Ask Joanne - My Baby Has Reflux And Won't Sleep

21/03/2010 22:16 | Updated 22 May 2015

What's your dilemma about any aspect of life as a parent? Our experienced life coach Joanne Mallon is here to answer your questions. Send your questions in here and say if you'd like your name to be changed.

Alison writes:

My one-year-old wakes up most nights with high pitched squealing and crying. It doesn't start with a little whimper, just straight into high pitch. She's had baby reflux since she was 3-months and is still on Gaviscon in her bottle going to bed. Please help! This can happen 4-5 times a night which sometimes wakes my other two kids. Also my husband and I are really tired.

Here's the life coach's reply:

Dear Alison

I'm not surprised you're tired: a year of waking up five times a night is nobody's idea of fun.

I really do have tremendous sympathy with you on this one because my daughter also had very bad reflux as a baby, and still suffers with it now at age ten. Though it's rare for the condition to carry on into childhood, and in most cases babies will outgrow it at around one. Hopefully your daughter is nearing the end of its effects.

I have found that it can be a struggle to get medical professionals to take it seriously because reflux is such a common condition which many young babies suffer from. Even so, it's worth speaking to your doctor about this and checking that you're on the right dose of medication. It's possible that as your baby's weight has increased, she may need a bit more medicine, or a change of treatment, to account for this. You'll find some useful tips on dealing with reflux from a specialist maternity nurse here.

However, let's not forget that this may not be all about the reflux. Your daughter is at the right age for teething, so this could be a factor. Teething powder is a good treatment for babies with reflux, since they are powder rather than liquid, and are therefore easier to administer. Dummies can also help.

Also, if she has never really slept at night, she may not know how to, so there could be an element of simply waking up through habit. You could try an approach such as controlled crying, but I don't think that this is appropriate when there are other medical factors coming in to play.

One thing I would look at is that bedtime bottle. Are you giving this directly before your baby goes to bed? She may be more comfortable if you move the bottle back an hour or half an hour, so it has more time to settle in her tummy before she lies down.

There are a number of different treatments for reflux, so take your doctor's advice as to which is most appropriate right now.

Best wishes to you all


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