Laryngomalacia

Cameron is just shy of 6 weeks old now! Phew! Time is just flying right on by. My house has never been noisier, messier, and happier! In fact, I think there’s a load of laundry waiting to be swapped – and about 3 loads waiting to get put away.

Anyway… around 4 weeks old the cranial sacral/Chiro we had been seeing mentioned Cameron’s breathing and how noisy he was. She asked if this was normal and frequent. She encouraged me to have it evaluated. I took her advice and Cameron was seen just 2 days later by an ENT. I walked in with a piece of paper with a word I couldn’t pronounce and felt a little weird being there. I kinda thought his squeaks and snoring and noisy breathing was cute. I kinda thought his pausing in breathing was normal. And I knew I had an over supply and a forceful let down- but homeboy chokes and coughs and sputters quite often. But, I was working with lactation. We were just getting into a good routine.

Sure enough, after a scope (up his nose and down his throat) they confirmed what that little piece of paper said:

“Laryngomalacia”

Apparently this is insanely common. It’s not life threatening unless it’s severe. Cameron’s condition is mild, and we praise God for that because even though it’s mild, we have difficulties. What is this? Well, in plain terms, it’s a floppy airway. Some of the tissue near the voice box is collapsing causing an obstruction and also a squeaky musical sound upon breathing in, called a “stridor”.

For Cameron it is worse at night, while nursing or when he’s very tired. It is also aggravated with crying. He also has very infrequent apnea, retractions in the throat area, possibly some silent reflux, frequent choking/coughing and labored breathing. Because of the obstruction he is at risk of aspirating so we saw a feeding therapist for an evaluation, and thankfully what we are doing to avoid aspirating is enough to avoid therapy for now. Because babies with laryngomalacia have a harder time with steady breathing- especially with the suck, swallow, breathe pattern while nursing- they can burn a lot of calories, sometimes more than they are consuming. Thankfully, homeboy is gaining insanely well still. So for us, our case is very mild. It does “peak” around 4-6 months, so things *could* get worse but I’m believing it won’t. If things get worse and take a turn then there are some therapies we could utilize – surgical options being the very last option.

The ENT suggested most babies grow out of it by age 2-3. Some cases even resolve around 12-18 months. However, because it’s an obstruction of the airway we are instructed to keep him upright as often as possible, especially while sleeping and after feeding, to be extra careful to avoid viruses and closely monitor his breathing for constant retractions, more frequent apnea, aspiration, weight loss or falling off his growth curve, and an increase in feeding difficulties including the choking and coughing.

I’m super thankful to know this is a common issue, but also one I never even knew of. I’m also very thankful it is mild. It’s already a bit stressful, I have compassion for those who’s cases are more severe. There is nothing worse than watching your child struggle to breathe – even if it’s occasional. To be proactive I have asked my brother in law (an insanely knowledgeable fire fighter) to teach me CPR and some basic first aid for infants and children. I should probably already know, and I have some tools for emergencies, but I need more knowledge.

Again, I’m very thankful! He’s really the sweetest and I feel very protective of him. I’m believing that we will see success, healing, and things won’t get worse, only better from here on out!

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