Laryngomalacia (Floppy Trachea)

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Infant diagnosed with Laryngomalacia

Jan 2005

My 6 week old son has just been diagnosed with Laryngomalacia, a floppy trachea. He also has ''stridor'' which is a squeaky breathing sound he makes upon inhaling. To make matters worse, he also has acid reflux, which causes him to cough and spit up after eating. To further exacerbate the situation, his jaw is small and the cartilege is not well formed. Also, he caught a cold so his nasal passages are quite congested too. All of these things cause him to struggle to breathe. I feel so helpless and stressed out, even though the doctors say I am doing everything right to help him breathe better (sleep sitting up, frequent burping, humidifier, suctioning his nose, etc). Evidently the problem resolves itself by age 2, maybe sooner, and there is no treatment. Has anyone been through this? What did you do? How did you help your child during this time? Any good doctors you recommend? Could this problem be secondary to some other medical condition?

A stressed out, no-sleep mama

Our 4 1/2 year old son also had this condition, though in a milder form. It became noticable during and after a cold, but the noisy breathing would disappear for weeks at a time. Around age 1 when he hadn't outgrown it we did see an ENT specialist at Children's Hospital who asked us a whole bunch of questions it was hard to know the answer to (''Is it when he breathes out or in?'', ''Is it more or less apparent when eating?'', etc.) Of course at the time of the appointment he wasn't exhibiting the noisy breathing. However, the ENT said it should disappear on its own around age 2 and it did - completely. This satisfied my inlaws who wanted to know ''what was wrong''.

Before seeing the ENT I spent a few months doing rigorous asthma treatment to his room in case that would help but it made no difference.

Your baby sounds like he is being bothered more by the other things than the stridor (reflux, cold, etc.). It may take until age 2 for the stridor to resolve but maybe these other things will be outgrown much more quickly and you will feel like he can breathe easily? Our son never seemed to have trouble breathing or be bothered by the stridor. I hope that will be the case for yours also.

ps - might earplugs help with your sleep?

Good luck! - Charis