If your baby’s dealing with reflux or GERD, it may not be the right time to start addressing their sleep issues, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some steps you can take to help avoid falling into some bad habits. Check out today’s video for some tips to help get you and your baby through this difficult scenario, avoid the pitfalls, and spot the right time to start helping your baby sleep independently.Rather read than watch? Click here.
Hi, I’m Dana. Today’s question is about reflux, and can you sleep train a baby who has or has had reflux in the past? So let me give you a few tips on how to navigate this. I do have to say that in all of my years of experience, I have found that babies who had reflux are a little bit harder to sleep train. And let me dive into what I mean by that. I don’t mean that it’s impossible. I mean that it’s absolutely doable, but it does tend to either take a little bit longer in days. So, for example, maybe your neighbor’s baby who didn’t have reflux took three nights, your baby who does have reflux might take five or six nights. So it could be the amount of nights it takes.
It could also be the duration of crying, again, your neighbor’s baby cried for 30 minutes, your baby’s crying for 45, this is very, very normal. So I think what I’m trying to say is manage your expectations going into the Sleep Sense Program with your baby who’s had reflex is very important, that you understand that you’re patient, that you know that this is common and that it’s just something we have to get through. And I think part of the reason is because a lot of babies who were struggling with it at a young age, it hurt to lie down. It hurts when you’re laying flat on your back. And so there might be some muscle memory there somewhere, that the crib is not that great of a place ’cause it caused me pain. So that could be a little bit sort of what’s going on underneath with your baby that could be leading to either extra crying or them just having a harder time finding their own strategies.
I do find too, if a baby had reflux, if it lasted for several months, they usually have really strong sleep prop associations because you usually, were most likely holding them upright when they fell asleep or you were doing some bouncing, or you were doing a lot of assistance in helping them get to sleep because they were in pain. And that’s no fault of yours. That’s completely expected if a baby has reflux, and I would never tell you otherwise, which leads to my second tip. I do find it’s better if you wait until the reflux is managed, meaning they’ve outgrown it, or you’ve adjusted the diet, or they have been on some sort of medication that has alleviated the symptoms. And once you feel like it’s managed, that the baby’s doing better, then you can start. I feel like it’s very hard to try to sleep train a baby right in the middle or right during, you know, this struggle, this, you know, the pain of the reflux. So I would, you know, tackle one thing at a time, get that under control, and then start the process.
I don’t believe that there’s any reason why you need wedges in the bed. There’s, you know, more and more evidence every day, suggesting that that’s not actually that helpful for these babies, and there’s some safety concerns around it. So I don’t think you need to do any modifications to the crib when you start the process. I think if they have a really strong dependency on you with the rocking to sleep, then the stay-in-the-room method is probably gonna be the best strategy to use so that you can kind of slowly break that connection between you and sleep. And finally, I wanna just say that it will help them in the long run to learn the skills for sleeping well. You know, a baby who’s been up lots of times in the night because of reflux or any other reason is carrying sleep debt, and we know that that’s not good for anyone. So even though this might be a little bit of a harder road for you and your child, it’s worth doing, it’s important to do because good quality sleep is everyone’s right.
Thanks for watching today, sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 107,000 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started – I’m looking forward to helping you!
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