Sleep deprivation – top tips for parents!
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Mandy Gurney
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Former Director of the Sleep Clinic at the NHS St Charles hospital in London and Director of Millpond Sleep clinic. She also works as an NHS Sleep educator to health professionals across the UK.
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Baby Sleeping

Reflux, other medical problems and baby sleep

If you are concerned about your baby's sleep problem, it is worth taking her along to see the doctor to rule out an underlying medical problem.
Video Tutorial
In Short

Medical problems that can effect sleep include:

Reflux or silent reflux.

Adenoids, enlarged tonsils and glue ear.

If you have any concerns that your child may have a sleep problem with an underlying medical issue, then the best thing to do is go is record videos of your baby or child’s disrupted sleep, keep a sleep diary to show patterns of the problem and take them along to show your child’s doctor.

Medical conditions that can cause sleep problems – see your Doctor

Reflux or silent reflux

Some babies – especially premature babies – have underdeveloped muscles above their stomach (sphincters), which means that acidic stomach contents can leak back up into the feeding tube (oesophagus) and the back of the mouth. This can be painful and more likely to happen in milk feeding babies as they have liquid food. Reflux strikes during sleep after a feed, especially when babies are lying down on their back to sleep. Usually, you see the milk coming back up, but not always.

Adenoids, enlarged tonsils and glue ear

Like tonsils in the back of your throat, adenoids help children keep infections in the nose at bay by trapping bacteria and viruses before you breathe them into your lungs or swallow them. Adenoids start to shrink by the time children start school. If your baby or child’s adenoids are very big they can get frequently infected this can really affect your baby or child’s sleep quality. Look out for:

  • A stuffy or squeaky nose, so the child breathes through his mouth
  • Snoring.
  • Lots of waking up.
  • Sleep apnea, where your child stops breathing for a few seconds.
  • Sleepy during the day.
Note
Film your baby or child asleep to show the doctor.

Swollen or big adenoids can also lead to problems with hearing, because they can press on the entrance of the Eustachian tubes (these tubes drain fluid from the middle ear and maintain air pressure in the ear). If the tubes get blocked fluid can build up in the middle ear and cause glue ear. Prolonged glue ear needs to be treated promptly to prevent hearing problems and language delay.

Sleep diary and videos

If you have any concerns that your child may have a sleep problem with an underlying medical issue, then the best thing to do is go is record videos of your baby or child’s disrupted sleep, keep a sleep diary to show patterns of the problem and take them along to show your child’s doctor.

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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.