Friday, May 23, 2008

First sniffles

Poor JJ got his first case of the sniffles today. And being the obligatory over-protective first time parents that we are, we rushed him to the doctor. After sitting in the waiting room for 1.5 hours (ridiculous, I felt, since we had an appointment), we finally got to see our pediatrician, Dr. Hidalgo. He was great as usual - took us very seriously and checked the little guy over thoroughly. He couldn't find any indication of anything seriously wrong - just a very stuffy nose (which did not include his chest) and a low grade fever. He was very glad we brought JJ in though because it showed we were "paying attention". They weighed him while there and he was 12lbs 6oz. Way to go JJ!

Now the reason I was soooo concerned about a stuffy nose, is that I had read that infants are "obligate nose breathers"- a fancy way of saying they can't breath through their mouths. This is by design so they can breathe and swallow at the same time without aspirating milk into their lungs. Medically this is explained as follows:
"Infants are obligate nose breathers due to the posterior soft palate covering the oropharynx and the neonate's tongue in close proximity with the hard and soft palate."
So a stuffy nose can be really bad. But when do they out grow this condition and start being able to mouth breath and snore like the rest of us? Good question! I have found bits and pieces that say anywhere from 4-6 weeks to 4-5 months! So I guess, like so many other baby oddities, "it depends"...
Also, it's not like you can hand them a tissue and say blow. To clear a baby's nose, you use a suction bulb to vacuum it out. If you think that sounds a little gross and a lot distressing, you'd be right! It kinda feels like you're in danger of sucking out his little brain...but you gotta do what you gotta do. And a little freak out for mommy is better than no breathing by baby any day.

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