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Milk enters the infant's lungs

The problem of milk entering the lung of a baby is one of the common problems among children, but what is the cause of it? How is it treated? All this and more, we will learn about it in the following article.

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Milk may enter the infant's lungs during or after breastfeeding. Due to the milk entering the trachea directly or due to the regurgitation of milk from the stomach. In the following article, we will learn more about the problem of milk entering the infant's lungs.

Milk entering the infant's lungs: causes

There are many factors that may increase the likelihood that milk will enter the infant's lungs, such as:

  • The presence of anatomical problems such as cleft palate or esophagus problems.
  • Developmental problems, such as having a baby prematurely or suffering from diseases that impede normal growth, such as Down syndrome.
  • Dysfunction of the nervous system such as cerebral palsy or brain damage.
  • Difficulty swallowing, such as injury to the cranial nerves responsible for swallowing.
  • Neuromuscular diseases such as achalasia or musculoskeletal atrophy.
  • The presence of other diseases such as gastroesophageal reflux disease or chronic heart disease.
  • The infant has undergone some operations such as tracheostomy or nasogastric tube insertion.

Milk entering the infant's lungs: symptoms


Most cases of milk entering the lung are without symptoms, but if they do appear, they usually start within two hours of entering the milk into the infant's lung, and among these symptoms we mention:

  • A weakness in the baby's absorption of milk.
  • Coughing or choking while breastfeeding.
  • An increase in the infant’s normal breathing rate during breastfeeding.
  • A slight rise in the child's temperature after feeding.
  • Vomiting during choking.
  • Baby reflux.
  • Difficulty gaining weight in an infant.
  • Excessive drooling of a baby.
  • The emergence of sounds when breathing, such as wheezing with hoarseness.
  • Slow heart rate and the appearance of cyanosis.
  • Frequent chest infections and the presence of sputum containing pus.
  • The baby suffers from hiccups.

Milk entering the infant's lungs: diagnosis


The entry of milk into the infant's lung is diagnosed by doing some or all of the following tests:

1. Clinical examination


In a clinical examination, the infant's medical history, symptoms, and times they appear are asked about, and often a speech-language pathologist does this examination.

2. Endoscopy


The otolaryngologist uses a bronchoscopy to examine the presence of any anatomical problems in the bronchi or signs of a problem with milk entering the lung, and the evaluation of the swallowing process may be resorted to through the use of optical fibers and endoscopy.

3. Diagnostic radiology


Computed tomography or x-rays can be used to diagnose the problem of milk entering the lung. X-rays may be taken with the ingestion of barium, which helps the doctor monitor the infant's swallowing process while observing the anatomy of the mouth and pharynx.

Milk entering the infant's lungs: treatment


The problem of milk entering the infant's lung is successfully treated through the cooperation of otolaryngologists, speech and speech therapists, pulmonologists and gastroenterologists, and the appropriate treatment is chosen depending on the severity and cause of the condition.

Among the methods of treating the entry of milk into the lung of a baby, we mention:

  • Follow proper positions during feeding the child and between meals.
  • Increase the density of milk if possible.
  • Adjusting the feeding time of the infant, as the number of feedings should be increased and the amount reduced each time.
  • The use of some medications to treat the causes of milk entering the lung, such as the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux.
  • Resorting to surgery to treat some causes of milk entering the lung, such as repairing cleft palate or gastroesophageal reflux.

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