Sleep Apnea In Infants And Safe Baby Sleep


Sleep apnea in infants is a frightening disruptor of baby sleep and is considered to be one of the causes of SIDS.

What are the causes and symptoms? Also, what kind of precautions can you take as a parent to protect your baby? Examine also how the family bed can help babies that are prone to sleep apnea.

sleep apnea in infants

A definition of this medical problem in babies refers to pauses in breathing of at least 20 seconds (compared to 10 seconds for an adult). Prolonged pauses in breathing cuts off oxygen from the brain which can cause brain damage or worse yet SIDS.

Symptoms may include:

  • Pauses in breathing of at least 20 seconds
  • Snoring or noisy breathing
  • Infant's skin is bluish color
  • Restless sleep
  • Breathing through the mouth

Babies may be more at risk if they have reflux, asthma or allergies. A premature baby may be more succeptible also because of having an immature nervous system.

My nephew was born a preemie and had severe asthma. My sister found him one day literally blue from lack of oxygen. She says it was the most frightening experience she has ever had.

My nephew lived. You see, he and his mom were bed sharing and the close proximity allowed my sister to monitor him closely.

Interestingly, another benefit of the family bed is the sharing of a breathing rhythm. Studies have shown that because of sleeping so closely the sound of the rhythmic breathing of the parent influences baby in a positive way to mirror the breathing pattern.

What kind of safety precautions can be taken?

  • Put your baby on his back to sleep so as not to block his airways
  • Make sure your baby's sleep environment is clean and free from dust or anything else that might cause respiratory problems including cigarette smoke, and must or mold
  • Use an air purifier to keep the air quality high
  • Don't allow baby to sit in an apparatus that curls him forward thereby cutting the oxygen supply
  • Use a monitor such as the one picture below - Angelcare Baby Movement and Sound Monitor

By taking into consideration what the causes and symptoms are as well as the precautions - even giving consideration to the family bed you might well protect your baby from sleep apnea.

Keeping my babies safe from harm moves me to take precautions on a daily basis. Being informed about sleep apnea in infants can help your baby have safe sleep and avoid SIDS.

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