Is infant breathing normally erratic?

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Since infants are easily stimulated by the external environment, they are more likely to respond deliberately with changes in breathing rate and depth. The respiratory center regulates an even breathing pattern varied by rate and depth according to PaCo2 (level of carbon dioxide) and Pa02 levels in the blood. This can be seen more easily while the infant is asleep, displaying an innate and unlearned breathing pattern. Infants have to "learn" to regulate their own breathing over time. It is somewhat instinctual, but is erratic for several months after birth. Infants will instinctively match their breathing patterns to their parent/caregiver when face to face or in close contact with them. If you're worried about increased risk of SIDS make sure you have some face to face, and skin to skin contact every day, and especially before putting them to bed alone for a long period of time.
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