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Thread: Help! Choking incidents -- why and how?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Default Help! Choking incidents -- why and how?

    Ladies, please help me figure this out! I'm out of my mind with fear over this now. My son almost choked to death tonight on a piece of apple -- a piece he bit off. I did the baby heimlich, had him upside down, was screaming for someone to call 911 when we finally got it up. His lips were white, and he was spitting blood and his nose was bleeding a little. I can hardly type this, but I need to understand it. A short while longer, and it would have been too late.

    When it happened, he was sitting in his high chair beside me at dinner. The apple he was eating was sliced into "chip-sized" pieces, like french fries, as the BLS pandits suggest.

    I would consider it the kind of random thing that can happen to anyone, but the same thing happened yesterday! Yesterday I got it on the first baby heimlich round, so I didn't even have time to get freaked out before it was taken care of, but it was no less serious choking. Yesterday it was a piece of dried apple.

    Has anyone else heard of a choking-risk developmental phase or condition to watch out for? Why would it be happening now? Felix will be one on Saturday, and though he was premature, he is pretty caught up developmentally -- he took his first run of unassisted steps today, so right on the milestone mean. His pincer grasp is excellent. We transitioned to BLS/W about 6 weeks ago and it has been going great. But should I stop? He loves apple and even has a sound-word for it, but I dont know when I'll be able to let him eat them again. Could he not be ready? Could it be teething (in which we are deeply submerged this week)?

    Any speculations or stories, or just reassurance, will be greatly appreciated.
    Kate

    Mother to a sweet boy, born at 34 weeks on 2/11/11.
    Proud that I grew 26 lbs of baby before solids, and still counting...

    We received banked milk in the NICU. Thank you, donors!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    He may be allergic to apple. If so his throat may close due to the allergy causing him to choke. Purely anecdotal information, I had such areaction to something as a child.

    p.s. Some allergies take awhile to form so even if he has ate them previously with no incident it could still be allergy.

    And Super Hugs! So scary.
    Baby Girl "Piper" born Feb 12th, 2010. She is a true blessing!

    And a baby who is now an Angel in Heaven Feb 7th, 2008.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    In either situation did you give him a chance to react on his own before you gave him the hemlich? In either situation was he turning blue?

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    How scary! I'm thinking that he might not be ready for apple the way it was served. Apple- whether fresh or dried- is a food that really requires some chewing. How about grating it and putting small amounts in front of him? Maybe a teaspoon or so. Or offering a whole peeled apple for him to lick and gnaw on.

    IDK if there's a developmental phase to watch for other than chewing and teething. My nearly 2 year old still often doesn't chew well, probably because she's still working off of her 1 year molars. But she has all her incisors, so she can bite off big pieces of food. Sometimes that means she crams more into her mouth than should be there.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    I would skip apple for now and not feed it. He might not be ready for it in that fashion.

    My fourth child choked like that a lot from the cleft. It is scary.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  6. #6
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    OK, today, after a night of cuddling with him, I can face it a bit more reasonably. Last night I was pronouncing him done with solids entirely. Thanks for your responses!

    Both times I waited a few beats to see if he would just cough it out; he has often gotten a little caught on something he is eating but hasn't had difficulty moving it to the front of his mouth after a few coughs. The second time, last night, he was ashen white afterwards. During, I cant say, since he was turned away from me. But the thing that told me he needed help each time was how he turned to me and tried to cry -- making instead the most terrible squeak I've ever heard. I never want to hear that sound again. I wish I could say I was overreacting. Instead I'm considering dropping in at my neighborhood fire house and asking them to just review choking protocol with me -- if they even do that kind of thing. I want DH to learn it, too.

