How To Notice Breathing Difficulties on Babies
Being a parent is a big responsibility. Your little kid’s health and well-being is based completely on your decisions. You have to take care for his food, comfort, health etc. and if something goes wrong, it may be your fault.
One of the biggest things that new parents are nervous about, and for good reason, is how to tell whether or not their infant is breathing normally. It can be nerve-wracking when a child stops breathing for even a few seconds, and that’s a good thing.
Our bodies are hard-wired to be on edge around newborns, and they are on constant alert for any signs that something may be wrong. So while it may result in many sleepless nights for parents, we are designed to be able to take care of our young. Take a deep breath, relax, and check out these tips on how to notice breathing difficulties in babies.
How Often do I Need to Check my Infant’s Breathing?
The reality is that you should check on your child’s breathing as often as you feel fit. If you are concerned that your infant may not be breathing properly, it’s important to contact a medical professional immediately as it can be dangerous or fatal to the newborn.
The best way to know if your baby is breathing normally is to observe their breathing patterns throughout the day and while they sleep. Some infants are loud sleepers, whereas others will barely make a sound even when they are breathing without problems. Take note of what is normal for your baby, and be on the lookout for anything that is out of the norm.
Infants Breathing Irregularly
It’s actually quite common for newborn infants to adopt an irregular breathing pattern while they sleep and in many cases, it is totally normal. A lot of infants will breathe in cycles, starting out with shallow, quick breaths, and then will breathe deeper for a period of time.
That being said, if your child breaks their normal breathing pattern or appears to stop breathing altogether you can try to gently poke, pat, or otherwise stir the baby to see if they respond and start breathing again. Oftentimes rubbing the back of an infant can help to get them to breathe more deeply. If these steps don’t have an immediate effect on the newborn, call emergency services immediately.
There are a few specific things to be on the lookout for in regards to your infant’s breathing. The first thing to be looking for is blue coloration on the newborn’s hands, feet, face, or body. Some slight discoloration is normal, but anything more than that may be a sign that your child is not getting the oxygen that they need.
Another thing to look/listen for are signs that your baby is choking/gagging while trying to breathe. This could be a signal that there is a deeper respiratory issue going on, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Infants also tend to go either limp or rigid when experiencing breathing difficulties, so if your child is more limp or rigid than usual this may be a sign that they are undergoing significant stress and may need medical attention.
Playing it Safe
The older your infant gets, the more you will learn to understand what is normal for their specific behaviors and reactions. This will allow you to decide with a higher degree of certainty whether or not an issue requires emergency medical attention.
However, until you reach that point, it’s always better to play it safe when it comes to getting your newborn medical attention. If you feel that something is off with your baby, it’s better to call and have it be a minor issue than to allow it to develop into something more serious or life threatening.
Babies who are born prematurely have a much higher chance to develop respiratory issues, especially related to breathing at night. This can be scary for the newborn and parents alike, but medicine has progressed to a point where problems can be diagnosed and solved much faster than previously possible.
One potential option for parents who are really struggling with anxiety around monitoring their newborn’s breathing is finding a baby monitor that automatically sets off alarms when it detects a breathing disruption. These monitors oftentimes have audio and video feeds, allowing you to check on the baby from your bedroom.
While you shouldn’t totally rely on a baby monitor to alert you when your child isn’t breathing, they are a great tool to help parents better protect their children. Many parents sleep easier knowing that they will be notified as soon as their child stops breathing or experiences a breathing disruption.
Helpful Questions to Observe Your Kid’s Breathing Pattern
If your child is having a breathing problem, then your doctor will need a few information to better determine what is the cause. The questions and tips down below will help you to observe your kid’s breathing pattern:
- When did the breathing difficulties first start?
- Is there anyone in the family with asthma history?
- Does your kid have other symptoms such as cough, fever etc.?
- Did the breathing difficulties start suddenly or they start to happen gradually over time?
- Did anything around him seem to cause this problem?
- Was your child sick before this problem occurs?
These are some of the questions which will help you to determine the problem and maybe what is causing it. If you decide to go and talk with your pediatrician, he will ask you a few of these questions.
When used in combination with the other resources that we’ve discussed in this article, you should be well on your way to feeling more confident about your ability to safely and accurately gauge how well your child is breathing. However, as always, it’s important to mention that you should contact or inform medical professionals whenever you feel there is a problem, even if you think you have it under control.