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-   -   Reflux and sleeping on the back (http://www.mothering.com/forum/371-nicu-preemie-parenting/1370022-reflux-sleeping-back.html)

ethylester 12-11-2012 11:19 PM

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?


Janna Ledbetter 07-02-2013 02:53 PM

My son was born at 31 wks and 4 days and he has had reflux also. He too was in an elevated hospital bed but when we got him home he refused to sleep on his back even if we elevated his bassinet. He would sleep for a few minutes and then wake up gasping and choking. I found that the easiest way for him to sleep was on my chest and me elevated. He slept and didn't reflux that way. I worry constantly about SIDS but I just have to trust that if the Lord saw him through his NICU stay that he will see him safely through the night. I haven't had a good nights sleep in almost 6 months so I understand what you are going through. I wake up at his slightest movements and wake up all through the night to check to make sure he is breathing. I worry about SIDS but I also worry that if he is on his back and refluxes that he could choke on it. So I guess it would be whatever makes you feel better because either situation is scary to me.


Ratchet 07-06-2013 12:44 PM

5 Attachment(s)

Do you still see neonatologists in follow-up?  One option I have heard people doing is having baby on his/her stomach, with an apnea monitor.  But you would really need to prove you needed it- so maybe do a symptom diary over a week of position, how long he slept, etc.  Bring it with you when you talk to the neonatologists (or your own pedi).  Ask what else can be done to deal with the problem (ie the apnea monitor, or different med, etc), or ask for a referral to someone who knows more.  Push through the system until you meet with the person who can give you what you need- some tool to address this issue.  And while all that is going on, hopefully some other things to try at home could be suggested here... but honestly this is a very tough issue, that gets better with time, but otherwise it's hard to know what helps.  Especially with preemies, the issue is more likely to be anatomy (not just something in mom's diet or in how the baby is fed/ positioned etc).


Melany 07-08-2013 09:11 AM

They sent us home from the hospital with a wedge. It looks a lot like the "nap nanny" that was recalled. 

 

The problem with tilting the mattress is baby just slides down to the end of the bed. They need something under their bottom to hold them up, but without the side supports of the wedge, my 4 month old will end up sideways on that, too. 


Twincessmamma 08-29-2013 02:58 AM

Have you considered Chiropractic Adjustment for your baby? I was absolutely amazed at how many little issues a spine/neck/hips that are not aligned perfectly could cause.

 

My smallest twincess suffered from silent reflux and she didn't gain weight as expected. My lactation consultant suggested taking her to a chiropractor and although I was sceptical at first, I was amazed at the results. Not only did the adjustment solve our breastfeeding issues (she only nursed in certain positions, but this was due to her spine being out of alignment and this caused her to not gain weight like she should have), it helped the reflux tremendously too.


Reading about your son preferring to sleep in certain positions made me think of this. It could be the reflux, but it could also be that he is physically uncomfortable on his back.


baileyandmikey 09-11-2013 09:41 PM

Here's my take... my twins were a month early, they both had severe reflux.  They spent about a month in the NICU on thier bellies sleeping, and once we came home it was difficult.  So, we bought fisher price Rock and Plays, and they have slept in them/ along with co sleeping at times.  DD was on an apnea monitor for 5 months, so that was extra security.  BUT THE BEST NEWS IS THEY GROW OUT OF IT!!!!  I never thought I'd say that... but this week... my babies Reflux has disappeared! No more medicine, no more spit up, it just is gone! After 7 long months, the spit up is nearly gone!


MaggieLC 09-27-2013 09:28 AM

I'm not giving advice.

 

Our youngest child was a preterm baby. Born at 36 wks gest. She had reflux and was one of those babies who flailed around and woke herself up with the slightest movement.

 

After a few weeks of trying to keep her on her side or her back, I finally gave up and just put the baby on her tummy, My two older children were born in the 80s, when all babies were put to sleep on their tummies. I was also a preterm baby, with reflux and I slept on my tummy.  We're all still alive.

 

I think the whole SIDS things has been blown out of proportion. Not that it isn't important, it does happen. But, it's still rare. Even though SIDS only effects 0.05% of babies, it scares parents like nothing else. The most important risks factors are not breastfeeding and smoke in the air. The "back sleeping" thing is way down on the list.... but telling parents to put babies on their backs doesn't "offend" people like telling them not to smoke, or to breastfeed, or other things,  so the "Back to Sleep" campaign was born.

