Ready for the Unexpected: What To Do When Your Baby Stops Breathing

Ineh Olisah

Be ready for the unexpected when you become a mum or dad especially with newborns. They come zinging from your blind side and catch you unawares and unprepared.

Take for instance, the occurrence of apnea. This is when babies between 1 months and two years stop breathing for a few seconds while they are asleep. It’s normal: they’re respiratory system is still developing. However, if this seizure lasts longer than say 15 seconds and something is not done quickly, baby could pass on.

READ ALSO:YOUR BABY’S HEALTH: 15 Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore (Part Two)

Here are a few steps to take when your baby stops breathing for too long.

Step #1

Don’t Panic! That’s usually the default reaction that comes to mind but we both know that PANICKING WON’T HELP!

Instead, take a deep breath or two and relax. 

Step #2

Tilt babies head backwards and check if she is breathing. Do so by positioning your cheek over her mouth or observing her chest for rise-and-fall breathing patterns.

The tongue might have fallen back, blocking the airways. Tilting the head backwards pushes the tongue forward there by clearing the airways for breath.

Step #3

If there’s someone with you, find your way to the hospital when your baby stops breathing. If at the ambulance services works where you are, give them a call immediately.

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Step #4

Perform Rescue Breaths. You’ve seen it in the movies. Tilt the baby’s head backward, pinch their nose shut, seal their open mouth with yours and blow. Do this five times and then check for breath. This will supply much needed oxygen to their blood.

Step #5

If baby still fails to breathe, give thirty Chest Compressions. Do this by pressing the middle of her chest inwards with one hand and then release. Repeat thirty times and then check for breath.

This routine is like manually helping baby to breathe.

Step #6

Still no breathing, no ambulance and no doctor? Give the baby two more Rescue Breaths as shown in Step 4, followed by Step #5 (thirty Chest Compressions) and then check for breathing.

Step #7

Well, I hope it doesn’t get to this stage for you but if it does, keep repeating Step #6 until the baby starts breathing until that ambulance/neighbourly doctor arrives. Once again, that is two Rescue Breaths, thirty Chest Compressions, check for breathing.

READ ALSO:YOUR BABY’S HEALTH: 15 Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore (Part One)

It is important that you maintain your cool while doing all this. It might not be easy but don’t let your emotions get in the way. Meanwhile believe that everything is going to be just fine.

 

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