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Sarah Norris – The Baby Detective

CPR for Babies-Why Parents Need Paediatric First Aid Training
November 24, 2018

CPR for Babies-Why Parents Need Paediatric First Aid Training

Why You MUST Learn Paediatric CPR If You Have A Baby !


I just saw this video about Infant CPR and want to share it with you as soon as possible.

Ambulance: Episode 7 on BBC One now

"She’s 4 days old, she can’t breathe properly."This incredible ambulance crew responds to a life and death call.

Posted by BBC Three on Thursday, November 22, 2018

This Mum found baby not breathing, and luckily the Dad knew CPR so, even though he was terrified performing it on his own baby daughter, he knew what to do to keep her alive until the ambulance crew arrived to take over.

*CPR stands for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation – basically, getting oxygen in to the patients lungs, then moving it around the body and in to the brain*

When Baby Stopped Breathing

I encountered the same thing 3 years ago, at 2am. I had just fed baby and got him settled in his moses basket when I heard a strange noise, like a faint hiccup. When I went to check on him he had stopped breathing, was turning grey, and was completely floppy.
I went straight in to First Aid/CPR mode, checking his airways, then trying to clear them, the administering rescue breaths, and chest compressions.

If you don’t know how to do any of those things, then this post is for you.

I didn’t panic (just not a panicking person, I think) but the main reason why I could get on and do this was because I knew that I knew what to do.

Does that make sense ?

The Confidence to Perform CPR on Babies

Even though there was an instant when my brain froze, it really was just a fraction of a second before my brain kicked in and said ‘you know this, you can do this’ and realising that I did know what to do, somewhere in my head, gave me the strength to get on with it.
As a Maternity Nurse, I have to update my Paediatric First Aid Certificate (which includes CPR) every 3 years, and luckily I had done this only 3 months before so it was fresh in my mind. On top of this, the previous clients had been very concerned about baby medical emergencies, so I had spent a lot of time talking them through CPR which meant it was fresh in my mind, and, after 3 rounds of breaths and compressions the little angel started to breathe again.

Medics to the Rescue

Luckily we were very near a hospital and the ambulance took only a few minutes to arrive…and the two medics were beyond amazing. Even remembering now, 3 years later, my eyes are filling with tears of gratitude to those two men.
They were so calm and professional, but so gentle and reassuring. The baby’s mum and I were shaking with shock, taking it in turns to get dressed so we could go to the hospital, and they just took charge and lifted the terrible responsibility from our shoulders.
I was terrified that I had damaged his ribs with the compressions, but they reassured me he was fine, and got us all in the ambulance, joking with us gently to relieve the tension…they were simply perfect !
Baby was in hospital for 2 weeks, and stopped breathing again twice, all due to reflux episodes, but was then home and continued from strength to strength, never having any more problems. The Mum was afraid to go home where we would be without the support of medical staff, but they gave her a quick lesson in CPR, and I managed to arrange for a company to come and give the Mum and a few of her friends a Paediatric First Aid course at home, which gave her much more confidence.

Reflux Does Not Cause SIDS/Cot Death.

I want to gently correct something the Dad says in this video, about how if he hadn’t known what to do, his daughter would be a registered Cot Death.
I know people get confused about cot death and accidental death, but they are very different. Cot death, or SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has no known cause, and in an autopsy, there is nothing to indicate how baby had died. In this particular case, if a tragedy had occurred, there would be very clear evidence of vomit and acid in the throat, and maybe stomach contents in the lungs.
I am not saying this to be pedantic, I just want people to know that, whilst there is nothing you could have done if you suffer a death from SIDS, there IS something you can do if your baby has any other type of breathing failure.

Learn Paediatric First aid

CPR for babiesPaediatric First Aid and CPR will tell you what to do if your baby stops breathing or chokes, and also what to do in other types of emergency…and it is so easy to learn !
There are courses running everywhere around the country, run by St Johns Ambulance, British Red Cross, and private companies, many of which will run courses just for you, in your own home, so you can get together with other parents, or family members to share the cost.
Many companies also do Gift Vouchers so if you know someone who is expecting a baby, why not club together with friends and buy the parents the most useful baby gift they could possibly receive …instead of yet another cuddly toy ?


Please make sure that any course or class you do has ‘Paediatric’ in the title, so you know it is focused on babies and young children.

For those of you who are worried by the video but can’t afford a First Aid course, or don’t have access to one for a while…here is something you can do NOW.

Download the Baby and Child First Aid App by the British Red Cross to your phone so you always have help with you.

