NURSES caring for Toby Woods said they were worried about the behaviour of the tot's mum and hinted she may even have been responsible for harming her baby, the inquest heard.
But the family's health visitor Joanne Birch strongly refuted the claims, insisting she had no concerns about Toby's welfare.
Toby spent several weeks on the children's medical unit at Queen's Park Hospital and at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Pendlebury, where tests showed that he was suffering from gastro-oesophageal reflux, a reflex likened to being sick, where acid is forced up from the stomach.
A test at Royal Manchester revealed that Toby had "refluxed" 208 times in 20 hours.
The inquest heard that research carried out after 1999 showed that acid as a result of reflux could cause the vocal chords to close, making breathing difficult.
But nurses at Queen's Park did not know about the condition at the time and several raised concerns that Toby only seemed to fall ill while alone with his mother.
Paediatric ward sister, Helen Flatley-Smith, said: "Donna was withdrawn and hard to get to know, appeared to be lonely and was not animated in any form.
"She made little attempt to talk to nursing staff. When talking to her I got the impression I was talking to a vacuum. She was in a world of her own.''
She added: "It was a difficult situation to be in where staff have these concerns but there is no physical evidence."
Children's nurse, Carol Ward, said that she was called into Toby's cubicle when he began fitting.
She said: "His face was pale and he was floppy, it was like picking up a rag doll. I was concerned about Toby's breathing. I could see that he was breathing but it was very shallow.
"I put the oxygen mask over his face and he began taking big gasps of breath. My colleague Debbie Brown came in and he started fitting. This lasted about five minutes.
"Initially Donna did not say a word to us. I would describe her behaviour as inappropriate. She asked no questions and initially did not appear upset. She had a vacant, blank stare about her.''
But Joanne Birch, who visited the family on a weekly basis, said that she had not found Donna to be depressed and had carried out a test for post-natal depression, in which she was found to be reacting normally.
She added: "During home visits I always found Donna to be very caring. I had no concerns."
Nurses at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital also expressed concerns about Donna but admitted they had been briefed to pay close attention to Toby and his mother on his arrival.
Ward sister Emma Regan said one possibility the nurses considered was that Toby was not suffering from a medical condition but was being harmed by somebody.