March 22, 2008,
K.S. asks from Aurora, OH on March 17, 2008
How to deal with infant with Tracheomalacia?
My almost 3 week old son makes a lot of noise when he breathes. The doctor has told me he believes he had tracheomalacia or a weakness and floppiness of the walls of the windpipe (trachea). As a result his breathing can be quite noisy all day long, but especially when he sleeps, very squeaky and grunty. Besides the noise however, his breathing is not labored and he seems very peaceful - not at all bothered. When he eats, it is harder for him when he's excited, he does much better when it's quite and he can focus on just eating. Does anyone else have any experience with this type of condition with their child?
Congenital tracheomalacia generally goes away on its own by the age of 18-24 months. As the tracheal cartilage gets stronger and the trachea grows, the noisy respirations and breathing difficulties gradually stop. Rarely, surgery is needed. Continue to monitor the child to be sure nothing changes, then follow-up with your pediatrician.
So What Happened?™
Wow, what an incredible response! I had no idea so many people have been affected by this condition. It makes me feel better to know that I am not alone and that his noises are not so unusual. For now I am going to continue to monitor him to be sure nothing changes, then I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor at 2 months. I sleep with him right next to me at night because I worry when he seems to gag or stop breathing for a second, but he always alright. The thing that bothers/worries me the most is how much effort it seems to take in order for him to breathe. His nostrils don't flare, and he isn't sucking skin in between his ribs (2 things the doctor told me to watch for), but he moves his head and chest more than he would otherwise and I feel sorry for the little thing. But, he doesn't seem bothered by it so I try not to let it worry me too much. Thank you for all of your advice and support - I will use a lot of it as we work through this.
H.A. answers from Cleveland on March 18, 2008
My SIL had that when she was little. My MIL has told me about it several times. She eventually grew out of it. I wish you well!
M.G. answers from Toledo on March 22, 2008
Hello there! I wanted you to know that most infants respond well to humidified air, careful feedings, and antibiotics for infections. Babies with tracheomalacia must be closely monitored when they have respiratory infections.
Often, the symptoms of tracheomalacia improve as the infant grows.
Rarely, surgery is needed.
Congenital tracheomalacia generally goes away on its own by the age of 18-24 months. As the tracheal cartilage gets stronger and the trachea grows, the noisy respirations and breathing difficulties gradually stop.
Babies born with tracheomalacia may have other congenital abnormalities such as heart defects, developmental delay, or gastroesophageal reflux.
Aspiration pneumonia can occur from inhaling food contents.
Call your health care provider if your child has breathing difficulties or breathing noises. It can become an urgent or emergency condition.
Thankfully, my kids haven't gotten this so far, but that's my recommendation.
Have a blessed day!
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B.I. answers from Indianapolis on March 18, 2008
My kids all did this when babies. Two of them were preemies. While it drives you crazy because you are constantly checking on baby and worried something could be wrong, I was always reassured by our doctor that they were fine. I think they're just noises babies make when they're "babies." They are just getting used to breathing outside of the womb. This is a whole new world to them. Literally. By the time I had my third one, I put her in her room to sleep at six weeks. She's my best sleeper yet. I couldn't sleep through the night because of the noises. My husband is a heavy sleeper so until then I had him sleep on the side the baby was because the noises didn't phase him. As long as your doctor has checked everything and says it all fine, I'm sure it is. If you would feel better, get a second opinion. Being a first time mom is hard enough without worrying all the time. Always follow your gut. There is also a product on the market that you can put under the babies bed sheet to tell you whether he or she is breathing at all times. I bought it, but never used it. Hope this helps. B.
S.W. answers from Indianapolis on March 18, 2008
Typically, your pediatrician would refer you to a PEDIATRIC ENT or pulmonary specialist at the local children's hospital to be checked out. I don't mean to scare you, but sometimes babies need surgical intervention for this. The specialist would do a bronchoscopy (look down the windpipe while under sedation) and/or do a sleep study (a recording of the baby's heart rate, breathing, and oxygen levels) overnight. If your doctor didn't refer you to specialist, you can call and ask them to.
M.R. answers from Fort Wayne on March 18, 2008
My daughter was born with the same thing. She is 3 months old. We have been to an ENT specialist and they told us that it will take time for the opening to harden. They said that is could take up to 2 years for it to fully develop. Her breathing is noisy when she is awake and quiet when she is sleeping. If she gets excited when she is eating she will start to choke on her milk. Then we have to stop eating and wait until she calms down. If she cries really hard and gets upset, then her breathing sounds worse. The doctors keep telling me that eventually she will out grow this as the opening starts to get harder. I have another daughter but she never had this. Its all new to me as well. I hope your son continues to do well. I am a stay at home mom as well. I have 2 girls-22 months and 3 months.
K.E. answers from Lafayette on March 18, 2008
I don't have any advice for you, but I do have a question. Is this accompanied by a cough that sounds barky (like Crupe)? My 3 and 1/2 month old son has had this cough for well over a month now, and they have ruled out RSV. He seems to breath much better when he's awake; there's really not any noise then. But when he is sleeping, he sounds really loud.
M.M. answers from Cleveland on March 19, 2008
Our son was diagnosed with the same condition when he was about 2 or 3 months old. His Pediatrician referred us to a specialist who ruled out any deformities of the airway. He only made the noise when he got excited or was playing. He eventually outgrew it on his own. I would say probably around 7 months. He is 20 months old now. Since they ruled out physical growth problems we were told it was a harmless condition and he would grow out of it - which he did. Our son didn't have any problems when he was eating or sleeping so I would just keep an eye on him and talk to the Dr. again if it seems to get worse or disrupts his day. Good luck!!!
J.K. answers from Indianapolis on March 18, 2008
Our daughter had the same thing. We called it her "chicken noises" because she sounded like a litte chicken! She is now 4 months old and has completly outgrown it. She stopped the noises at about 3 and 1/2 months. If the doctor says not to worry about it- I wouldn't be concerned.
have a great day!
M.M. answers from Indianapolis on March 18, 2008
My son had this as well. I originally thought it was the crupe, but my pediatrician said that it was perfectly normal and sometimes children have weaker walls in their trachia than others. My son is 7 months old today and still does it sometimes, but like another mother said, my doctor advised that he would grow out of it and it is no cause for concern.
However, I am a big believer in mother's intuition and if you do not feel comforted by the diagnosis, get a second opinion. Always go with your gut!