Burping and sleeping position can prevent sudden infant deaths

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Kenyan mothers have been warned to ensure that their babies burp after feeding in order to reduce the chance of sudden infant death (SID) when they are asleep.

“If a baby does not burp after feeding,” said Jane Ochieng’, a nurse at Aga Khan Hospital, “then there is a high chance that they will while they are sleeping, on which they can choke on it and maybe even die.”

Burping is the release of gas bubbles in the baby’s esophagus and out of the mouth sometimes bringing up some of the stomach contents too.

“Babies need to burp after feeding because the gas bubbles cause a feeling of discomfort and fullness in their stomach,” she said. “They have to burp, it does not matter how long it takes; minutes or hours, they will burp. If not, it will either be a night of endless crying or they will burp in their sleep which is dangerous.”

Another thing she warns about is the sleeping position of the baby, “there has been much debate about it the right sleeping position but it is advisable to lay your baby to sleep while on their side. This is because laying them on their back and they spit up or vomit in their sleep, it can go back in their mouth and they will choke.”

However as she said, it is debatable, according to the US National Institute of Child Health; laying babies on their backs could lead to chocking is just a myth because they automatically cough up or swallow fluid that they spit up or vomit it is a reflex to keep the airway clear. “Babies who sleep on their backs might clear these fluids better because of the way the body is built.”

Laying them on their stomach, could lead to them suffocating on the mattress as their nose press on it and again if they vomit or spit up, it will go back in their mouth leading to choking. When they lay on their side and they spit up or vomit, they cannot swallow it back because of the sleeping position.

“Usually, a grown baby, six months or so, will turn themselves and sleep in a position they consider comfortable but it best to take precaution.”Jane said. “It is also best if the baby sleeps in a bare bed, pillows and bedding, they can suffocate from. Dress them in warm clothing at night and if you must, use a light blanket.”

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