Pediatrics Community
3.13k Members
Avatar universal

Abnormal Breathing Patterns in Toddler

Our daughter will be 3 at the end of July, and we've recently noticed some strange behavior with her breathing.  It usually occurs when she is at rest (or at least that's when we notice it), i.e. being read to, eating, playing with toys while stationary and not doing a lot of talking, or when while we're laying down with her before bed, etc.  What she seems to do with EVERY breath is inhale and then hold it anywhere from 3 to 8 seconds before she exhales (usually through her nose).  I want to reiterate that when this occurs, it is literally with every breath, not just one here or there.  It doesn't ALWAYS happen when she's in a state of rest, but it seems more common than not.  When she is exerting herself at play or talking a lot, her breathing is normal.  Also, when she is asleep, she is breathing normally as well.  I'm going to check on her again in the middle of the night tonight to make sure, but this has been our experience when waking her from naptime sleep.  

Any thoughts as to what the problem could be?  Is she subconsciously experimenting with her breathing?  
5 Responses
Avatar universal
My daughter does the same exact thing.  She will be 4 in December and I asked her doctor about it and he asked if she was doing while she slept.  I didn't notice it at the time so I said no.  Now I noticed that a few times that I've gone in to check on her she DOES do it in her sleep!!  Although it is when she turns or changes position.  Did you ever find out what it is?  Please keep me posted.

question: while your child sleeps does she increase her rate of breathing, then decrease, and then stop breathing in a cycle? look up Cheyne- Stokes respirations  because it sounds similar. It happens during sleep.
Avatar universal
My four year old does the same exact thing, when lying down.  And it worries me that its a sign of something neurological.  But he has normal breathing pattern during sleep, and waking hours.  Its only when he rests lying down and watching tv, in the morning.  He has done this for quite some time. But it does relieve me that there are others out there with the same problem/concern.  Maybe this is something, he'll just out grow.
Avatar universal
Hey ,

My son who is 3 and half , does the same thing since he was two.

I showed him to the docs, even recorded the videos and showed to his paed. The dr said it was his habbit , and nothing to worry about ,

I was still worried , and did a lot of research on this, Could not find anything on it till today, when i found ur post.

Being a Bio student in my high school , I had a feeling that this is something to do with a upper resp system, and not the lower, and it felt to me the way he exhales, has a pressure kind of noise , ie he inhales and keeps the air in lungs , but the air can not come out , ie something is blockingit , and then it comes out with a pressure .

The only thing which could do this chronically was a enlarged adenoids, and therefore i took him to an ent , to see his adenoids with a camera in his nose.

And yes his adenoids were so enlarged , that the doc recommended taking them out .

Shugama, i would say , my son does the 100% same as described by you .But your kids issues may be caused by something other than what i just expalined.
But i would recommend you to show ur kid to a ENT , and get a trans nasal endoscopy (TNE), so that the adenoids could be ruled out.Please post the results of the TNE here.

I would appreciate if all others , who posted above could see a ENT , and get a TNE  and post whether the adenoids are enlarged or not. This would just help us with my theory.

What i suggested above is my interpretation , and i am not a medical doctor, and its not medical advice.
Avatar universal
So in the last week, my daughter who will be there in march has been breathing very strange.I only seem to hear it when we are relaxing at night. It almost seems like she is doing it on purpose...she breaths in just fine, but when she is exhaling she makes it pause coming out...it sounds like..."bum bum bum" then an inhale, then "bum bum bum"every time she exhales...I'm reply considering taking her to the doctors.I don't believe she does it while sleeping. Anyone have any suggestions?
535822 tn?1443980380
Well I agree that any breathing that seems out of the ordinary should be checked out, has she any symptoms, cough, or sore throat ?
Have an Answer?
Top Children's Health Answerers
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
We answer your top questions about the flu vaccine.
Learn which over-the-counter medicines are safe for you and your baby
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
Healing home remedies for common ailments