I am just curious how many preemie parents out there can't get their babies to sleep on their backs because of the reflux? When my son with in the NICU, they tilted his crib so that he slept on his back at an angle due to reflux issues. It seemed to work and he was able to sleep fine. I now realize that it only worked because he slept pretty much all the time in any position when he was that age. He is now 3 months adjusted age (born at 31 weeks, 2 days) and from the first week we brought him home, he hasn't been able to sleep on his back anymore. We angled his bassinet with towels under the mattress and it doesn't matter. We kept him upright for as long as an hour after he ate as he slept and would slowly try to transfer him to the bassinet, wrapped in a swaddle sack and all, and he'd just wake up and start crying. He refuses to sleep on his back!
I know very well the "Back to Sleep" program and his swaddle sacks all say "back is best!". I even have a friend whose baby died of SIDS as he slept in his daddy's arms one morning. So I am well aware that my son is supposed to be in his own space, on his back with no blankets or anything on a firm mattress and not on his tummy! But if he doesn't sleep on his tummy, he doesn't sleep period. He may sleep for half an hour on his back, but he will wake up suddenly and start hacking and fussing and he is inconsolable unless you flip him to his tummy. On his tummy will instantly fall asleep! He won't even let you hold him on his back. You have to hold him upright on your shoulder. He just hates his back.
My biggest problem with this is that I must stay awake and monitor him as he sleeps because I cannot, with good conscience, let myself sleep while my baby is sleeping on his tummy. You hear so many horror stories about babies falling into deep sleep on their bellies and forgetting to breathe. My son was sent home on an apnea monitor so I know what it's like for your baby to stop breathing. We no longer need the apnea monitor because he doesn't have events anymore, but I am still nervous and I still watch him sleep. It's not easy because we put him on an angled wedge pillow on the couch in the living room instead of in the bassinet in our bedroom. You can't see him in the bassinet unless you are peering right down into it. Sometimes he's scoots around and if you aren't pay attention for a second, he will scoot himself off the pillow and put his face in between the pillow and the couch. He is constantly needing readjusting. We have to keep the light on so we can see his breathing and watch his positioning. My husband and I take shifts in the night. I stay up until 4 or 5 am and he takes over from there while I finally get to go lay down in our bed. We haven't slept together in the same bed for four months. Often times i will let baby sleep on my chest while I am napping sitting up on the couch because I am a light sleeper and I wake up every time he moves. But it's not ideal whatsoever. My back hurts and my sleep is bad. I miss sleeping with my husband. I miss sleeping in the dark. I wish my son would just sleep on his back like he's supposed to and I could put him in his bassinet and lay myself down without worrying he is going to suffocate or forget to breathe.
Surely I can't be the only preemie parent out there who lets her baby sleep on his tummy. This feels like my dirty secret. I feel so guilty that I'm not abiding by the sleeping rules. I told my doctor about it and she just nodded and didn't really say it was good or bad either way. Has anyone else had this problem? How long did it last? Did your baby eventually learn to sleep on his back?
And I want to add, my son is on Prevacid for the reflux and it has helped a great deal with his spitting up. However, it has done nothing to help the sleep issue. I can't help but wonder if maybe it's not the reflux that bothers my son's sleep positioning after all. I just don't know. Any advice? Please?