What Does Retraction Look like in an Infant?

Updated on February 26, 2008
M.Q. asks from Amarillo, TX
7 answers

I have an 8 week old infant with Bronchiolitis and have been told to watch for retraction. I notice when he breathes in that there is a spot on either side of his lower chest/upper abdomen that sucks in, but I'm not sure if that's what I'm supposed to be watching for or not. He's been sick since he was two weeks old, so I don't really know if that's just what he looks like when he breathes or not! We're giving breathing treatments and he seemed to be getting better for a while, but seems worse the past two days. I'm keeping in close touch with his pediatrician, so I'm not too concerned, just curious. He's not showing any other sign of distress.

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M.

answers from Dallas on

M.,

Retraction is exactly what you are looking at. If when your son breathes in, you can see the skin going into the ribs, that is retraction...also look for his use of accessory muscles (around the neck) when he is breathing...you'll see his muscles tense up. But yes, if doc told you to watch for this, I would notify them immediately. Not sure exactly his history, but different breathing treatment, etc might be needed...and that is a sign of respiratory distress. Good luck!

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

What you're looking at is definitely retractions and should be taken very seriously! When babies have retractions it means that they are having to use extra muscles to breath. I'm a pedi RN and am very experienced with bronchiolitis. breathing treatments generally don't do anything for this.make sure that you are using alot of saline and suctioning out baby's nose frequently. go in as far as you can with the bulb syringe not just the tip. i know it's scary but you are blowing his nose for him and helping him breath. if he continues to have retractions and breathing fast (more than 40 times per minute) i would take him to the ER. Good luck to you

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H.C.

answers from Dallas on

Those are retractions. I am a pediatric respiratory therapist, so I know all too well what retractions look like. 8 week old babies can sometimes have a very hard time with bronchiolitis because their airways are so small and will get clogged with mucus easily. Sounds like he needs to be seen by the pediatrician. If he gets in blue'ish tint around his lips, take him to the ER ASAP! Sorry not to scare you, but bronchiolitis is to be taken seriously.

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R.B.

answers from Lubbock on

My son had chronic croup. He had what they called retraction many, many times. When he would breathe in it was like his chest skin would wrap up under and around his ribs and suck in. Also, the indention (hole)in his neck below the adam's apple would suck in with every breath. It can be a very scary time or it was for me. It sounds as though this is what your baby has and I would go the doctor ASAP to ensure that his diffulty breathing is not anything more that that or that it doesn't need more attention. My son was admitted to the hospital several times to take care of that very situation and I never regreted taking him. Better safe than sorry. Your in my thoughts and prayers. Let me know how things turn out!

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S.B.

answers from Sherman on

My 4 month old had bronchialitis at 5 weeks. They said to watch for the indentation (sp?) around his rib cage and for more than 60 breaths/minute while sleeping. I also did breathing treatments which worked well for us.

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R.

answers from Dallas on

My now 2 yr. old son has multiple breathing problems and has since 3wks. old. If his chest is caving/sinking when he breathes he is having a difficult time and you need to have him seen. I am not trying to scare you but that is a definate sign of difficulty. Regardless, I would call my doc at the least just for your peace of mind. Blessings on you and your new baby. I know how hard it is to have a sick one while taking care of two others.

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A.K.

answers from Dallas on

I would call your pedi's office tonight. They may send you to the ER. Sounds like your baby is really struggling to breathe. I will say a prayer for you and your sweet baby.

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