 

A "new" risk factor has recently come to light. Babies who start Day Care before 4 months are at a much higher risk of SIDS. But, sadly, as telling new parents that breastfeeding and staying home (for a minimal 4 months) actually can reduce the SIDS rate MORE than "back sleeping" is seen as "making people feel bad" the news goes untold.

 

From CNN.com: Preliminary research also suggests that babies who begin daycare before 4 months of age... may be at increased risk as well. In the most recent AAP analysis, about 20 percent of all SIDS deaths occurred while the baby was in the care of someone other than a parent. One third of the infants died during the first week of childcare, and half those deaths occurred on the very first day.

 

Day Care centers are fanatical about putting babies on their backs to sleep.... so it's something else about being separated from Mama.

 

Hmm.

 

Anyway, the Back to Sleep campaign has not been as successful as the press tells us.  Also there has been a lot of code shifting in Coroner's and Medical Examiner's  Offices, which means that many cases of SIDS are, since the "Back to Sleep" campaign, have been attributed to other diagnoses, (called "codes" in medical records) making it look like the rate of SIDS is dropping because of "Back to Sleep."

 

MANY families bedshare, why this practice has been SO attacked by the medical profession is a mystery, (none of my MD female clients bed shared, but none of them said SIDS was the reason. Convenience and Sleep Training efforts were.)  All around the world, people sleep share, but Industrial nations seem to have more SIDS than any other.

 

It's a scary thing. So, without giving advice, I'm just saying my pre-term baby slept on her tummy. She always woke up to nurse and we had a fairly healthy baby, despite increased respiratory infections that one expects with a preterm baby. Yes, I told my Ped, and she put it in the chart "Infant sleeps prone." She also put, "Infant is completely breastfed." She also told me, "The breastfeeding pretty much cancels out the baby's 'risk" of sleeping on her tummy." (I have a very pro breastfeeding Ped. She only worked part time while her own children were small and breastfed her own children into toddlerhood and co-slept she's the ONLY MD Mama I know who has done this.)  She told us to not allow cigarette smoke anywhere near our baby, and also asked us to please not use our fireplace the first winter our preterm baby was with us. We did as she asked.

 

It's a real maze to navigate and you have to do what you are comfortable with, but taking turns staying up and watching the baby sleep can't be healthy for you, your DH or even your baby. I think we've been scared beyond the risk about SIDS. Mama, you need to sleep, and you need to follow your heart as to how you can attain that goal.

 

:Hug


fayebond 10-05-2013 03:00 PM

Quote

 

It's a scary thing. So, without giving advice, I'm just saying my pre-term baby slept on her tummy. She always woke up to nurse and we had a fairly healthy baby, despite increased respiratory infections that one expects with a preterm baby. Yes, I told my Ped, and she put it in the chart "Infant sleeps prone." She also put, "Infant is completely breastfed." She also told me, "The breastfeeding pretty much cancels out the baby's 'risk" of sleeping on her tummy." (I have a very pro breastfeeding Ped. She only worked part time while her own children were small and breastfed her own children into toddlerhood and co-slept she's the ONLY MD Mama I know who has done this.)  She told us to not allow cigarette smoke anywhere near our baby, and also asked us to please not use our fireplace the first winter our preterm baby was with us. We did as she asked.

 

It's a real maze to navigate and you have to do what you are comfortable with, but taking turns staying up and watching the baby sleep can't be healthy for you, your DH or even your baby. I think we've been scared beyond the risk about SIDS. Mama, you need to sleep, and you need to follow your heart as to how you can attain that goal.

 

:Hug

 

Also totally not giving advice.  My sister had kids far back enough to be told they had to sleep on their side OR ELSE.  I'm skeptical of the whole must-sleep-on-back business.  Its just not backed up by enough evidence, and frankly, they were equally grave about tummy sleeping OR ELSE to my mom when she took my little brother in for appointments.  I'm old enough to remember that, yes, and it did kinda freak me out at the time. :)  So it was a big deal that you sleep on the tummy, then it was a big deal that they sleep on thier side, and now its a big deal that they sleep on their back.  It sounds like you really need to not freak out mama.  Your doc probably didn't say anything because he doesn't want to go on record against the big bts campaign.  Mine wouldn't either.  But what's next they have to sleep on thier feet?



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