Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Includes Expert Content
    2 month old holds breath /turns red
    doreenleigh posted:
    For the last couple of weeks my two month old has been holding his breath at random times several times a day. He could be perfectly calm and then tense his entire boy, holds his breath, and make fists while holding his arms in the air. His face will turn bright red. It only lasts for 5 to 10 seconds and he'll be perfectly fine afterwards. At first we thought it was a reaction to walking him down the stairs too fast, but now he does it even if we're just walking him around the room or lightly bouncing him. The doctor said it could be reflux but he doesn't seem to be upset by it because he doesn't cry before or after. What could it be??
    Dr__Parker responded:

    I'm not really sure. Since he is fine afterward, a seizure seems unlikely. Reflux (heartburn) is a good thought: does he have any spitting?

    In cases where it doesn't sound serious but is perplexing, i like my patients to try to catch it on video to see if can help to figure it out.
    nrnotes responded:
    My 4 month old daugher did this for the first time yesterday - and did it twice. Once around lunchtime and the other after dinner. ... As you described, she was completely calm and happy before - then out of the blue as I was carrying her, she stiffened her entire body, clentched her fists, held her breath and became red in the face - it lasted about 5 seconds. ... Then afterwards, she returned to normal, and acted as if nothing had happened. She was her happy, smiling self.

    Did you ever get any more information about this? ... I'm debating whether I need to take her to the Ped, or if it's not a big deal.
    mum2008 responded:
    My son did exactly this when he was only a couple weeks old. I expressed my concern and was either ignored or told that it was normal. He eventually stopped, but now he is 2 1/2 months old and he is doing the same thing again for the past week. He holds his breath, his face will get bright red, and his body will tense/tighten up. When he started doing this again I thought my husband and I were going up and down the stairs to fast but he holds his breath even when I am walking around slowly. I would also like to get some answers. I am worried my son may be having seizures. Please help! Thanks!
    doreenleigh responded:
    My little guy finally out grew this at about 4 months, though he still does tense up coming down the steps every now and again, but i think that's because he's inherited my weak stomach. I can't even do kiddie rollercoasters!
    _Paula responded:
    My now 16 yr did this- she could not even be in a baby is a hyper active startle response. My dd even when older did not like to be held up in the air- or thrown up like so many kids do. She would even do it when passing her from one person to another....Just keep him "safe feeling" swaddling helps. and move slowly when you are walking him. It will get better
    laradn responded:
    Hi DoreenLeigh

    have you had a diagnosis yet? my 3month old daughter has the same symptoms and I am going to see the paeditrician again next week - originally he diagnosed breath holding attacks...


    laradn replied to Dr__Parker's response:
    Hi Dr Parker

    is 3 months too young for a baby to have breath holding attacks - my daughter started these when she was 3 weeks old,

