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Why do children start gasping while drinking milk?

Q: My son who is two months old while crying holds back his breath for almost 10-15 seconds which we find peculiar. His face at such time becomes blue in colour. We get scared because of this. Also, while drinking milk, we have noticed occasionally that the milk sucked by him gets caught in his throat and he starts gasping for breath. We have to turn him on his back and pat his back before he recovers. Can you please clarify the reasons for the above reactions?

A:Your son seems to be having Gastroesophageal reflux, which means the valve between the food pipe (oesophagus) and the stomach is not functioning effectively which results in the contents of the stomach to regurgitate in the food pipe which also comes to the throat and may go into the wind pipe. This may result in sudden choking or stoppage of breathing and baby may become blue during this episode. Also, we must make other evaluations to rule out certain other causes of a similar presentation. Please see your paediatrician or a paediatric gastroenterologist to confirm this diagnosis so that appropriate action can be taken. This condition should not be taken likely as sometimes it may have serious repercussions.

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