Some babies can take a pause in their breathing for up to 10 seconds or a few seconds longer. Their next few breaths may be fast and shallow. Then they breathe steadily again. This is called periodic breathing. It is a harmless condition in premature and full-term babies.
Your baby may have periodic breathing when he or she is sleeping. It happens less often as your infant grows. The condition should stop by the time your baby is 6 months old.
Periodic breathing is normal and doesn't need treatment.
Follow the doctor's guidance for safe sleeping. For example, place your baby to sleep on his or her back.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter S569 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Periodic Breathing in Infants".
Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
©2006-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.