A five-day-old baby in Zambia choked to death on breastmilk after his mother dozed off while breastfeeding him.

Zambia Police Deputy Spokesperson Danny Mwale said Police in Maamba responded to the incident after receiving a report of an unresponsive baby on Wednesday night. Rose Mugala, 24, of Simity Compound called the police to report the sudden death of his son Taurai Mugala, who was only five days old.

Rose Mugala told the police she fell asleep while feeding her baby. She woke up hours later only to find out her baby was already dead. She discovered her baby still latching on her breast with milk dripping from his nose.

“Fact of the matter are that Rose started breastfeeding her baby on Nov. 25, 2020 at her home in Simity Compound around 17:00 hours on her bed but fell asleep and woke up around 19:00 hours only to find her child dead with the breast still in the child’s mouth and breastmilk oozing through the nostrils,” said Mwale.

The police pronounced the baby dead at the scene. They said the baby must have died after choking on his mother’s milk. Authorities also said a thorough inspection of the dead body revealed no physical injuries.

The baby is currently in Maamba Hospital Mortuary awaiting postmortem and burial. It remains unclear whether Rose Mugala will face charges in connection with the baby’s death.

Dr. Anita Nagy, a pediatrician, said co-sleeping with a newborn is a recognized risk factor in asphyxiation. Every year, hundreds of new babies suffer sudden unexpected death due to unsafe sleeping practices.

In 2018, a two-month-old also suffocated to death after his mother fell asleep while feeding him on the sofa. The mother, Leanne Petty, woke up to find her baby lying on her chest unresponsive. A postmortem of the baby showed that he likely died after being suffocated.

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