Having babies choking on milk is extremely discomforting for both you and your baby.
Every mother or soon to-be-mother has a list of essential topics. However, few consider emergency issues when nursing their babies. For example, what would one do when nursing and the baby started choking?
Unbelievable as it may sound, cases of babies choking on milk are high. The most common ones to prepare for are baby choking on milk while breastfeeding and baby choking on milk while sleeping. Prepping in advance will help you stop panicking when it happens so that you can administer some first-aid.
Why are babies choking on milk
Babies can start choking on milk because more of it is getting into their mouths than they can swallow at a time. It usually happens if the mother is producing excess milk or has an overactive letdown, releasing a forceful flow of milk suddenly into your baby’s mouth.
Let down is a reflex that causes oxytocin to release milk when your baby’s suckling stimulates your breasts. The wrong feeding positions can also cause your baby to choke on the milk.
First-aid tips to help babies choking on milk
Excess milk can get in your baby’s airway and block the airflow, making it nearly impossible to breathe. Your baby will then start choking, gasping, and coughing with milk coming out of their nose. While this can be unexpected and difficult to watch, this is the time to keep calm and administer first aid as soon as possible to breathe again.
- The first thing you need to do is to lay down your baby on their stomach. Remember to support your baby’s head and neck in your hand. Your baby’s head should be slightly lower than their body in this position.
- With your free hand, give your baby five quick thrusts between the shoulder blades moving upwards. You can combine this with gentle taps to the back until you are sure that the milk blocking their airway is no longer blocking their airway.
- If there’s no change, or your baby becomes unconscious, call a doctor immediately or rush them quickly to the hospital for more specialized care.
As you do this, please remember that you’re dealing with a fragile baby, so use very little force and keep your movements light and easy.
How to prevent babies choking on milk
The best way of preventing your baby from choking on milk is by changing your feeding position. Most of the time, babies are fed in a downward position, which means that gravity is also working against them when it comes to how much milk gets into their mouths at one time.
Instead, you can try adopting a laid back feeding position where the baby is slightly higher, which will regulate how much milk they suckle at once. You can also ensure that your baby slows down and takes a breath by pulling them off your breast every few seconds during feeding time.
If you have a problem with producing excess milk during nursing, make sure that you express milk a minute or two before your baby latches on to reduce the frequency and make it easier on them.
While it may sound impossible, babies choking on milk is real and can be potentially dangerous if you don’t know what to do when it happens.