a great ped GI at UCSF. I had originally been breastfeeding, but the doc had me switch to Alimentum formula. (We had tried soy-based formula already, and the problems did not improve in the slightest -- plus soy allergies are relatively common.) At night, after you feed your baby and put him back down (even if you hold him upright for a half-hour+), he could be experiencing reflux, spitting up, and aspirating on it (getting some of the spit-up into his airway and lungs). Foreign substances in the lungs are an extremely serious problem. That is why I think you need to get to the ER *today*. There are other possible causes, too, but why take a chance? I'm not one of those parents who calls the doc at the slightest sign of a sniffle. Potential chest congestion, though, is a completely different issue. Please get your son to the ER and then to the pediatrician on Monday. As for adding rice cereal (or any cereals) to your son's bottle, please do not. I received the same advice from a couple of moms I know, but my son's pediatrician and both of the pediatric GI's he saw (the first one was with CPMC but got a serious illness and stopped practicing, and the second one is at UCSF and has a reputation for being the best in the Bay Area) told us not to thicken his bottle with rice cereal or anything else. All three were quite adamant about this. If your son has reflux, feel free to email me if you want to know more about what worked in our situation. For now, just make sure that your baby's lungs are okay.
K.

Hi K.,

I would look up a good chiropractor for him. I know this may sound unconventional but it works I PROMISE!!! Take care and God bless!

My first guess is a dust allergy. My poor guy would cough in the morning and be congested all day, especially after nap times. Finally something clicked and I washed all his linens and stuffed animals, dusted shelves, etc. We were lucky and had one of those 'pull the dust out of the air' machines. Since we've done all that, all the congestion is gone.
Good luck!

could be reflux...talk to ypur pediatrician...ours rec. using Enfamil A.R.--which is thickened w/ rice cereal, using a wedge under the matress, keeping feeding smaller, but more frequent...

Hi K.,

Based on what you described, it sounds like he has reflux. That means that the formula doesn't stay in the stomach and backs back up into the esophagus. The problem is when it can go back down into his lungs. THere are many other possibilities (congenital abnormalities, formula intolerance, not burping enough, etc.)

I would definitely get this checked out.

There were some good suggestions posted. You can put a phone book under his mattress, or hold him upright on your chest for a while after he eats. That lets gravity do the work and he might keep the food down better. When you feed him, also burp him very frequently (some kids need burping every 1/2 to 1 ounce if they gulp in too much air). If there is too much air in the belly, then when they try to burp it out, the formula comes out instead.

Good luck!

Hi K.,

I am just wondering if your baby might possibly have some acid reflux. My daughter has it and it seems to be most common when she is laying down or at bedtime (early morning hours.

I would talk to your Pediatrician about this.

Good luck to you!

H.

Hi K.,

Does he cough or spit it all up after eating? I don't have too much info to go on, but I think you should call your pediatrician and ask them. Gurgling doesn't sound good- and it could be an infection or possibly the baby aspirated the formula which could cause a serious chest infection. Call the doctor asap to be on the safe side. Good luck to you!

M.

Are you sure it is in his chest? my 5 month old has had this gurgling that i swore up and down was in his chest, but it is actually in his sinuses/throat
there is a big difference between chest congestion and throat congestion and only a dr who listens to his lungs would be able to tell the difference
most likely it is reflux or an allergy...i live in fresno where the air is TERRIBLE and I am sure that doesnt help out with my sons congestion...

Hi Congratulation, enjoy he will be up and running about before you know it.

It would be a good idea to get him check out just in case it is a chest infection, but try raising the cot/mattress up one end, with him lying down all night the muck is then on his chest so raising him a little could help keep it clear. Could try something like baby vick on a cloth and rest it near him this will/can help him breath better at night but do check the label he may be to young for that yet. Hope he is ok.

J.

Sounds like it could be a food allergy, but you should check with a health professional, and if they aren't willing to dig for a diagnosis you might try a naturopath, as they are not beholden to the insurance industry.

Hi K.. I am a first time parent of a now almost 5 year old precious girl. You know when she was young I started her on the regular formula. So I quickly switched to the Soy brand I think it was Enfamil and never had that problem again. She was about a month old when I switched over. About the gurgling, I am not quite sure what that may be. could be from the formula response. If after you change formulas it still persists, talk to the pediatrician. Good luck to you and your family.

I agree with everyone else who says it could be reflux. My son was diagnosed with this early on, so we could get it treated right away. It was never an ER-type situation, but it does cause a gurgly congestion. Please talk to your dr. about reflux first before you do anything! There are many different severities of it. My son had to go on medication, other babies have just needed a different formula. There are tests they can conduct (noninvasive)to see how severe it is so you are not medicating unnecessarily. Keeping him elevated is a good tip though. Good luck and congratulations on your new little guy!

Hi,

Try pumping your breast milk and giving it to him. It's a lot tastier and easier to digest.

Go to the doc. I'm sure he's fine, but the respiratory system is nothing to mess around with....

What kind of formula is he on? I would not give him soy formula, and if he was allergic to milk, try a goat's milk formula or hypoallergenic formula - this sounds related to his diet -

good luck!

I am responding at 9pm on Sunday evening and if you haven't gone to the ER or made an emergency appt. to see your pediatrician tomorrow, then DO IT NOW!!!

You may need a pediatric pulmonologist. Don't wait, do something now and please let us all know what happens.

God Bless.

Just to be on the safe side I would get him checked out by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. My son has Larnyxmalacia and has stridor. His doctor is David Arstein in Los Gatos 408-###-###-####.

DON'T CHANCE IT GO TO THE E.R. NOW!!! My son was one month old when we took my 4 year old to the Dr. because we thought he had an ear infection and figured we would have the baby checked because his chest was a little congested, they had an ambulance called for him before they even checked my other boy who was fine. Not to scare you but my son was in the hospital for 10 days with RSV and we learned later that the first Dr. thought that he would die before making it to the hospital. He is 4 1/2 now and doing good but I wouldn't take any chances, it really is better to be safe than sorry. Good Luck!

Congrats on your new bundle of joy! Ouur daughter had the same gurgle and turned out to be nothing. We were really worried so had the Doc check her out. I would take your son to his doc for reassurance. Good luck.

K.,
What type of formula are you using? He may be allergic to the ingredients.
S. Fox, L.Ac., M.S.
Balance Restored - Center for Integrative Medicine
600 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
###-###-####(p)
###-###-####(f)
balancerestored.com
____@____.com

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