The baby who has to be TICKLED to keep him alive: Benn stops breathing several times a night… and has to be gently encouraged to start again
Benn suffers from a condition which stops him breathing for 20 seconds or more and has to be tickled to kick-start his breathing again
For most mothers, tickling their child is just a bit of fun. For Sanchia Norris, it is a way of keeping her son alive.
One-year-old Benn stops breathing several times each night and his mother has to tickle him to force him to start again.
Miss Norris, 41, is warned by an alarm when his breathing stops and rushes to his bedroom to rouse him.
The chartered tax adviser said: ‘I have to stimulate him in some way to wake him up which kickstarts him into breathing again. I either tickle him on the soles of his feet, or under his chin and on his stomach. It is enough to start him breathing again.
‘One night he stopped breathing 23 times and I had to keep tickling him each time to make him start breathing again.’
Benn suffers from apnea, one of the most common problems affecting premature babies. It causes breathing to stop for 20 seconds or more when they are asleep and occurs when a baby’s muscles and nervous system are not fully developed at birth.
Benn Norris is expected to grow out of the condition but being tickled is the most common method used to get a baby with his condition breathing again
Most grow out of it, but in the meantime, stimulation such as tickling is the most common method to get them breathing again.
When Benn was born in November last year, he was dangerously premature at just 24 weeks, and weighed only 1lb 12oz. Miss Norris, from Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire, said: ‘He was smaller than the length of my hand. The doctors told me that it was extremely unlikely that he would survive.’
But against the odds, after 18 weeks in hospital, Benn was well enough to be allowed home.
His mother is now fundraising for the Rosie Campaign in aid of the maternity unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital where Benn was born.