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HomeAnswersPediatricsoxygen therapyIs it safe to stop feeding and start oxygen support in my baby who had breathing difficulty?

Baby on oxygen for breathing issues, feeding stopped. Right?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At February 13, 2019
Reviewed AtJune 11, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

My baby is a preterm boy. His actual age is 7.5 months and corrected age is 4.5 months. Birth weight was 34.29 oz and his current weight is 12.35 lbs, drinking man-pro around 3.33 oz, 5 to 6 times a day. Since the last 10 days, he has also started on semisolid food. He had breathing difficulty because of a cough. We got him early in the morning in the emergency for complaints of a heavy cough. He was nebulized but there was a wheezing sound due to which they said he would need a PICU for monitoring. Currently, he is admitted in PICU. His saturation levels were fine but the doctor started him on oxygen with mask support. He was drinking milk well but they stopped his feeds as well and started IV liquid which does not suffice his hunger.

They did all the reports- blood and chest X-ray and everything was normal. His heart rate was at the higher rate of 150 to 180. The first thing they did was that they stopped the feed. He cried and cried for more than half a day wanting food in which he lost a big amount of energy. Until the morning, I got him to PICU. He was playful but during the second half of the PICU admission day he was looking very tired. The wheezing had increased. At night they took a call to put him on HFNC due to increased wheezing. He was restless the whole night and till early morning his heart rate was 185 to 201 BPM. Now, it has come down to 150 to 165 but he is still on HFNC and feeds have not started yet.

My concerns are as follows. He was given oxygen support at the initial stage as required when he was able to breathe and maintain the saturation levels without it. Was it necessary to stop his feeds as that has taken away all his energy and he is distressed with hunger?

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern. Your concern is whether oxygen was necessary. Whenever the baby is having wheezing and respiratory distress, giving Oxygen is necessary to avoid impending ventilation-perfusion mismatch. It is considered as supportive therapy even though the monitor might be showing 100 % saturation.

Was it necessary to stop the feed? Only treating doctor can decide. Whenever there is respiratory distress, children have a high risk of aspiration, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia which is bad. But, whenever the baby is vitally stable, the baby can be started on the feed through a tube (RT feed). Treating doctor is best to decide about it. Still, if you have concerns. You are free to ask treating doctor. It is your right.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Bhaisara Baraturam Bhagrati
Dr. Bhaisara Baraturam Bhagrati

Pediatrics

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