    thank you

    oliviasmother replied to laradn's response:
    My daughter is doing this. She is just 4 months old. It has happened three times in the past month. I took her to Urgent care and the doctor was so convenced that it was breath holding that he did not run any tests. Since it was a Sundayy the first time it happened we followed up with the Pediatrician and she had us get an US of the head to look for bleeeds or any brain abnormalities, an EEG sleep and awake to check for posssible seizure (only effective if there is activity during the test) and blood work. Luckily all these things were normal so I am hoping my baby will "grow" out of this????? So scary. It is something my friends with babies have never seen or heard of so it freaks me out even more. My baby is very healthy otherwise so all that's left to do is pray. The first time I was convienced that she got scared but she didnt cry before or after the episodeds until this 3rd time. It seemed like the episode scared her. She too gets stiff, beat red and stops breathing. It only lasts 4 or 5 seconds thank God!!! I blow in her face and she goes back to normal (sh would probably go back to normal anyways it just makes me panic) I am wondering if anyone else knows if this is more serious??? I hope it is just a startling reflex even though the 2nd two happend while walking down the hallway. My hall is dark and I always walk fast but these things are constant.....I dont know. I just feel relief to see others with this because hopefulyy that means it's a variation of normal.
    An_245096 replied to oliviasmother's response:
    My son did this yesterday. He is two months old. He was in his car seat and we were driving when the older kids in the back seat started freaking out...saying..the baby is turning red. We all panicked. I ended up sitting in the back with him for a while and in a two hour period he did it 5 or 6 times. Then later I was changing his diaper and he did it again. Now today he did it while in the bath tub. When he was naked I could tell he was tryiing to sit up and it was the contraction of the abdomen and trying to sit up that was the motion causing the redness. Maybe he is bearing down while trying to sit it the process of strengthing abdominals?
    oboingo76 replied to An_245096's response:
    I can't believe this thread is out there! My daughter is 11 weeks old and she's been doing this for about 8 weeks. She doesn't do it often and honestly we call it the "super mad". It's usually followed by a yell. She is very demanding (has been since birth and in the hosp) about what she wants. She likes to be carried around and moved - she's very curious. We have noticed that when she does this, it's when someone is walking around with her (as she enjoys) and stops. We assumed she was having a tantrum. I hate it when she does it, especially when she began doing it, because I thought it looked like she was going to give herself a stroke! She usually stops though once we move her or start walking again. She has never done it to me while I'm holding her. She did it to me once while in her stroller when I stopped moving, but typically does it to her dad or grandmother. It's not all that often.
    oliviasmother replied to oboingo76's response:
    Just to followup incase another scared mom gets on here... My daughter is 5 months old and she had these episodes 6 times. 3 times were when she was put up in the air and 3 times were when we were just walking down the hallway. Now we just tell people that hold her that she doesnt like being put in the air and when we walk her down the hallway we hold her chest against ours so that she feels safe walking down the hall and it hasnt happened since we stopped those 2 things. I am relieved to know that she is just holding her breath bc it was so scary to see your kid frozen, red and not breathing. The thing I have to remember is...she is not blue, she is not limp and she is holding her breath...not not breathing. I hope this helps someone out there bc I was so scared of what I would find on the internet that I didnt want to see. As a new mom this whole thing caused a lot of worry when it all first happened bc no one I knew had a child that did this. (this was also something I was very careful about who I told bc I didnt need some idiotic horror story that would float through my head constantly) I guess our babies are just sensitive special little things
    jheath4 responded:
    My 10 week old just had two episodes exactly like this the last couple days. Closed fists in the air, held breath, red face, and tight tummy. Both times we were walking down the stairs and I was holding her facing out. She cried like she was scared afterwards. I hope it's just a startle reflex. Should I talk to my pediatrician?
    Motherly_Lover2012 responded:
    Hey i am a parent who has faced the same exact thing with my son. He is now a year old. At the age of nine months my son was learning to walk and he fell on the hard floor hitting the back of his head. he cried a little then all of a sudden i here nothing he stopped crying and layed out and his whole body stiffing and his fist was tight and it was as if he was a stiff board. he stopped breathing......this was a scary moment for me. And as of today he still have these episodes. I took him to his doctor they made him an appointment to have an EKG did and there was no signs of seizures. But he still continues to do this. Last Sunday my husband was sitting on the couch and our one year old son was walking and his head hit my husband knee my son started to cry and he started to loose his breath and stiffed his whole body and stopped breathing then he came back to normal after 10 to 15 seconds. That time i really panic and all i could do was mouth to mouth and give him air.. After i did that he started back crying. Then later fell asleep. If there is someone out here in this world can help my son and to know why are these episodes are happening i really would like to find out and get the answers i need. Please this is very frighting for me and his younger siblings.
    Roy Benaroch, MD replied to Motherly_Lover2012's response:
    There are two separate things being discussed on this thread, and they're completely different.

    1 - young babies who spontaneously, out of nowhere, seem to hold their breath for a few moments and get a red face. Then they resume normal activity. This is what the original post described, and what Dr. Parker responded to. I suppose it could be a moment of reflux, or passing gas or just a weird feeling that goes by. It does not sound like anything pathologic or worrisome. if your little baby is doing this and you're worried, talk to your pediatrician.

    2 - completely different are several people talking about "Breath Holding Spells". These are common, and a very specific thing: toddlers and young children (NOT babies) who get upset/angry/scared, usually during times of pain or frustration. Then they suddenly stop breathing and turn either pale or blue-ish, and lose consciousness. These episodes can be very scary, but the children quickly recover without any intervention. Afterwards they may cry a little while, and then they're fine. These episodes often run in families, and sometimes run in same families where adults have ordinary fainting spells. Children outgrow these by the time they're 5. More information about these:

    Of course, if you're worried, you ought to talk with your child's doctor.

    Helpful Tips

    Not as easy as some make it out by simply being the boss.
    Feeding therapy ideas and resources ... The phrase " oral aversion " describes the avoidance or fear of eating, drinking, or accepting ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Expert Blog

    Child Health 411 - Ari Brown, MD

    Educated parents are empowered parents! Get clear answers to your parenting questions from Dr. Ari Brown...Read More

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.