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URGENT HELP PLEASE - do we need a sleep study??

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  • URGENT HELP PLEASE - do we need a sleep study??

    Hi - our son is nearly five and I'm worried that he may be showing signs of sleep apnea of some sort, possibly central as his breathing isn't always noisy. I know this will sound silly, but he still uses a baby breathing monitor at night, but as he has his first sleepover on Friday I'm in need of some urgent advice if that's ok? I'm not sure whether to send him with his monitor or not, or whether I would just gain a reputation for being a completely over neurotic mother for doing this??!

    To give you some background, from being a very small baby he had severe reflux and on one occasion, when he was a couple of weeks old, he went very floppy and unresponsive after a big feed, which led to me trying to revive him on the kitchen table as I suspected he had stopped breathing, but in my panic, I really can't remember noticing if his lips etc. were blue. The reflux eased when he was about one and a half, but we started to notice there were times when he would wake up with a gasp and/ or take a deep breath before going back to sleep, and also other times when I would wake up aware that he wasn't beathing properly and having to jiggle him to get him to take a proper breath. After this we got a Tommee Tippee Sure Sound breathing monitor which he would set off every couple of nights, sometimes several times a night. We are still using this at the moment, mainly out of habit though as I'm a lot more relaxed about it and usually wait for a minute or so to see if it stops before going to check on him, however I'm still fairly uneasy about removing this altogether. We have observed him during the alarm being set off and he is still breathing throughout which is comforting, but it is very shallow and he also looks quite pale. I usually jiggle him gently or try and get him to change position and he starts to breathe more strongly at this point, but I'm just not sure if this is a normal sleep pattern or not.

    I know the monitor isn't meant to be used after 18 months, but I'm too worried to remove it at the moment as I can't get a proper answer from the doctor, who probably thinks (and possibly rightly?!) that I'm just being an over-neurotic mother. The monitor sensor pad is very sensitive and can detect movement when brushing the (very thick) mattress lightly with a fingertip, however my son sets off the alarm when fully over the sensor pad and the alarm can sometimes continue to sound for over a minute at a time. He doesn't set it off every night but when he does, it's often several times a night.

    Does anyone else have any experience of this to know whether I should be pushing for a sleep test, or am I just being an overly flappy mother??

  • #2
    First off, you need a doctor's opinion, not ours.

    Your post raises questions in my mind. You seem to set great store by your alarm system and use it to get yourself to a high fever of anxiety BUT, in the last year, six months has it detected your child having a problem - a real, actual problem rather than fingers brushing the matress?

    I know kids snuffle and snort and stop breathing for considerable periods and this is, I believe, normal. I have no idea if it is normal for your son.

    If you are a flappy mum, accept that you are a flappy mum and acknowledge it to others - then at least you can have open conversations.

    Respironics REMstar 'M' Series APAP.
    Resmed Mirage 'Quattro FX' Full Face Mask with a 'Quattro' headgear.


    • #3
      When we sleep, the tongue tends to roll towards the back of the mouth, forming an obstacle in the passageway towards the throat, particularly if you sleep on your back. This often brings about snoring. In addition, young children very often have enlarged tonsils and adenoids, again forming a further obstruction to the free passage of air into the lungs.

      The combination of the two is the most likely explanation for your son's fitful sleeping. You don't mention your son's weight: is his weight high for his age and size?

      I would suggest you ask your GP for a referral to a paediatric respiratory specialist and express your concern that the problem is most likely over-size tonsils. Once you have identified the problem you will feel a lot better about it.

      But don't take my word for it - get a proper diagnosis from a proper doc.

      Talking of baby-alarms, a friend of mine recently went with his wife to spend the weekend with his son and daughter-in-law and their new baby. With the baby in his cot, the receiver was always close at hand: spending the evening watching TV , it was on the coffee-table in the living-room.

      Whenever baby cried, the parents would shoot upstairs pronto, and, of course, the gadget picked up what they were saying. So, amongst the 'diddums' and the 'coochie-coos', the parents were surprised to hear 'When are they going home? They're not going to stay another night, are they?' coming over the receiver.



      • #4
        Thanks for the replies - yes, I'll admit to being a bit of flappy mum! The monitor hasn't actually detected any life-threatening events, just very shallow breathing, which I guess if I'm honest, really worries me after the incident we had when he was a newborn - hence the reason I haven't stopped using it yet. I know the baby monitor won't do anything to save him, but would at least alert us to any potential problems occurring, although realistically, I doubt I would be able to remember what to do in a situation like that anyway as I was completely hopeless when he started choking a few years back and my poor brother in law had to step in to perform first aid!

        He is an average weight and height for his age and a very healthy, active little boy who only stops to sleep! He does have some problems concentrating and listening to people during the day, but I seem to remember I was the same as a child so it's probably fairly 'normal'! He doesn't snore all the time but usually thrashes around quite a lot in his sleep and gets very clammy, even in the winter months. He also sleeps with his mouth open a lot, which I gather can also be a symptom, however I'll try talking more openly to the doctor next time we need to go and perhaps see if they can look at his tonsils etc.

        In the meantime, I'll try not to flap so much!!


        • #5
          Advice for health

          I am sorry, that has interfered... But this theme is very close to me. I can help with the answer.


          • #6
            Ive Been there!

            I know how your feeling.......

            A few years ago lying in my bed, I heard my 5 month old son chuckling to himself in his cot, it was around 6.30am. He sounded happy and content so I laid there listning to him and eventually he nodded back off, so back to sleep I drifted. An hour later I rose and went to see if my son was awake, he had died.........

            After many years of mouring him and splitting with my partner, I found someone who I was ready to have a child too. I had another son. The hospital offered me a monitor to make sure my son wouldnt stop breathing, I refused it.

            I spent a whole year getting in and out of bed all night long checking on him if I couldnt hear him breathing or moving, to say it was hell was an understatement. A neurotic mother? I dont think so, more like one who cares and cherishes her child. I know at some point you will have to let your child grow up and do sleep overs but if your child is ok with his monitor then send it with him. At least you will have piece of mind. If in doubt about anthing contact your doctor and voice your concerns to him.......


            • #7
              Thanks all - I've just seen all the replies after logging in to my yahoo account, which I don't use very much. Our son has just been diagnosed with Dyspraxia which explains his lack of concentration and hyperactivity during the day, rather than lack of oxygen/ poor sleep. I also let him go to his sleepover without the mat and everything was fine. We still keep the monitor on at home, but as he grows older, I'm certainly getting less anxious about it.

              Also, I have now found a very good doctor at our practice who seems to take my concerns seriously (hence the recent dyspraxia diagnosis) so will risk talking to him about it when I next get the opportunity.

              Sparticus - thanks for sharing your experiences. I can't begin to imagine how devastating that must have been (and no doubt still is) for you. xx