It has simple, easy to understand lessons that you can study at leisure, but most importantly, it has emergency videos that talk you through exactly what to do in real time.
Usually, in an emergency, if you call 999 they will get someone to talk you through what to do, and they are trained to support you and keep you calm enough to function, but if you don’t have that option for any reason, or you want to actually SEE what to do, the App will help you.
Also, in the comments under the video at the beginning of the post, there are lots of comments from parents of babies that suffered similar episodes, mostly attributed to reflux, which might be worrying for other parents, just remember that most parents will never encounter such an emergency.
However, breathing and choking problems in young babies is still a possibility, but you are not helpless, there is plenty you can do to prepare yourself and give you and your babies the best possible outcome if the unthinkable happens.

If you have any experience of this situation, or have any questions or concerns about CPR or anything in this post, I would love to hear from you.

Please comment below, or get in touch via email at

Sarah x


Why does my baby cry so much in the evenings ?

Some babies really struggle in the evenings, being restless, difficult to feed, crying, or even having major meltdowns…just when you are at your most tired after caring for them all day.

So you head off to Google or online mum groups and you hear terms like Evening Colic, or The Witching Hour, and that’s what we are going to look at in this blog.


Firstly, the term colic is not a diagnosis of a particular problem, it is a description of a pattern of behaviour…basically it describes a baby that cries excessively for 3 hours or more, 3 or more times a week.

As you can see, it’s a very loose description, and the excessive crying can be caused by any number of things, including hunger, tiredness, wind, reflux, illness, pain, teething, over handling, over stimulation.

It can also be a mix of several of these and its your job as a parent to try and figure out what is wrong and deal with it.

What is Evening Colic ?

This is much the same.

It describes a baby that cries excessively during the evening (usually from around 5 or 6pm through to 10 or 11pm, or even later if you are really unlucky).

It is more common in younger babies, under 5 months, but can go on much longer if the cause is not discovered.

We still have to play detective and figure out what is going on, but in this case, a major factor is usually overtiredness and/or over stimulation, along with hunger.

A baby has to cope with so many new things once they are born including learning how to latch on to bottles or teats, drink and breathe at the same time, they are feeling discomfort and pain from their own insides that they can’t understand or do anything about.

Their senses are bombarded by light, sound, movement, textures, tastes, smells, and all the interaction from people around them.

Their brains are in overdrive trying to process all this and its overwhelming and exhausting which is one of the reasons babies need so much sleep.

Naps help, but what they really need is some deep sleep so their subconscious can get on with trying to make sense of it all, so by the time evening comes they have just had enough.

They are exhausted and stressed, sometimes too stressed to eat or go to sleep so they get frustrated, and the only way they have to express themselves is by screaming

Tips to Help You Cope

Once you understand what is going on, it makes it easier for us to figure out ways to help them, such as

  • Try to make sure they get lots of sleep through the day (at least 1 hour of good solid sleep before each feed)
  • Make everything calmer in the evenings by turning down lights and music/tv, and getting rid of visitors. Sometimes the best thing is to remove baby to a dark quiet room, and use gentle music or white noise.
  • Handle them gently, rock, sway and walk around, and talk or sing to them soothingly.
  • Don’t make them wait for a feed. It won’t hurt to bring a feed forwards if it avoids baby getting wound up.
  • Make feeding as easy as possible.

**If you are breastfeeding you can try expressing or using formula from a bottle just for this feed.

**If you think your milk supply could be low (very common at this time of day) then try topping baby up with expressed milk or formula to make sure they have a full tummy.

  • Wind thoroughly but use gentle, passive positions and movements.
  • Swaddle baby so they feel secure, and you can even swaddle them to feed and during winding
  • Take turns with your partner if you have one. It is no easy thing dealing with a crying or screaming baby and can easily stress parents so being able to hand them over to someone else whilst you take a break will make a huge difference – don’t both sit there trying to calm baby, take it in turns.
  • Warm deep baths where baby can float and relax can really help. Turn lights down low, make bathroom warm, you can even get in there with baby if you think that will help. Candles are lovely if you can do it safely.
  • Make bottles a bit warmer than usual.
  • If nothing else works then try using a sling if your back is up to it.

Evening colic get better as baby gets older and they become better able to cope with the world, so if its really bad, just do the best you can to help them, and remember that it will end, it’s not forever.

Older babies can also go through temporary patches of evening colic if they are experiencing developmental changes, or if they are teething or starting nursery or during illness, just remember it is an expression of serious ‘end-of-day-itis’ so try and help them as best you can by managing them and removing all the stress factors you can think of.

I hope this has given you some insight into the problem, and some ideas about how to cope with it if you experience evening colic at any time, but if you have any questions or need more help, I’m always happy to help in my free FB group The Baby Buzz where I hang out every day…I love talking about all things baby 🙂

Sarah x





The Author

I’m Sarah Norris, a Baby Care Consultant and Parenting Coach.

I have spent over twenty five years, often working 24 hours, 6 days a week, supporting hundreds of families with new or young babies aged from newborn to 12 months old, and often helping with their toddlers and older children.

I help parents discover what parenting style they want to use to care for their baby, and offer advice on different approaches that might suit them and their circumstances best.


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