Infant stridor: why does my baby make such a noise while breathing?

What is infant stridor?
Recognizable by its typical wheeze, infant stridor can be overwhelming to parents. If it is benign in most cases, it can nevertheless signify a more serious pathology.
Does your baby breathe heavily and emit an unusual and surprising inspiratory whistle? Have you heard of infant stridor? We give you a point!

What is infant stridor?

Infantile stridor refers to an atypical and abnormal, sometimes strident inspiratory wheeze emitted by a baby. Most often, it is a benign pathology. Why and for what reasons does a baby whistle in this way? "When we breathe, the air passes through the larynx and then evolves through the trachea. If the larynx structures are too soft above the vocal cords (we speak of laryngomalacia), which is often the case in simple stridor, they will shrink at the time of inspiration, thus causing this particular whistling of the stridor. We speak of simple stridor in this mild and generally very well tolerated case, which accounts for approximately 80% of cases. The rest of the stridors correspond to more complicated issues, which must be taken seriously: they can be the symptom of an angioma, a malformation syndrome or even a tumour and cause severe respiratory discomfort.

The appearance of stridor: a key element

In the case of simple stridor, the pathology affects babies in the first days of their life. "The noise can intensify during the first four months, explains the paediatrician, to stabilize and finally disappear around 18 months. This is quite a normal process. "What should alert: when the stridor appears after the age of one month, so in a delayed way. "In this case, it is necessary to consult without delay," she adds. It is indeed important to find the cause of this stridor, to avoid, for example, respiratory failure, as is the case with an angioma, which can overgrow and cause breathing difficulty".

Monitoring stridor and its treatments

There is no particular treatment in the case of laryngomalacia, therefore simple stridor. "If the child is developing normally and the stridor is not a problem for him, there is no problem, the stridor will normally disappear on its own over time . » An ENT consultation allows, first of all, to verify that it is indeed a simple laryngomalacia. A follow-up by the paediatrician is then sufficient. "Nevertheless, in some babies, explains laringomalacia can favor the pediatrician , the occurrence of esophageal reflux: in this case, certain measures can be adopted such as taking suitable milk or raising the bed30 degrees.
For more complex cases of stridor, "sometimes it is necessary to investigate further to find another cause for the stridor. General anaesthesia may then be requested. Specialized pediatric ENT care is necessary, depending on the results and symptoms. "In the event of a malformation syndrome, for example, you may also sometimes need respiratory technical assistance," concludes the paediatrician.