What happens when your baby gets bronchiolitis? – Alex’s first stay in hospital

bronchiolitis

So, last week was pretty eventful. Alex reached a new milestone, on Monday night he had his first ever stay on a children’s ward. After being poorly with a cough and cold for what feels like weeks, a trip to the GP on Monday afternoon saw Alex be immediately referred to the paediatric department of our local hospital. After his initial examination by the doctor it was confirmed he was suffering from bronchiolitis. This is a very common illness in babies, especially in winter, and I thought it may be beneficial to share what symptoms to look out for and what may happen if your baby is admitted to hospital for treatment.

What happens when your baby gets bronchiolitis?

bronchiolitis

What is bronchiolitis?

“Bronchiolitis is a common lower respiratory tract infection that affects babies and young children under two years old. Most cases are mild and clear up without the need for treatment within two to three weeks, although some children have severe symptoms and need hospital treatment.”

Symptoms – There are quite a few symptoms to look out for. Sometimes your baby can have a typical cold and cough that can worsen and develop into bronchiolitis, so if your child is a bit snuffly it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for the following things –

  • Loud and laboured breathing
  • Trouble feeding
  • Lots of coughing
  • Less wet nappies than normal
  • Vomiting after feeds
  • Pauses in breathing

I knew Alex needed to see the doctor as on Monday morning he threw up all of his morning feed (he’s never sick) and then pretty much refused to nurse for the rest of the day. Whenever I did manage to latch him on he would really struggle to breathe and his belly was going up and down really fast, he was breathing like he had just been for a massive run. When we got to the hospital he was also running a temperature of 39c so it was clear he wasn’t very well at all.

What happens if your baby is admitted to hospital – Alex was in hospital from Monday evening until Wednesday afternoon, now a week on he is still recuperating and is still not over the illness. While he was in hospital the nurses and doctors did several things to try and get him better and to a place where he was well enough to come home. This is what happened while Alex was in hospital.

Monday night –

  • Observations taken by nurse
  • Examined by doctor
  • Feed attempted (breathing difficulties witnessed by doctor)
  • Snot/mucus taken from nose for testing
  • Bloods taken to test for infection and cannula left in in case antibiotics were needed by IV
  • Feeding tube inserted into nose and down throat
  • Baby was hooked up to a monitor to keep track of pulse and oxygen levels
  • Small feeds of expressed breast milk were given every 2 hours throughout the night via the feeding tube
  • Baby slept almost the whole time

Tuesday –

  • Breastfeed attempted but breathing still laboured during feeds
  • Feeds continued to be given via the feeding tube
  • As day progressed Alex was able to feed for 5 minutes at the breast and then given the rest via the feeding tube
  • Feeds were spaced out to every 3 hours and baby slept the whole day
  • Cannula was removed as no antibiotics were needed
  • Baby continued to have half breast/half tube feeds for the rest of the day
  • Was just fed via tube during night so he could continue to rest – breastfeeding was hard work
  • Snot was sucked from nose to try and make feeding easier

Wednesday –

  • Day 3 was all about ‘normalizing’ and getting breastfeeding back on track
  • Small frequent and successful feeds at the breast
  • Seen by doctor who agreed feeding tube could be removed
  • Discharged with orders to let baby rest as much as  possible and to give short and frequent feeds until he was ready to go longer

bronchiolitis

Alex was in the hospital for not even 48hours but it felt like weeks. I felt like I was constantly hooked up to the electric breast pump and poor Alex had tubes and wires all over him. It is now almost a week since he went into hospital and although feeding is still not what it was, we are definitely getting there. The horrible cough lingers but the doctor said this is normal, it could be weeks before that makes a move.

Bronchiolitis does not always result in a stay in hospital but in some cases it does, especially if you can’t get your baby to feed and they are really struggling with their breathing. Alex was very lucky he did not need to be given any oxygen and that he didn’t stop breathing at all.

So, if you are worried about your baby this what the NHS suggests to do –

Most cases of bronchiolitis aren’t serious, but you should contact your GP if:

  • you’re worried about your child
  • they are having some difficulty breathing
  • they have taken less than half the amount they usually do during the last two or three feeds, or have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more
  • they have a persistent high temperature
  • they seem very tired or irritable

Your GP will usually be able to diagnose bronchiolitis based on your child’s symptoms and by examining their breathing.

Dial 999 for an ambulance if:

  • your baby is having severe difficulty breathing and is pale or sweaty
  • your baby’s tongue or lips are blue (cyanosis)
  • there are long pauses in your baby’s breathing

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I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been so supportive over on Instagram and to my lovely family and friends for sending all their love. Also, a massive thank you to the lovely doctors and nurses who helped to treat my little man while he was so poorly. Alex is now on the mend but it’s safe to say we are all a little shaken from his trip to the hospital and will be keeping an extra close eye on him while this cough continues to hang around.

If you want more information on bronchiolitis you can find lots of useful details on the NHS website.

