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Reflux and Sleep

Reflux and SleepWe all pray that when our baby is born he or she will be healthy, be a good eater and a good sleeper.

   

Having a baby can be a hugely overwhelming experience for some parents, and the idea of having this little person solely reliant on you in order to survive can be daunting. If the baby is healthy and is a good eater and sleeper, it paves the way for a smoother transition into parenthood. However, if a baby suffers from Reflux, which between 60-80% of babies do, it can make the parenting journey stressful and in some instances very unpleasant.

Reflux is a very challenging condition for any Parent to handle. Reflux is the condition whereby the contents of the stomach, mixed with stomach acid, flows back up the oesophagus and either out of the mouth or is swallowed back down (the latter is known as Silent Reflux). This is caused by an under developed sphincter muscle at the top of the stomach or in some instances food allergies, and causes significant discomfort for the baby. Reflux babies generally do not eat and sleep well and constantly cry and niggle when awake... simply put, an unhappy baby...which then results in an unhappy mom and dad. Often these babies can only fall asleep if rocked and/or patted, and then very seldom link their sleep cycles. Many parents tell us they can rock for up to 45 minutes only to get a 15 - 20 minute sleep out of their baby, before the crying starts again. Many Reflux babies don't feed well, instead they pull away, arching their backs and crying, and don't finish their feed, so snacking occurs throughout the day and often throughout the night. This feeding is often referred to as comfort feeding, as the baby is feeding to try and ease the pain, but is not necessarily hungry. This then leads to, besides sheer exhaustion for the Parents, a lack of routine, where a parent is constantly feeding and never sure if the reason why their baby is crying is because he is hungry, due to the last feed not being optimal, or if he is in pain – so confusion reigns. Parents are often left feeling frustrated and exhausted, and sadly often feel incompetent as parents.

    

If this is your situation, then Baby Love can help you! A parent who has a Reflux baby, that is on medication and thus is no longer in pain, BUT all the bad habits are still there – rocking to sleep, not linking his sleep cycles and still not taking in full feeds, i.e. snacking, can make use of the Baby Love strategy to regain some control. Because at this stage we are dealing with a behaviour and not an illness, and therefore implementing an age appropriate day time routine, and sleep training is possible, and is recommended, in order to help teach the baby how to self sooth, fall asleep unassisted and link his sleep cycles.

   

Sleep training cannot be implemented on a baby who is in pain, so the parent must be 100% certain that the medication is working and if the parent's natural intuition tells them there is nothing wrong – and that all they are now dealing with are bad habits, then it is fine to proceed with routine implementation and teaching their baby how to sleep.

   

Baby Love has helped many parents with Reflux babies who are on medication, so please don't use Reflux as an excuse not to implement an age appropriate routine and healthy sleeping habits, once the condition is under control. After all, you too deserve to experience a joyous, fulfilling and happy parenting journey.

  

Written by: Jacqui Flint (Owner of Baby Love)

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