Choking is a common cause of injury and death in young children, primarily because their small airways are easily obstructed. It takes time for babies to master the ability to chew and swallow food, and babies might not be able to cough forcefully enough to dislodge an airway obstruction.
How to keep your baby safe
Infant choking is scary, but it’s largely preventable. Understand why babies are so vulnerable to choking — and what you can do to prevent infant choking.
- Properly time for the introduction of solid foods -Wait until your baby is at least 4 months old to introduce pureed solid foods.
- Don’t offer high-risk foods– Don’t give babies or young children hot dogs, chunks of meat or cheese, grapes, raw vegetables, or fruit chunks, unless they’re cut up into small pieces. Don’t give babies or young children hard foods, such as seeds, nuts, popcorn and hard candy that can’t be changed to make them safe options.
- Supervise mealtime– Don’t allow your child to throw food in the air and catch it in his or her mouth or stuff large amounts of food in his or her mouth.
- Carefully evaluate your child’s toys– Don’t allow your baby or toddler to play with small balls, marbles, toys that contain small parts or toys meant for older children.
- Keep hazardous objects out of reach-Like coins, button batteries, dice and pen caps.
Signs of Infant Choking
- Unable to cry or vocalize
- Cyanosis or bluish colored skin
- Gasping for air
- Weak ineffective coughing
- High pitched breathing noises like wheezing
Steps to follow when your baby is choking
- Kneel or sit with the infant in your lap.
- Remove clothing from infant’s chest.
- Hold the infant face down on your forearm, which is resting on your lap or thigh to support the infant.
- Deliver up to 5 back slaps forcefully between the infant’s shoulder blades, using the heel of your hand. Deliver each slap with sufficient force to dislodge the foreign body.
- After this, place your free hand on the infant’s back, supporting the back of infants head with your palm and turn the infant as a unit.
- Hold the infant face up, with the forearm resting on your thigh .Keep the infant’s head lower than the trunk.
- Provide up to 5 quick downward chest thrusts in the middle of the chest at the rate of 1 per second.
- Repeat the sequence of up to 5 back slaps and upto 5 chest thrusts until object is removed.
- If the infant becomes unresponsive, stop giving back slaps and begin CPR, starting with chest compressions.
To be prepared in case of an emergency take a class on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and choking first aid for children. Encourage everyone who cares for your child to do the same.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Causes and Prevention
Sudden infant death syndrome is when a baby is younger than 1 year old dies suddenly for no reason .SIDS is sometimes called crib death. It happens when a baby is sleeping, usually between midnight and 6 AM .Almost all babies who die from SIDS are younger than 6 months old.
Causes of SIDS
SIDS is more likely to happen when a baby:
- Sleeps on stomach
- Sleeps on a soft surface or with pillows, blankets or stuffed animals in the bed.
- Sleeps in bed, or on a sofa, with an adult or another child.
- Is too warm or wears too many clothes when sleeping
- Is born to a mother who smokes
- Is born to a mother who is younger than 20 years old or who did not get medical care during pregnancy
- Is born too early or weighs less than normal at birth
Can SIDS be prevented?
No. SIDS can’t be prevented and there is no test that can tell if it is going to happen. But there are things that parents can do to lower the chance that it will happen .To lower the chance of SIDS, do the following:
- Put your baby on his or her back to sleep.
- Put your baby to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet in your bedroom. If you want your baby to sleep near you, use a bassinet that attaches to your bed. Do not have your baby sleep in your bed with you.
- Have your baby sleep on a firm surface and not on a cushion, waterbed, sofa or another soft surface.
- Remove pillows, stuffed animals and other soft objects from the sleeping area. Do not use bumper pads in the crib.
- Do not cover your baby’s head when he or she is sleeping.
- Do not dress your baby in too many clothes or keep the room too warm when he or she is sleeping.
- Stop smoking and do not let anyone smoke in the house or car.
- Breastfeed your baby.
Dr. Binoy Nellisery
Paediatrics & Neonatology
Aster Hospital Mankhool
Your Maternity leaves are over, joining work back and worried most about the fact that you won’t be able to breastfeed your baby regularly?
Do not worry! We have a few tips that will help you continue to breastfeed your baby and be the work diva that you are.
Express and store
Pumping is easier than it sounds or looks. As long as you have a good pump around, you can conveniently pump either at home or at work and store the milk for later use. Try and opt for an electric pump rather than a manual one. Electric pumps are more efficient and take less time for getting the required quantity.
Always have a supply of sterilized bottles and keep everything ready before you sit down to pump. Some pumping machines come with their own cleaning kits however if you do not have one, keep a fresh supply of wipes ready to clean up after pumping. Once you have expressed, store the milk in favorable conditions for later use. You can also freeze the milk so that it will last longer.
Have the baby close to your workplace
If this option is available for you, take your baby to work or work from a place that is closer to your home. In this way, you can take frequent nursing breaks and feed the baby as required. Some workplaces are supportive in terms of allotting space for the baby and nanny so that you can have the baby close at all times.
In case having the baby at your workplace is not possible you can look for a day care centre close to your work area and run to it, if possible, wherever it is the time to feed.
Time the feeds
You may want to time your feeds so that you feed the baby just before leaving home and feed the baby again as soon as you are back. The remaining feeds during work time can be given as formula milk or you can have the expressed milk shared with daycare if they can keep it in right conditions and can feed the baby at right intervals.
Please remember that if you stop feeding or expressing, the milk formation will slowly reduce and you will be forced to opt for formula milk. So try to exclusively breastfeed for as long as you can so that both you and the baby reap the benefits of it!
Dr. Sejal Devendra Surti
Specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the most beneficial way of feeding your baby. It provides all the essential nutrients your baby needs for normal growth, development and protection from diseases. It is best for the baby’s and the mother’s health.
Benefits for the baby:
- Breast milk is high in nutrients and meets all the baby’s nutritional needs for the first six months.
- It helps protect babies from tummy upsets, ear and chest infections
- It helps your baby to fight infection and develop good bacteria in her digestive system. Baby gets all the nutrition they need from your milk to grow well, while also being protected from harmful bacteria.
- Breast milk changes with time so as to meet your baby’s changing nutritional, immunological and developmental needs.
- Breastfeeding your baby provides an emotional contact with your baby. Through breastfeeding you give a great start to your baby!
- Breastfeeding lowers the risk of your baby being obese or overweight thus reducing the risk of developing medical conditions such as diabetes.
- It is easier for your baby to digest breast milk
- Needs no preparation and its free!!!
Benefits for the mother:
- Breastfeeding helps to accelerate weight loss and return to the pre-pregnancy weight.
- It helps to reduce bleeding after birth and helps your uterus to return to its pre-pregnant state
- Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of pre-menopausal breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
- Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Tips to breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding does not come naturally to all mothers. Ask for guidance when required.
- Let your baby decide when to slide off. Some babies like to pause between feeds and afterwards you can switch to the other breast
- Latching is a very important part of feeding. Your baby needs to latch on well to feed effectively and prevent you from getting sore.
- Do not be worried about running out of milk. The more your baby suckles and feeds, the more milk you produce
- A common question most first time mothers have is ‘is my baby getting enough milk’?
The best sign of a well-fed baby is one who is satisfied after a feed, has plenty of wet nappies and is growing well.
Dr. Sejal Devendra Surti
Specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecology