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Infant sleep apnea

What is infant sleep apnea?

Infant sleep apnea is a condition where a baby stops breathing during sleep for twenty seconds or longer. Infant sleep apnea is much more common in premature babies (preemies) or babies with other medical conditions and diseases. If you suspect your baby has sleep apnea contact your doctor immediately. Sleep apnea in infants can be diagnosed through testing.

Causes of infant sleep apnea

Infant sleep apnea can happen due to a blockage of the airways, such as with reflux or other respiratory diseases (asthma, allergies or hay fever), or by the brain not signaling the body to breathe as it should such as with an immature nervous sytem. An obstruction of the airways can also be caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, although these are more common in children than infants.

Symptoms of infant sleep apnea

Symptoms of infant sleep apnea can include but are not limited to any of the following:

  • Snoring

  • Pauses in breathing of twenty seconds or more

  • Bluish color

  • Breathing through the mouth rather than the nose

  • Restless or poor sleep
  • Treatments for infant sleep apnea

    If your baby has stopped breathing touch or nudge him, gently at first to elicit a response. If there is none immediately call 911. Treatments for ongoing infant sleep apnea can include medication, surgery, or your physician may choose no treatment in the hopes that it will go away as your baby matures.

    Safety measures for infant sleep apnea

    If you suspect infant sleep apnea discuss it with your doctor and follow any treatments he recommends. At home and in the car there are several safety measures you can take.

  • Always put your baby in a position that allows the airways to remain clear.

  • Avoid bouncy seats, swings, and baby carriers that can curl or spoon your baby forward.

  • We recommend an apnea wedge for both back and tummy sleeping (with physician's recommendation or permission) to improve positioning, decrease chances of blocked airway

  • Talk to your physician about getting a breathing or angel care monitor to provide you peace of mind and help you sleep better.

  • Take a course on infant CPR and be sure to have an infant cpr dvd on hand that you can watch frequently.

  • Use an infant positioning wedge in the carseat, bouncy seat, or stroller to improve positioning for better breathing.

  • Wash baby's bedding and clean the home environment frequently to remove dust, dust mites, pollen and pet dander which can worsen respiratory illnesses that trigger apnea.

  • Only use natural baby products to eliminate other repiratory triggers.

  • Consider purchasing an air purifier for baby's room or the household. This will further eliminate respiratory triggers.
  • Looking for products for infant sleep apnea?

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    More information:

    Baby reflux or colic?
    Infant acid reflux and colic home remedies
    Alternative treatments for infant acid reflux
    Medications for infant acid reflux
    Tests for infant acid reflux