Choking at night

Lisa - posted on 08/06/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I have a 7 week old who is healthy, happy, and growing well. Our one concern is that she seems to choke a lot! She often chokes while breastfeeding but I'm attributing to my milk let-down, which may be too much for her at times. A bigger concern is that she often wakes herself up with a loud wheezing/gasping sound and throws her arms up in the air, as though her throat had been closing. I know sleep apnea is common in preemies, but have not been able to find anything about this in full-term healthy babies. One thing I've noticed is that she does not do this when she sleeps on her stomach (I know this is not recommended, but I only do this while lying beside her and watching). It's just when on her back that she seems to choke and wake up. Is this normal for newborns?

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Siobhan - posted on 08/07/2009

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Just wanted to add that BFing for the reflux baby (if that is the case for you)is the best thing you can do as Breast milk is a natural antacid.

Siobhan - posted on 08/06/2009

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Sounds alot like reflux, my son had this and did the sort of thing. Check it out with your doc, but all the things that Rebekah suggested will probably make a world of difference. Especially the raised mattress and holding upright for 20 mins after feeding. Also, nursing laying down with them on their side for some reason helps, I also slept with my little one one on the advise on my doctor so i could really hear if and when he was choking...motherly instinct, plus your infant regulates their breathing with your when you sleep with them skin to skin. (example is kangaroo care for preemies..same principle). Then when things died down, I put him in a bassinet beside my bed (elevated head) on his side. Good luck.

Emma - posted on 08/09/2009

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Ive had 4 babies and they have all done the same. Sometimes they just fall into a deep sleep (as we all do!) and forget to breath but the body reminds them hence the big intake of breath and the choking possibly on their saliva. If tiu are worried get him/her checked out but dont panic. I suggest u have the baby sleeping on a elevated bouncy chair or put a few folded blankets under the matress or something similar. Alot of babies do the same. I work in an out of hours surgery and we do get lots of calls from mums reguarding the same/similar and although it can be a sign of something else quite offen isnt so dont worry and enjoy your baby. xx

Bernadette - posted on 08/06/2009

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Heya, I have an 8 week old little girl and she has been doing it since birth too, I broke a nail trying to reach for her in the hospital as I couldn't move from the operation, the midwifes all said it is normal....she still gasps for air as if she stops breathing, other people have told me it is normal too....it is getting less frequent though.

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Rhonda - posted on 08/21/2009

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One of my twins stopped breathing while sleeping in an upright position at 5 months old. I had to breathe for her and await an ambulance as we are in a rural area. They kept her in on telemetry to make sure her heart was alright. They did a barium swallow to check for reflux. All tests were normal. We still to this day have no answer to what happened. We were told it was probably one of those "freak incidents that will never happen again". We were told that perhaps she had a burp but because she had a bit of rice cereal, it may have actually have "choked" her. She is perfect now at 1 year, but we still don't take any unneccessary chances. She gets water between any thickened cereal or other foods, as well as we make sure she burps...either on her own or with our help by patting her back. She stays upright for at least 15-20 minutes after a feed. We did have her mattress elevated and propped with small towels in front and behind her as she was placed on her side, but now she moves around freely and is placed on her back to sleep. The normal body response works best on an infant when placed on their backs(to expel food or fluid), even though it may not seem that way. Sleeping on their tummy isn't recommended as infants until they can move on their own, as they don't breathe in enough oxygen while on their tummies due to close contact of the mattress, and possibly the bumper pads in the cribs(which are also not recommended)--however, my twins did lay on tummies, and do have bumper pads, but we also use the angel care monitor and a video monitor on them so we can hear and see them at all times since our "freak incident". I wish you good luck with whatever you do for your baby. I know what it's like to be worried and have many restless and sleepless nights "wondering". We still thank heaven every day for keeping our babies safe, but helping us to do everything we can possibly do to ensure they stay safe also. The rest is out of our hands.



Good luck to you and your baby.



With warm thoughts,



Rhonda

Oana - posted on 08/09/2009

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When our daughter was 2 weeks old we woke up one night to hear her making choking-like noises. We freaked out and called the emergency services, which arrived in less than 5 min. By the time they arrived she was fully awake, thus fine, so we looked a bit silly in front of the ambulance people. Still, they were very considerate and offered us to take us to the hospital for further tests, which we did considering our daughter had been in intensive care with a chest infection after birth (she was born a week late).

