Posted By Posting
Aug 11, 2010
dcd
Elevated Co Sleeping, Coughing at Night
I'm not sure if my daughter has a milk protein allergy that is COMPLICATING her reflux, or if her milk protein allergy is CAUSING her reflux. We're working on sorting that out. At any rate, her symptoms are all reflux, and one of the worst is the night waking. The pain starting seriously affecting her quality of life around 3 months, and since then (she'll be 6 months next Wednesday) we've been getting up several times a night to replace her pacifier and comfort her back to sleep when the burning wakes her up.

We recently bought the Tucker Sling, which is awesome. Her crib mattress is raised 5-6 inches and the sling helps her stay elevated without sliding to the bottom of the crib. Sometimes though, the night waking is still really bad and I'll resort to holding her to sleep while propped up with pillows in bed.

In this way, she is both elevated and close to me and sleeps much better. Of course, with this arrangement I don't sleep.

Lately I have felt a strong "maternal urge" to be close to her at night. In a practical sense I just don't have the energy to trek back and forth across the house all night anymore. But also, I just want to be near her during this time to comfort her immediately, until she feels better. Though I didn't sleep well those nights I've held her, it does feel right to be close to her.

I would like to start bringing her into bed with us at her first wakeup. Our bed would be against a wall, then there'd be her, then there'd be me. I think we will both sleep much better this way and it will allow me to comfort her in the night when needed, without having to get up.

My only concern is that she may still need to be elevated, and I'm not sure how to do that while co sleeping, without holding her. Should I raise our entire king-size bed? I know that there are bed lifts you can buy... Is there another option? What is the best option? Any feedback to those of you who co sleep with your little refluxer is most appreciated!

One other question...K has been coughing A LOT more in her sleep lately. And I've started noticing it some during the day too. What does anyone know about the relationship between reflux and chronic cough? Should I be worried that she is aspirating fluid into her lungs??

Aug 12, 2010
lorenzomama
Lorenzo b.4/25/07 1 week in NICU w/ aspirate pneumonia from a reflux episode; diagnosed GERD at 9weeks; Used Zantac for 5months. Currently using Chinese Medicine and Craniosacral Therapy. GERD, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder. Ask me about breastfeeding a refluxer! Pic: day 5 in the NICU.
I co-slept with Lorenzo for 3 years, and even now, his toddler bed is pushed up against my side of our bed. I found early on that, for him elevating the head of his bed didn't make much difference, but we have done it off and on over the years as we've tried on different approaches for different phases. The three methods that worked best for us at various times were 1) elevating the whole bed; 2) putting wedges under the fitted sheet on my side of the bed so that he and I were elevated and my husband was not; and, 3) putting a crib side-car style against the bed with the rail on that side removed, and elevating the crib mattress (that was my least favorite).

As for the coughing at night, I would definitely talk with her doctor(s) about it. It doesn't necessarily indicate aspirations -- coughing can be the body's natural defense against aspirating -- but it certainly can suggest micro-aspiration and/or the effects of it.

Aug 12, 2010
dcd
What's so frustrating right now is that I could ask my doctor about the coughing, but she won't know what to tell me. She doesn't know anything about reflux, which is why she's referred us to a specialist. And our first appointment with him isn't until the 25th. I'm sure that since K won't technically be his patient until after that first appointment, he won't advise us over the phone. Plus, I doubt I'd be able to get him directly anyway. Meanwhile she's gotten worse and I'm trying make decisions about sleeping, formula, and meds by myself, with the help of the internet (which has actually been a tremendous resource) and the very limited knowledge of our family doctor. Ugh.

Anyway, last night we co slept for the first time and it went very well. We pushed our king size bed against one wall and stuffed the tiny gap with pillows. I made a little elevated "nest" for K by stacked bath towels and placing them under the fitted sheet. We put her to sleep at 6:30 in her room as usual, but when she woke up at 2 a.m. brought her to our bed. Beside me, she didn't wake up the rest of the night. She stirred without making noise several times but I was able to comfort her with just my hand on her back. The whole family woke up more rested this morning and I'm not sure why we didn't do this months ago!

