Coping with Infant Sleep Disorders
You may think that sleep problems and sleep disorders are only for adults but infants can have them as well. Nighttime sleep is very important for us humans so it is good to understand these types of sleep disorders in children.
There are many different types of sleep disorders that your infant can suffer from but of course, only your pediatrician can properly diagnose them.
When your infant is just learning about sleep patterns, they mainly wake up during the night because of their need to eat frequently. Many sleep disorders are a learned behavior and aren’t so much a legitimate disease. Luckily, these learned disorders can be overcome without having to use medications and can usually be dealt with by simply changing the environment that the child is in to help to teach them to improve their sleep habits.
My child is having nightmares!
Some children, as they get older, will go through a period where they will suffer from nightmares or sleep terrors. Your child will usually outgrow these type of sleep disturbances.
Is sleep apnea only for adults?
A scary type of disorder is infant sleep apnea and is defined as an infant that stops breathing for a period of time while they are sleeping. The highest risk factor for having these medical problems is if your baby is born premature.
Usually, simply rubbing your baby or nudge them and they will start breathing again on their own but in very rare cases, infant CPR is needed to revive the baby. Your child may need to have a pediatric sleep study to narrow down the issue.
Having an infant that suffers from sleep apnea can be very scary for any parent. Imagine having to constantly fear that your child has stopped breathing. That could drive anyone crazy and keep parents sitting awake next to the crib every night until they fall asleep from exhaustion.
Parents of infants diagnosed with sleep apnea are required to go through an infant CPR course before they take their little nugget home.
Usually, when bringing home a baby with sleep apnea, you will be given a device called an apnea monitor. These monitors are attached to the baby’s chest with electrodes that monitor your infants breathing. It is tuned to your baby and will only sound if it detects abnormal breathing patterns. You may also be given a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device to help with the apnea.
If your baby’s breathing becomes shallow or stops altogether, the monitor will alarm and you’ll hear a loud alarm to alert you of the danger.
This sound can become very scary for parents, especially in the middle of the night.
Your baby will need to be attached to the monitoring device at all times while sleeping.
Sometimes, medical workers will visit your home to take readings from the monitor to make sure it is tuned properly and being used properly. Newer models are connected to the internet so the information can be transmitted without a visit.
Only your baby’s pediatrician can determine when the monitor is no longer necessary. He or she will discuss with you the progress of your baby before any decisions are finalized.
Here is a great monitor to help you make sure your child is still moving around in bed. You can check it out here.