The doctors at the hospital explained to us that little babies respiratory tract is not fully developed (same as other parts of their bodies) and the trachea sometimes closes up, but it's not life threatening, not uncommon.

They recommended to raise one side of the matress to an agle. Also, sleeping on one side helps.

It's normal for a parent to feel scared for her child's safety and I urge you to talk to your doctor, it's the only way you can find out exactly what is happening with your baby.

What I can tell you is that we were checking our baby so many times when she was sleeping, it was insane. How many times did my husband jump out of bed and turn on the lights when she would make a strange noise, how many minutes did we stare at her chest to see if she was breathing and how many times did I poke her in her sleep and even woke her up because of this, because I wasn't sure she was breathing... it's actually funny now looking back but back then in wasn't. Maria is now 5 months and a half and I can tell you she hasn't had problems while sleeping since she was 3 months old.



Take care!

Nicole - posted on 08/06/2009

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My daughter was the same way. She was 2 days early and started choking will she slept when she was 3 days old. Even if I held her up right after she ate it didn't seem to help. I did not breastfeed and I tried every bottle I could get my hands on since she would choke while eating as well. I bought a sleep positioner that looked like a wedge with sides that velcro to change size while your baby grows. You can find it at babiesrus.com. Also I would sit her almost completly up to eat her bottle. I understand how that may be dificult for you, maybe you could trying pumping into a bottle until she gets her choking undercontrol. Then go back to breastfeeding. My daughter used hers until she was about 10 weeks old. She is 7 months old now and never has that problem anymore. I hope this helps.

Candice - posted on 08/06/2009

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i agree that it sounds like reflux. my daughter did the same thing even hours after she went to sleep. she also cried alot and vomited though, but reflux can be worse whn lying down on their backs. try elevating the mattress. also talk to your doctor. if you're afraid of her sleeping on her stomach, get an angel care monitor. my daughter is on zantac for her reflux and never choked again after that. best of luck.

Katarzyna - posted on 08/06/2009

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I dont think its normal but my suggestion is to contact your doctor and explain what is going on.. Maybe they can run some tests or reasure you that everything is ok and that it does happen...Good Luck

Rebekah - posted on 08/06/2009

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My daughter did the exact same thing (and was one day late). By recommendation from her pediatrician we held her upright for 20 minutes before laying her down, put her to sleep on her side, elevated her mattress, and kept her in our bedroom. Not sure what exactly helped, but she's 12 weeks old now and doesn't wake up choking anymore.

A nurse told us we could roll towels to put in front and back of her (to keep her on her side), but I bought a sleep positioner instead-- I personally was terrified that she'd roll over to her stomach. My thought was that if she's already having some breathing/choking problems I certainly didn't want to put her at any greater risk for SIDS by having her on her tummy...

Melissa - posted on 08/06/2009

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actually my doc. recommended his stomach as it outweighed the risk.....once a babies old enough to lift their head and turn it from side to side...

Katarina - posted on 08/06/2009

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That was a little bit graphic. Can't babies turn their heads sideways? That's why experts all agree to put them on their backs.

Melissa - posted on 08/06/2009

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i know....but once your child almost dies cuz they were on their back and vomited...you may want to try the stomach

Katarina - posted on 08/06/2009

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They actually suggest never putting a baby to sleep on their stomaches to help prevent s.i.d.s.

Melissa - posted on 08/06/2009

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i would put her on her stomach..personally my son wouldnt sleep anyother way

Katarina - posted on 08/06/2009

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My son went through this, but he was a preemie. Just by 3 days, lol. He only did it a had full of times but I feel your concern. Go to your doctor. I did. My son is 4 months old now and hasn't done it in a couple of months.

Melissa - posted on 08/06/2009

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I dont know if this is normal or not but if it is a big concern of yours ask her doctor and he/she can tell you if it is or not and what to do about it

Melissa - posted on 08/06/2009

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I dont know if this is normal or not but if it is a big concern of yours ask her doctor and he/she can tell you if it is or not and what to do about it

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