    I have been giving him whole apples and long apple slices to gnaw on for months, but lately he has started really biting in to them. Off whole apples he routinely bites off much larger pieces. In fact, he routinely fills his mouth with whatever he is eating. He has six front teeth. I guess he really can bite off more than he can chew. I always thought that if he could control how much was going into his mouth he wouldn't choke, but clearly that's not the case. I think we're done with BLS now. We wont limit him to purees, but everything will be smaller than chokeable for a while. -- like the next 15 years. And maybe I'll limit how much he gets at a time. At least he loves to pick up small crumbs right now.

    Susan, I have heard that cleft kids do struggle with choking -- and with food going into the nasal passage. (My mom was a speech therapist.) How do you manage that? If this happens again, god forbid, I'm going to ask the doc to take a look at his palate.

    I'm def going to watch for other signs of allergy, too. Thanks for that suggestion. It doesnt seem like the issue -- it rather seems like he has gotten overconfident in his ability to handle food -- but I'm prepared to admit I may have no idea. Last night I started to question everything: what else am I doing that I think is safe that may actually be dangerous? This deep, dark abyss of maternal fears is one I have surprisingly avoided until now, perhaps because everything seemed so easy compared to the NICU. But I'm getting comfortable here now. But really, how am I possibly going to keep him safe from everything? Today this just feels overwhelming. For instance, early this morning while sitting on his potty, he was moving a tall cupboard door back and forth when the top hinge just popped out! I was right there, so I caught it before it broke off and fell on his head. But it really brought home to me that everything is dangerous! I keep reminding myself that most children do make it to adulthood, so the statistics, at least, are on our side. But right now that is small reassurance.

    Thanks for reading. I just need a way to process this, and DH doesnt want to keep talking about it.
    Kate

    Mother to a sweet boy, born at 34 weeks on 2/11/11.
    Proud that I grew 26 lbs of baby before solids, and still counting...

    We received banked milk in the NICU. Thank you, donors!!!

  7. #7
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    So in the 24 hours since the choking incident, Felix has developed an increasingly hacking cough. I'm anxious he may have aspirated a small apple shard. My husband thinks I'm overreacting, but when I read about it we fit a pretty common scenario for food aspiration post-choking incident. I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow. If there is a piece stuck, I read just now that vegetable matter typically deveops into a severe pneumonia. Getting it out seems to involve surgery. I'm terrified. Am I going crazy? I'm not sure I'm going to be able to sleep tonight. I just read a medical case about a 2 yo whose lung collapsed when xrays failed to show the food piece in her brochia. If anyone has lived through food aspiration I would love to hear about it.
    Kate

    Mother to a sweet boy, born at 34 weeks on 2/11/11.
    Proud that I grew 26 lbs of baby before solids, and still counting...

    We received banked milk in the NICU. Thank you, donors!!!

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    I think you're right to be concerned. Take him in to the doc. It's probably nothing- kids are always sick with something! But it makes sense to rule this out.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    For food going into the nasal passage, it always came out through the nose. It's self cleaning.

    No, I would call the doc too.

    And seriously....Gav had more trouble with purees and choking....so it's not the method of feeding. This more sounds like he is impatient or not chewing up completely or something.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    151

    Default Re: Help! Choking incidents -- why and h

    Thanks for the support and encouragement. We went to the dr, and he said the aspiration was very possible. It was so helpful to talk it through with him. We have a chest xray for LO tomorrow, with which they will try to discover if part of Felix's lung is filled with fluid. Then we wait and see if he gets pneumonia. I hate writing that!

    Dr also said to limit Felix's food to purees. I tried to explain the premise of BLS, but I just felt dumb. What was I doing giving apple to a baby with 6 front teeth? I appreciate your point about purees, Susan, and your message overall makes me feel a little more sane, but it's also clear that I would not be worrying about my baby's lung collapsing if we had been pureeing his food. Bleurg!

    I think my confidence has been totally shaken by this.
    Kate

    Mother to a sweet boy, born at 34 weeks on 2/11/11.
    Proud that I grew 26 lbs of baby before solids, and still counting...

    We received banked milk in the NICU. Thank you, donors!!!

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