In my last posting I promised I would share a few ideas that might provide you with more sleep if reflux is causing your child to be awakened throughout the night (and therefore for you to be awakened). And after a week of thought on it, I’ve decided that instead of presenting several ideas it would be much more helpful, instead, to emphasize one thing, the absolute number one thing, that can make a dramatic difference in how a child with reflux sleeps.
If you suspect your child has reflux or if he has been diagnosed with it, the number one thing you can do to improve his sleep is to maximize the treatment. Experts know reflux can cause sleep interruptions for many different reasons, not just the obvious burning in the esophagus. Those familiar with the potential far-reaching consequences of acid reflux also know that reflux can cause nasal swelling, ear infections and sleep apnea, just to name a few of the associated problems. And it probably goes without saying, but if your child is not being treated adequately, these repercussions will only be exacerbated.
In order to maximize treatment, you MUST find health care providers who are up-to-date with the treatment of acid reflux in babies and children. What you don’t want is your child being treated by a physician who thinks maybe you and your family are being continuously awakened by a baby who is screaming throughout the night "just because of a little colic." Finding a physician who is experienced with acid reflux medications can make all of the difference in how your child sleeps.
For example, before we found the wonderful care at Georgetown University Hospital, our son was waking up approximately 20 times a night. Three weeks after our first visit there (and a new dosage of medication), Ben was up only 10 times a night (looking back, I can’t believe what a relief that was). We then took a trip to the University of Missouri, and with a dosing change of medication, Ben was up only two or three times a night. And just a few months ago, our doctor at Georgetown added a different medicine at night, and Ben began sleeping through the night the same night he started the new medication.
The proper treatment can make a huge difference in sleep and elsewhere.
However, even with the best care, getting the treatment right can takes months (or in our son’s case), years. The best thing you can do to help your child is to somehow get the rest you need, while the doctors figure out the best things to do.
Read Tracy’s first blog about Waking Up With Reflux.
Visit the acid reflux message board.
Learn more about Tracy’s second edition of her book, Making Life Better for a Child With Acid Reflux. This edition brings in the voices of six medical experts who provide up-to-date knowledge about acid reflux in babies and children.
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.