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News from Baby Medical Q&A, Issue #043
April 01, 2010

New Questions and Answers

Question: My daughter, 2 1/2, will get so upset she loses breath. It's like she can't take a breath or something, she'll go still then be stiff and I have to pry open her mouth and/or push down her tongue while blowing into her mouth to get her to breathe again. I had to hold her nose and blow into her mouth and gave even her chest a few pumps (not sure if i needed to, but i was really worried this time) before anything this time and was screaming for her dad to come help (who sleeps during day as he works 12hr night shifts). She hasn't ever turned color, thank god.

When she breathes again she'll be freaked out and often I'm crying too so we cry together, but I'll sing or have her take deep breathes to make sure all is ok. It freaks me out so much. I get so scared thinking what if it happened when I wasn't around like even in the kitchen when she was playing in her room. It doesn't happen very often and recently was the first in a long time, but I still worry. I thought it was a phase she had gotten over until this last time.

I remember hyperventalating until i passed out a few times as a child but nothing like this that I recall. This has happened on occasion since around 1, but as I said very infrequently. I don't know what to do, or worse think there might not be any way to prevent it, but just try to help her remember to take deep breaths like I've already been doing.

She's so smart and already potty trained and speaking well and everything is normal (tantrums included). It's just so scary. Any help is greatly appreciated, thank you!

Answer: I can understand that you are concerned about these episodes. These are breath holding attacks. They are not dangerous. The best thing is to ignore them - of course, that is difficult as they are quite scary to watch. But you can pretend to be ignoring them - look out the corner of you eye while acting as if you're reading or something like that.

It may also be an idea to get your daughter's iron levels checked as low iron stores make breath holding attacks more frequent. Alternatively, if you don't want her to have a blood test, giving an iron supplement is not going to hurt her.

Please see the Tantrum page for more information.

Don't worry as your daughter will not come to any harm.


Question: I'm hoping you could help me with not so much of a medical problem thank god but rather a change in habits. My daughter is now 2 years old and recently we moved to a bigger home as her younger brother is expected to arrive in about 8 weeks. Before the move she would wake occasionally during the nights but would stay the whole night in bed. Since moving she hasn't.

My hubby and I have spent nights going back and fourth to return her but eventually we give in and she ends up in our bed since she never gives in. I understand that the change may be difficult for her although she doesn't cry or seem upset she just keeps coming back until she gets to stay. The first night she was in her own bed the whole night, the second night we were up at least 40 times between us (5 hours before she finally fell asleep) and after that well the rest is history.

If you have some advice for me how to keep her in her own bed all night i would greatly appreciate it.

Answer:I understand that is must be exhausting for you. Your daughter is having to get used to a few changes. She's also realised that if she persists she will get to stay in your bed.

Putting her back time after time will eventually work but it can be tiring in the meantime.

Another idea is to tie a piece of rope from the door to your daughter's room to another door such that when your daughter pulls the door it will open a bit but not enough to let her through (so smaller than her head). Keep a night light in the hallway and if she gets up you can go to the door to reassure her you are still there and even wait for her to go back to sleep - she isn't locked in but she can't get out. If she falls asleep at the door you can put her in her bed later. If you persist with this and don't give in, she will get the idea. Giving in just reinforces for her that if she is persistent she will get what she wants.

Good luck


Question: My baby is 11 weeks old. He was born 8 weeks premi and has a small patch of white hair towards the front of his head.

We have been told this could be a sign of blindness,deafness or autism is this right?

Answer: A white forelock is associated with syndromes that have deafness as part of them. Waardenburg's syndrome has a white forelock, deafness and characteristic facial features, including pigment changes in the eye, but blindness is not usually a feature. I am not aware of any direct association of a white forelock and autism, but a child with deafness may have a communication disorder that may have autistic features.

Waardenburg disease is a rare disease and is seen in families. Not all children will have all features.

Your baby should have a hearing test. If the doctors caring for your baby are seriously considering Waardenburg syndrome then referral to a geneticist to discuss this further would be helpful for you and you should request it.

Your baby may just have a white forelock, though, with no associations.


Question: I'm hearing different reports about babies needing whole milk. Some say babies need whole milk for their brain development up until age 5 before turning to non-fat milk; other reports say switch at age two because studies may link whole milk to diabetes at a later age. What should I do for my 26 month old?

Answer:It can be very confusing and there will always be people who tell you one thing and others that say another.

Generally accepted best practice is the following: Babies can have cow's milk after the age of 12 months - it should be full fat until the age of 2 years. After 2 years they can have low fat milk but they cannot have no-fat milk until after 5 years of age.

For more information on feeding and nutrition.


News and Updates

Online Anaphylaxis Training

ASCIA (Australasian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy) has released an online training resource for anaphylaxis education. It has been developed for school and childcare staff but can equally be used by parents, friends, carers or patients.

Have you seen this website?

Child Development Institute - Child Development Institute provides information to parents and was recommended for parents by the American Psychological Association and Psychology Toady during its first year of operation. Child Development Institute's primary goal is to provide information to parents based on current research that is both comprehensive and practical. The purpose is to enable parents to help each child to develop to his or her full potential.


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