I did order a small crib wedge from Amazon and plan to replace the bath-towel-nest with it once it arrives. The only problem with the nest, and presumably the wedge also, is that she tended to slide off the elevated surface, to one side or the other, all night. I think I'm going to need to fashion some bolster-type "rails" out of rolled up towels and place them under the fitted sheet too on either side of the nest to keep her in place.

Aug 12, 2010
lorenzomama
Lorenzo b.4/25/07 1 week in NICU w/ aspirate pneumonia from a reflux episode; diagnosed GERD at 9weeks; Used Zantac for 5months. Currently using Chinese Medicine and Craniosacral Therapy. GERD, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder. Ask me about breastfeeding a refluxer! Pic: day 5 in the NICU.
She went to sleep at 6:30 and didn't wake up until 2am? Is that an unusually long time for her, because that sounds like a fantastic stretch to me, even for a little one without reflux....
Aug 12, 2010
lorenzomama
Lorenzo b.4/25/07 1 week in NICU w/ aspirate pneumonia from a reflux episode; diagnosed GERD at 9weeks; Used Zantac for 5months. Currently using Chinese Medicine and Craniosacral Therapy. GERD, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder. Ask me about breastfeeding a refluxer! Pic: day 5 in the NICU.
oops, I meant to add something about the coughing....

An acute aspiration cough sounds very wet and junky, usually, and may be accompanied by fever if infection is developing. That would, in my opinion, warrant asking you physician to put in a STAT request to get in to see either the GI or a Pulmonologist. If it is a drier cough, and if it is in fact the result of aspiration, it may help ease the wait to know that with micro-aspirations the concern is generally one of long term respiratory health, so waiting a few weeks to get the ball rolling is not necessarily a big problem (although I know for myself that it drives me nuts to be ready to get some answers and have to wait for scheduling...).....

Aug 12, 2010
dcd
Typically, she goes down at 6:30 and will stir for the first time around 9-10. We don't go to bed till around 9:30-10 ourselves, so the first stir isn't a problem for us (though I know none of them are fun for her!)

There's never any way of knowing how she'll do once we're in bed...most of the time, the fitfulness starts again around 11 or midnight. From there, she might wake up just once more, or every hour or two (of course, we've had our nights of every 15-30 mins as well!)

Lately, I would say she's averaging 2-4 wakeups a night (after we're bed) including her feeding. On the very rare occasion that she's feeling good (basically only immediately following a NAET treatment) she sleeps like a rock - 12 hours without moving.

I can definitely tell when the pain's really bothering her - the sleep is always first part to get worse.

I know she "wants" to be a good sleeper. As a newborn she always slept for at least 4 hour stretches at night and by 3 weeks she was sleeping 9 hrs at a night. Then the reflux reared it's ugly head, starting to seriously affect her quality of life between 3 and 3 1/2 months...and we haven't slept well since. :)

Thank you so much for the clarification on the coughing! Her coughs sound dry to me, not wet or junky. But, they are definitely disruptive to her sleep and can be pretty intense. I think we can wait to ask the GI, for now, but I will definitely keep an eye on it. (Like I do anything else these days but worry about her reflux...)

Aug 13, 2010
haylee bug
Mother of a reflux baby
Elevated Co Sleeping, Coughing at Night
I'm no expert here, but here's my experience with the sleep issues. I know once my daughter started teething she would cough at night because she produce ALOT of drool from sucking so hard on her pacifer at night. I too co-sleep for the very reason of her constant night waking, but found the elevating didn't really make a differance for us. She started the same thing around six months waking several times a night (only after a brief period of good sleep between four and six months) for her pacifer. After her first two teeth came in she started sleeping better again, until the teething process started again several months later. Now I'm in the same boat with the constant wakings, but my little one is almost a year old so she can now put her own pacifer back in her mouth! I would talk to your doctor about the coughing though just to ease your mind. As a side note, our doctor explained to us that babies will often start waking up a lot at night when teething and when reaching new milestones (eg; rolling over, walking, sitting up, talking) because they want to practice all the time. My daughter started doing that around seven months were she would just sit up in up every two hours and the doctor said it's because she learned something new and wants to practice.
Check with your
doctor first!