Being a new mom is hard, especially when your child sleeps so peacefully that she appears to be dead. We all know that SIDS poses a mysterious and sinister threat to small babies, but what are some other reasons your child may have suddenly stopped breathing even though everything seems to be perfectly normal otherwise? Consult the list below for more scenarios to imagine that will cause you to frantically peer into the bassinet, anxiously watching for the rise and fall of your baby’s tiny chest.
An insect may have flown into the room and lodged itself into his throat.
Sure, it’s colder out and there don’t seem to be any flying insects around, but what if you’ve got one of those weird ladybug infestations, or if the northward migration of stinkbugs due to global warming is about to have a disastrous consequence? Whether his face has turned blue, or you just have that mother’s intuition, shake your baby awake until you hear that comforting cry.
The sound you think is her breathing is actually the white noise machine you’ve turned on to help her sleep.
Maybe you’ve been sleeping soundly for five minutes or so, comforted by the same sounds intended to sooth your baby, when you suddenly realize, you can’t hear her breathing! Turn off the machine as fast and as jarringly as possible and bounce your lifeless baby until he starts breathing again.
He’s sneakily managed to suffocate himself.
You only brought this helpless guy home a week ago, his arms are securely swaddled at his sides, and he’s on his back – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a freakish level of baby strength, paired with a desire to flip himself onto his face, blocking his airways like a suicidal Houdini. Remember: every moment he is crying is a moment he is not suffocating.
Your coworker Danielle can’t get pregnant, is an undiagnosed schizophrenic, secretly resents you with every fiber of her being, and is plotting revenge.
Sure Danielle seems happy, sane, and at 24 is probably too young to really feel her biological clock ticking to the point of homicide–but what if you’re wrong about her and she’s crept silently into your home, her footsteps muffled by the noise of a washing machine full of soiled baby clothes, as she presses a throw pillow embroidered with the words “a baby is a blessing” over your daughter’s face? Find your baby and keep her close (but not too close; you may crush her).
Half of your home has fallen into a sinkhole.
It may be rare, but it can happen in an instant – a sinkhole opens up under your house sucking large chunks of the foundation, your home, and your child within, while you sleep soundly just a few feet away. Take the time to fully rouse yourself, scan your surroundings carefully, and make sure everything is in its place and still breathing.
You yourself have also stopped breathing.
How can you know if the silent scourge of carbon monoxide hasn’t killed you and your child unless you sit up in bed and make sure you haven’t left your cold, lifeless body behind you while you walk over to your child and make sure she is also breathing? Exactly.
If you haven’t taken a moment tonight to check and see if your infant is breathing, remember these other reasons to do so. There are endless possibilities for why your child might have stopped involuntarily inhaling oxygen, and it’s up to you to remain vigilant until the day he has children of his own.