Pregnancy & Lifestyle

That moment my baby stopped breathing

I had a very scary parenting moment on Sunday evening. One that literally put me in shock. We all have bad parenting moments now and then and mommy nerves and worrying about our kids is a constant and sometimes exhausting thing! It can feel like the whole weight of the world is on your shoulders and you are so vulnerable emotionally because you love your children so much. This is a long post but stick with me because there is something important we can learn from this.

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On Sunday evening I had a bath and hubby brought little Violet to me so she could bath with me like we always do, this gives us a great opportunity for skin to skin contact and a chance to bond while bathing her. Hubby then takes her from me and I hop out the bath to go dress her quickly before she gets too cold.

Violet does not like being naked, she cries from getting out the bath till the moment she is fully dressed and she does this every time we bath her, I have just come to accept it and dress her as fast as I can so I can soothe and calm her again. I pick her up between items of clothing to pop her onto the nipple a bit and calm her before dressing further so that it does not turn into a complete hysterical screaming story.

what to do if your child stops breathing

This time she cried her self into such a fit that she actually lost her breath! She stopped breathing while I was dressing her and It was horrible. I watched her little face trying to take a breath and then I realized what was happening when I saw the panic on her face, she had upset her self so much that she just couldn’t take a breath. I quickly in a panic picked her up and rubbed her back and gave her a few pats, this did not seem to be helping!!!! I completely freaked out, blew in her face and turned her over to pat her bum but nothing seemed to be helping. She was making strange noises and gasping for air.

This all just happened to be at the exact time that my hubby had left to go buy milk so I was also alone at home, luckily my dad lives in out granny flat in the back yard so I quickly picked Violet up and ran outside to go look for help. When I got outside it must have been the cold air that scared Violet into taking a breath again and by the time I reached my dad she was fine but very upset.


I have read that children do this, that baby’s upset them selves and temporarily can not catch their breath. Have you had this happen to you? I was so paranoid afterwards that when my husband got home from the shop I was crying I had gotten such a fright. I was now convinced there was something wrong with Violet and I proceeded to not sleep that night because I was paranoid she was going to stop breathing in her sleep.

Violet is fine and back to her usual crying. But I have walked away from all of this with a important thought. I was lucky Violet is actually fine and was just having a little baby panic attack, but it was enough of a kak experience to have me traumatized and freaked out.

What do you do when your child stops breathing? Do you have a plan in place, are you going to jump in your car and drive to the hospital or call and ambulance? In my mind neither of these would happen fast enough to help so this basically boils down to us educating our selves with the basics of baby and child first aid. I was alone at home with no car when this happened and had no one to help hold baby or phone for help.

So just a thought moms, maybe it is a good thing to think about educating our selves more? and putting a proper plan into place for when something does go wrong.

Let me know what your thoughts on this are.


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  1. Vanessa says:

    Gosh, freeking scary; just glad that all is well with Violet! and that you don’t fret and have more sleepless nights.
    I fully agree, get some first aid training as this could happen to anyone at any TIME!

    I’m not a Mum but can imagine your panic at the time she stopped breathing!

    My sister had a Still Born and I know how it still has an effect on her after many years.

    No out your local Fire Station or Hospital could advise regarding courses, or like we have in George a company that teaches first-aid/cpr and is inexpensive.

    After all its your child that you need to protect in any way possible as a parent!

    So sorry that you had such a scary incident happen with your precious little Violet – the first aid would be good not only for Babie, but any parent who has young children!

    All the best

  2. dionne says:

    I havent had a child yet but this is one of the reasons I waited so long. I think it is a great idea to educate ourselves. Would love to know what you find out and the options available. I live in a smaller city and hope we have optoons herebtoo.
    So glad Violet is okay.

  3. Sharissa Naicker says:

    My boy was 3 months prem and stayed in hospital for 3 months. A week after getting home he stopped breathing after his bath and dressed and just as I was giving him a feed. Luckily hubby was home so between us we remembered our first aid cpr training and hubby got him breathing again. We had to rush off to hospital but luckily that’s up the road. I definitely recommend cpr training for all parents seasoned or new.

  4. Lynnith says:

    Hi Melissa, sorry you had to experience this. I have had the same thing happen to me, although my child was 3yrs old. He fell and hurt himself and cried, but never inhaled after his initial wail. He then turned blue and his eyes even rolled back. I am an RN so I lay him on the grass and gave him two rescue breaths(cpr), and had told my husband to call an ambulance as I thought my child was going to die. But he came round, colour came back, and all was fine. Didnt need the ambulance, but I never want to remember that picture of him going limp and blue ever again. My friend is a doctor. She recommends to lay the childs head lower than the extremities when they have a breath holding episode. It apparently is quite common. By me picking him up it made it worse due to the gravity ect and blow flow to the brain ect. The two rescue breaths definitely helped. Having a knowledge of cpr is such an advantage. Hope it doesn’t happen again to you though. Check with your paed. Xx

  5. Gosh that is scary – so sorry it happened. I guess we were lucky and never had this with one of our 3. We were taught in first aid to give 2 rescue breaths if they definitely stopped breathing

  6. Something similar happened to me with Ava. My mother in law kept insisting that we HAD to clean her mouth & tongue with glycerine. I relented after much arguing and Ava choked on it. She stopped breathing and started turning blue. I am so thankful that my mom was there at the time and she’s a nurse so she was able to handle the situation because I just panicked and the bluer she turned the more hysterical I became.
    Needless to say I never took my mother in laws advice again or let her bully me into her way of doing things.
    Most terrifying moment of my life…. except for 3 weeks ago when Ava went flying off her horse and landed on her head!
    Parenting is not for sissies!

  7. Rouxle Fourie says:

    This happened to my baby just this week! I frantically phoned our doctor to find out what just happened and he said it was a breath holding spell and in future I should scare him to start breathing again by splashing cold water on his head. Needless to say, it is a very scary experience. I held my baby, all blue and limb and just thought to myself that this cannot be the end….

    1. Melissa says:

      I am sorry this also happened to you! I will definitely remember the trick with splashing water! Because it did seem like when I went out into the cold it shocked her into breathing again.

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