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Newborn and Infant Care

Infant holding breath

12/02/2008

Question:

my 2 month old infant will be half awake and asleep and will go into a stretch and sometimes lock up and quit breathing and turn red. Blowing in the face will help catch breath. no crying just finishes the stretching.

Answer:

Babies do many things that can worry parents. However, honestly, this does not sound like a cause for worry or intervention. Many babies stretch and briefly breath hold and then change color from normal to red when in the drowsy state. Turning color from normal to red is often a strong behavioral cue that the infant does not want to be bothered and wishes to continue sleeping.

Changing to a blue or purple color while not breathing would be a cause for concern. You can lower the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS, by always placing your baby on his or her back for nap and night sleep times, not over heating the baby's room or over bundling the baby since these things increase the risk for SIDS. Another extremely important protective step to take is assuring that the baby is not exposed to any form of tobacco smoke. SIDS rates are significantly hire in the homes of adults who smoke around the baby.
 
If you remain concerned, please talk this over with your baby's doctor. I hope this information is helpful.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University