ZocdocAnswersCan my baby aspirate on vomit?

Question

Can my baby aspirate on vomit?

My husband and I had gone out quading and left my nursing son (17 months) with grandma to stay overnight. I drank about 6 beer and had about 5 cigarrettes (hadn't smoked in 3 years) and ended up not eating much. We ended up getting a call that we needed to pick up our son because he wouldn't go to bed around 7. I had already been home for about an hour and napped, my husband was my DD and went to pick up our son. Without thinking I tried nursing him to sleep, about 5-8 minutes on my left breast. He went to sleep and I put him in the crib and I went back to bed. I checked on him about 2 hours later and there was vomit in his crib! Single handedly the dumbest thing I have ever done. We watched him for the next 3 days. He had strange poops and had vomited two more times in our bed that night. My question is could he have aspirated and died? He is healthy, healthy eater, big for his age, and smart.... he just threw up his macaroni from grandma's. Is it a coincidence?

Answer

Thank you for this question, and sorry to hear about your stress level. Especially glad to hear that he seems to be doing well right now. I recommend that you discuss your concern with your son's pediatrician. The short answer to your question is that there is a risk of aspiration in new babies, but this is fortunately very low for most healthy kids. The risk can obviously be increased by different medications that decrease the ability of the child to protect his or her airway. Alcohol is a sedative and can also cause vomiting in some people, and so it is possible that this would increase the risk although this is hard to quantify or answer definitively. Certainly, it is advised that nursing mothers not drink alcohol. Additionally, tobacco smoke should be kept far away from children for a number of reasons, so please make sure to change your clothes before holding him close to snuggle him. At the end of the day, you make it sound as if things have returned to normal and all of this may have been a total coincidence that raised your stress level because you were worried anyway. Regardless, it makes sense to discuss this question with your son's pediatrician to review all of the details.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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