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How To Check If Your Baby Is Breathing WITHOUT Waking Her Up

Babies breathe weird. Sometimes it is literally impossible to tell if they’re breathing at all. I, like most moms, have experienced that momentary freak out in the middle of the night while my face is shoved straight into baby’s bassinet to find out if she’s alive.

how to check if a sleeping baby is breathing without waking her up

Sometimes, when she takes a nap during the day, I stare at her trying to figure out if she stopped crying because she fell asleep or if she somehow managed to kill herself with her pacifier.

So here are a few simple steps to help parents check if their baby is breathing WITHOUT waking her up…

READ: How To Survive Your First Week Home With Baby

How To Check If Your Baby Is Breathing WITHOUT Waking Her Up

how to check if your sleeping baby is breathing, without waking her up

In A Dark Room

Step 1

Navigate the room with your hands out to make sure you don’t run into anything. Probably run into something anyway. Try not to make too much noise when you do.

Step 2

Crack the door to let in the barest amount of light, and let your eyes adjust.

Step 3

Crack the door wider because you still can’t see.

Step 4

Get frustrated and throw the door completely open.

Step 5

Freeze and hold your breath as the door hinges squeak.

Step 6

Creep over to your baby with cartoonishly exaggerated “sneaking” motions.

batman and robin's exaggerated sneaking motions

Step 7

Get your face so close to the baby that your nose is almost touching her. Don’t blink as you wait for baby’s chest to rise and fall. Feel awkward about how hard you’re staring.

Step 8

Wait some more. Start to quietly panic. Calculate exactly how long it would take an ambulance to arrive. Start mentally notifying family.

Step 9

Abandon all worst case scenarios when baby moves a foot.

Step 10

Shift your weight sloooooowly backward so as not to wake baby up, since that is now the worst case scenario, and continue until you are out the door.

Step 11

Curse the door wildly in your head when it creaks while you close it.

Step 12

Creep to bed.

In A Well-Lit Room

Step 1

Tiptoe over to your sleeping baby like a bomb tech approaching unstable nitroglycerin.

Step 2

Are baby’s lips and cheeks pink? If yes, she’s breathing.

here's how to check if your sleeping baby is still breathing without waking her up

Step 3

Sneak carefully away.


Friday 15th of February 2019

I was this mum with both my babies and I still am this mum and my kids are 6 and 11. Will I ever change?


Sunday 24th of February 2019

haha probably not! I still check and mine is 13

Any mom

Monday 19th of June 2017

I don't know if this is a joke but as a mom with a baby who was on oxygen and sleep apnea machines, who suffers from a clinical diagnosis of "periodic breathing" and has sleep apnea, I feel making light of anxiety some moms suffer from is disgusting. My baby has gone limp in my arms because of his periodic breathing and if checking on him gives me some sort of peace of mind several times a night, no one should judge.


Sunday 9th of July 2017

I apologize if it caused you distress. It's a humorous/silly/lighthearted post about moms who have no reason to think their child would stop breathing but still obsessively check. I assumed it would be obvious that this is absolutely not about babies with genuine health issues, nor would I ever make light of real breathing problems. My cousin has a little boy around 2 who has had multiple heart surgeries, and I have read the articles she shares on being a mom of a child with serious health concerns. It's very scary, and this silly article is not meant to cause pain or make fun of anyone but those (like me) who worry unnecessarily.