Breath Holding Syndrome

There are so many scary things that can happen when you have a child. As children grow and become mobile, there are infinite things that go through your mind as parent as to what could happen.

When you look over and see your 12-month-old sitting on top of her dresser or your 16-month-old son climbs to the top of your husband ladder—those are scary moments that make you glad nothing serious happened… right? When your child begins eating food at 6 months of age and make the decision to learn the heimlich maneuver because you never know if it could happen to your baby or child.

Now imagine your 16-month-old child starting to cry so hard that they pass out. What do you do? What just happened? Is she choking? How do I save my child? Call an ambulance… this is insane…

So many thoughts go through your head when something like this happens once. Now imagine this starts to become a frequent occurrence—once a month. What in the world is happening? She can’t be choking because she’s not eating every time this happens…

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After a couple of doctor’s visits and a check with the neurologist, you find out that your (now 2-year-old) child has breath holding syndrome.

What is this?

Breath holding syndrome is when a child involuntarily stops breathing and loses consciousness for a short period of time. These episodes are usually due to being frightened or emotionally upset.

Like any parent that is faced with something their child is diagnosed with—you find ways to cope and ways to handle each situation that you are faced.

How to handle Breath Holding Syndrome?

Each child is different and I am not here to tell you how to handle your child’s syndrome. Like I said before, each child may involuntarily stop breathing for different reasons. It is important to journal –especially in the beginning stages or you just have an inkling that your child may have this. Journaling will help you notice patterns, and it will come in handy when seeing a doctor.

My daughter seems to have these spells when she is overly tired and crying REALLY hard. So as a mother I have come accustomed to her cries and tuning in on her when these situations arise. It is important for us to still parent her like we would our other children (not letting her get away with stuff just because we don’t want her to lose consciousness) but I know that I am there if anything does happen and I am constantly teaching her how to calm herself down and take deep breathes.

Is this common? About 5 % of children experience breath holding spells.

Is this Syndrome Genetic? The neurologist that we saw said that this syndrome tends to be something that runs in families. Understanding that children can experience these episodes from ages 6 months to 6 years yet it is most common between ages 1 and 3 years of age—it is usually uncommon for people to talk about this with other family members because it is something that happened during a brief moment in their life that they forget about it or don’t think it relates.

Our neurologist also said that they think after the breath holding syndrome subsides around age six years old that they can develop migraines and if migraines run in the family that this syndrome correlates to the migraines. Now he said there isn’t any conclusive evidence on this but this is a theory that many have.

If your child is experiencing these types of episodes—I’d like you to know that you are not alone. I have reached out to some other parents that experience this with their kids and some of them have daily episodes. It is nice to have a community of people that experience this themselves.

Feel free to join my community of busy blessed moms HERE

Also, don’t hesitate to comment below if you think your experiencing this or would like to connect with me.

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