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What are the reasons for breathing holding spells of my 4 month baby?

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Posted on Thu, 13 Mar 2014
Question: Hi, My 4 month baby has started to hold his breath after crying and only after speinkling water starts breathing but becomes pale and listless. Please let us know the reason and what needs to be done in such situation. Thanks XXXXXXX
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Answered by Dr. Irshad H Naqvi (1 hour later)
Brief Answer: behavior disorder. Self limiting Detailed Answer: Hi, Welcome to the Healthcaremagic. Breath Holding spells are quite common. Usually they are with harmless outcome. But create panic with parents at that moment. One should try to prevent the episodes by simply avoiding the such noxious stimulus. One should behave with patience at that very moment. These breath holding spells occur in response to some noxious stimulus like pain, any trauma or any event which child do not like such as snatching some toy from the child etc. This may be because of some sudden changes in the nervous system of the baby causing the slowing of heart rate, respiration etc for fraction of second. Normal breathing starts after a moment of its own. These act are not done by child deliberately. It happens automatically. Possible causes may be anemia or some rare genetic disorder. Many times giving iron syrups do help in reducing the spells. Usually no specific treatment is required. After the age of about 6 to 8 years these episodes are not seen Hope the query is answered. Please feel free for further clarification. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Answered by
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Dr. Irshad H Naqvi

Pediatrician

Practicing since :1989

Answered : 1194 Questions

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What are the reasons for breathing holding spells of my 4 month baby?

Brief Answer: behavior disorder. Self limiting Detailed Answer: Hi, Welcome to the Healthcaremagic. Breath Holding spells are quite common. Usually they are with harmless outcome. But create panic with parents at that moment. One should try to prevent the episodes by simply avoiding the such noxious stimulus. One should behave with patience at that very moment. These breath holding spells occur in response to some noxious stimulus like pain, any trauma or any event which child do not like such as snatching some toy from the child etc. This may be because of some sudden changes in the nervous system of the baby causing the slowing of heart rate, respiration etc for fraction of second. Normal breathing starts after a moment of its own. These act are not done by child deliberately. It happens automatically. Possible causes may be anemia or some rare genetic disorder. Many times giving iron syrups do help in reducing the spells. Usually no specific treatment is required. After the age of about 6 to 8 years these episodes are not seen Hope the query is answered. Please feel free for further clarification. Thanks.