Rocking my screaming newborn, I gently pressed the bottle between her lips again.
‘Please take a little bit for Mummy, Amber,’ I soothed.
But the milk just leaked out the side of her mouth. Then she coughed, and threw up all over me.
Amber had been born at 36 weeks, weighing just over two kilos. For the first three weeks, my tiny bub was fed with a tube.
Now, I felt like I was failing her.
My 11-month-old son, Trey, would feed contentedly, but poor Amber would splutter and gasp for air.
She’d only manage two bottles in 24 hours, and whenever she was lying down she choked on her saliva.
She was sick so much, I had to change her clothes every half an hour.
I went to my GP often. ‘She chokes 20 times a day,’ I would sob. Doctors always said she was suffering from reflux.
After one feed, Amber turned blue. Frantic, I dialled Triple-0. Thankfully, my little girl recovered, but I was beside myself.
After one feed, Amber turned blue.
Finally, in January this year, when Amber was 13 months, she was referred to a specialist.
She was given a bottle while her throat was monitored on a screen. Horrified, I watched as the liquid went into her lungs and she started to choke.
Next, the milk was mixed with a thickening powder called Flavour Creations.
This time, it went straight to her tummy.
‘Amber is suffering from a condition called dysphagia,’ I was told after the tests.
It meant she had difficulty swallowing.
Now, I use the powder in all her bottles. She’ll never be able to eat solid food, but she’s a different girl – full of energy and always smiling.
I hope my story helps others who might be going through the same thing.
What to do if your baby chokes:
➜ If they’re choking but still coughing, let them cough.
➜ Dislodge a blockage by holding your baby’s face down along your forearm, supported by your thigh, the head lower than the bottom. Give up to five blows between your baby’s shoulder blades.
➜ Don’t feel for an obstruction –this could push it farther down.
This story was originally published in that's life! Issue 26, 23 June 2016.