Bronchiolitis in Babies

Do you know about bronchiolitis? I didn’t. But if it wasn’t for seeing the ‘More Than a Cold’ campaign that Bliss, (the premature babies charity) shared on their Facebook page, then Joshua wouldn’t be here now.

I had planned to write this blog so more people are aware of the signs and symptoms, and I write from a hospital bed on the Panda ward at a hospital in Manchester, where Oliver is currently sleeping in a barred cot next to me. He is suffering from bronchiolitis and only because I persisted with the doctors and I knew of the signs and symptoms, he is getting help early on.

Having multiple children is always a worry when they get sick in case the others catch it, or if they all get sick at the same time. I’ve been so vigilant about everything, especially now it’s cold and flu season, but whatever you do, children tend to just catch colds. All three have been snotty and coughing, but with Oliver I knew his cold seemed different. With what we went through with Joshua at the start of the year, I am even more aware of what to look out for, but also how fast things can progress.

Back in January, at just 4 weeks old Joshua stopped breathing.

As I held him, I noticed his breathing seemed different and his neck was really tugging in.

Watching his neck for 10 seconds reminded me of a post I had seen while I was still pregnant and for some reason two main points stuck in my mind.

Are they tugging at the throat?

Are they sucking in their abdomen under their ribs?

That’s all I remember and I knew it was bad. I kept second guessing myself. I rang 111. They sent an ambulance and I travelled to hospital with Joshua on my lap, wrapped in a blanket. Their dad stayed behind with Mila and Oliver, and their nan also looked after them so he could join us at the hospital later on.

The doctor said if we had put him to bed then he would have stopped breathing for longer. We are so lucky we spotted this. It’s so easy to think, “we will see how they are in the morning”, but if I had done that, then he wouldn’t have been here in the morning.

He was given medicine and oxygen to help his little body and then we got transferred to a different hospital, where he stayed for 3 days. We were lucky, as I know of so many other babies who have to stay for longer.

I joined up with the ‘More Than a Cold’ campaign this year, to share my story. In the hope I could help at least one person. Please check out the video I made with them and keep in mind the signs.

Remember a little baby can’t cough.

Joshua didn’t.

But then Oliver caught it in the early stages in June, and he had a cough – and now, he has had an overnight on the PANDA unit with what started as a terrible cough and runny nose.

You know your baby better than anyone. Trust your instincts.

I went to the doctor as soon as he started with a terrible chesty cough. I was told he was ok(!) and that the hospital outreach nurses will come to my house to check on him. They didn’t – just said if he got worse to give them a call. He got worse. They said go back to the doctors as there is nothing we can do so there is no point in coming(!) I wish I had just gone to hospital, but at that moment I was on my own with my triplets – I couldn’t exactly get to a hospital. The next day we were back at the doctors. In the waiting room Oliver started going limp and his eyes started rolling into the back of his head. I kept trying to keep him awake, but it was so hard! He was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and rushed to the hospital.

How he presented was very different to Joshua, but both resulted in bronchiolitis.

  • Taking less then half the amount of feed – he had taken 6ml of milk all day
  • Less wet nappies, if any
  • High fever – came on suddenly
  • Fast and wheezy breathing
  • Dry cough – which just sounds awful and painful
  • Being sick

As I knew to look out for the neck and abdomen, I was always checking that, however that only happened when he got really ill. It started with his abdomen sucking in a little bit, and then more and more, as he was struggling to breathe. Then when we were in hospital, he started tugging at the neck.

We could have been at home when that happened and just left it thinking it’s just a cold and it will run its course. But this is more than a cold.

For more information, check out the ‘More Than a Cold’ campaign. Main thing is to trust your instincts. You’re not being stupid or wasting anyone’s time to get your baby checked. You know what your baby is like so you know when there is a difference.

4 thoughts on “Bronchiolitis in Babies”

  1. Thanks for sharing this so important for people to be aware. My Violet died from a rare bronchiole disease but the symptoms are similar to bronchitis and I’m pleased I called a doctor out to her because she seemed weaker than normal. We were rushed by ambulance to hospital unfortunately she never returned home. 😔💜


    1. This is heartbreaking to read. I’m glad you got her seen as it’s so easy to ignore your instincts. People don’t realise how colds affect little babies and how it can develop into something so terrible. You’re an amazing woman and if I could, I’d give you a hug xxx


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