Anything and everything worries you in the first few weeks of having a Baby. And if you see your baby choking, you press the panic button. You might get anxious that something is wrong with her. But what you need know is that by staying calm you can help your baby through the condition. But firstly, what causes choking in babies? Here’s more on it:
Choking in newborns:
- Babies have small airways which can easily get obstructed. At the time of birth, your baby is squashed as it makes its way through the birth canal. Much of the fluid gets compressed inside. Right after birth, a healthcare professional would remove the fluid through suction. However, in some babies, it remains in the lungs.
- When the baby coughs, the fluid comes up and usually collects in the throat. When the baby tries to gulp what it has coughed, she tends to choke or gag.
- Choking is more common in babies born through a cesarean section or through speedy labor. This is because your baby’s chest would not be compressed enough to let the fluid out during labor.
- This apart, babies take time to learn to chew and swallow food. Also, babies do not know how to cough forcefully to clear an obstruction in the airway. Babies could inhale tiny objects, such as fur from stuffed toys, or tiny parts, or other dust particles.
- In a few cases, choking can occur due to a health condition such as swallowing disorders, neuromuscular disorders, developmental delays or traumatic brain injury.
- Your baby might also choke during feeds. It could be because of forceful flow of formula or breast milk. If your baby is bottle-fed, make sure that you choose a bottle with a nipple that flows slowly. Give breaks in between the feeds to allow it to breathe. While breastfeeding, make sure that you are not obstructing her ability to breathe.
Helping your choking baby:
If you see your baby gagging or choking, hold her in a way that her tummy is pressed against your forearm and turn her head sideways to let the mucous come out rather than collect at the back of her throat.
What to do in case your baby chokes:
- Hold your baby in a way that it is facing down on your forearm. Your forearm should be positioned on your thigh.
- Then thump your baby firmly yet gently in the center of the back using the lower part of your hand. It helps to thrust out the blocking object.
- The alternative method is to hold your infant in a way that it is facing up on your forearm with its head lower than the body. In this case, you might want to use two fingers placed at the middle of the infant’s breastbone and give five quick chest compressions. If breathing doesn’t resume, repeat the back chest thrusts or back blows.
- Make the baby face down and press her with your thumbs.
- If neither works, then seek an emergency medical help.
- You might want to try cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR or choking first aid to help the infant resume breathing.
How to prevent infant choking:
- Keep hazardous objects out of children’s reach.
- Make sure you are giving your child the right toys. Look for age restrictions and read the guidelines when you buy toys.
- Introduce solid foods to your baby at the right time. Letting your baby eat solid foods too early in her life might only harm her. Your baby must be at least four months old before it can start eating pureed solid foods.
- Don’t give your baby food chunks such as fruit, vegetable, cheese or meat chunks or fruits such as grapes. Also avoid hard foods such as nuts, popcorns, seeds and hard candies. You might also want to avoid allergic foods like peanuts. Chewing gums and marshmallows should also be out of reach of your child.
- Keep stuff such as latex balloons, marbles, tiny balls, cotton, batteries, dice, pen caps, etc. out of your baby’s reach.
- Always supervise your child.
Have any tips to avoid or address choking in babies? Let us know.
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