Has your baby ever had to stay in hospital? How did you find the whole experience? Maybe your little one has had bronchiolitis too, how long did it take for them to get better? Winter is a rubbish time for little ones with all the nasty germs flying about, I hope we can all make it to Spring without anyone else getting ill!

 

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16 Comments

  1. January 30, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    Poor little man and poor mummy. We had a stay in local children’s hospital with bronchiolitis when Freddie was four weeks old. Was not a nice experience and now over a year on he still needs inhaler when he gets a cold

  2. January 31, 2017 / 8:47 am

    How worrying for you, it is horrid spending a night in hospital with a little one and you will always remember it. for me it was an asthma attack with my second child. It is always scary but the doctors are reassuring and always explained what was happening. What a great list of things to look out for here, a great resource for anyone else fearing they may have a baby with Bronchitis. So pleased to hear Alex is now on the mend. #TwinklyTuesday
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…Foot to Floor And Off We ZoomMy Profile

  3. January 31, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    Oh you poor things! This is awful. My eldest daughter has unfortunately had lots of hospital stays, but it never gets any easier. When she was 4 months old, she was in for 3 weeks. For a week of that, she was nil-by-mouth so I was having to express every 2 hours to imitate her regular feeding pattern and keep my supply up. It was hard work! I hope Alex recovers quickly now. #DreamTeam
    Lucy At Home recently posted…11 Tricks Every Budget Party Planner Should KnowMy Profile

  4. February 2, 2017 / 7:50 am

    Bless you all, it must’ve been awful. You don’t see many posts like this and it’s great to let people know what to look out for. I’m glad to hear you’re home now and hope he feels better soon! #coolmumclub

  5. February 2, 2017 / 8:09 am

    oh bless! I didn’t realise it could be this bad. Our at the time 6 week old had it last Christmas. Out GP sent us straight to the children’s hospital, but after a few tests (in which they attempted to make a 6 week old wee in a pot!! safe to say she pooed in many many pots!) they sent us straight home with instructions to return if there was no improvement. That was scary enough! #coolmumclub

  6. February 2, 2017 / 8:38 am

    Thanks for posting about this as its really useful. So sorry to hear your little man was poorly, our son Oliver got it twice and as he had such a weak immune system it really knocked him for six and until then I didn’t know much about bronchiolitis. Hope he’s bouncing back #coolmumclub
    Fran Back With a Bump recently posted…Month In Review: JanuaryMy Profile

  7. February 2, 2017 / 8:48 am

    This post will help so many people chick. I am so sorry Alex has been so poorly. It must have been horrible for you. I hope he and you are both starting to feel a bit better. lots of love xx coolmumclub

  8. February 2, 2017 / 11:12 am

    Oh my goodness that must have been terrible for you all lovely. So sorry to hear you went through this but what an informative post that will hopefully help so many others. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this xoxo
    Talya recently posted…#Bloggerproblems: The real reason why trolls bullyMy Profile

  9. February 2, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    Great post! My little girl suffered with it last year I thought it was just a bad cold but then one morning her temp raised at 41 and she went really floppy and tired she wouldn’t respond to me so she was blue lighted to our local hospital, it was heart breaking seeing her on a stretcher all hooked up to wires I remember looking at her tiny body and she was struggling to breath and I just felt absolutely useless!! Its hard to know when to see your Gp as the symptoms are so similar to a cold, but please if ANYONE feels like somethings not right then take them, The nurse at the hospital said to us that they would rather have people taking children and nothing much been wrong with them, then to have children seriously ill and not getting there in time.

    #coolmumclub

  10. February 4, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    His little face! You must’ve been so upset. Sounds like you got great care though. All the very best for a total recovery soon x #TheListLinky

  11. February 4, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    Poor litle man. Both Zach and Oscar ended up in hospital with it around 8 weeks old. Zach was in for 2 nights on oxygen and Oscar was in overnight for monitoring. It’s ruddy horrible. The cough does last for ages and Oscar has only just got rid of it as it was brought back by chicken pox! Zach also got it again when he was one! Hope little man is feeling a bit better now. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…Oscar’s first baby sensory classMy Profile

  12. February 5, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    Poor baby and poor you, you must’ve been so worried. I’m so glad he’s home again and on the mend. Well done on writing this with all the symptoms and what actually happens in hospital – something I wouldn’t be aware of. #thelist
    New Mummy Blog recently posted…Moving to a toddler bedMy Profile

  13. February 27, 2017 / 5:52 pm

    What a terrible time. Brought back a lot of horrible memories as this happened with our son except he developed pneumonia and was very sick. They bounce back so quickluly though it is us left shellshocked! Greay post and must been difficult to write. Pam x
    pam lorimer recently posted…The (parenting) OscarsMy Profile

  14. May 14, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    This is such and important post. It brings back memories of when my twins spent two weeks in the children’s ward at 10 days old after catching bronchiolitis.
    It was the worst two weeks of my life and I only wish I had a post like this to read at the time xxx

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