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Breath Holding

At times Jimmy may get so upset and cry so hard that he stops breathing for half a minute. When this happens, he’ll look pale or even blue around the mouth and occasionally go limp . . .before he takes a deep breath and starts crying again. The first time you witness such an episode you may feel like crying too. Rest assured, when his oxygen gets low enough, he’ll breathe again.

As dramatic as these spells look, they are not harmful, either in the short or long term. They can happen normally as early as eight months of age, are most common in toddlers, and are not seen after age five. You can actually reinforce these episodes by overreacting; Jimmy will pick up on the commotion or your attempts to distract him and later reproduce the fit to reproduce the attention he received. In other words, if you try too hard to avert these breathless fits, you’ll see more of them.