Phenergan to help your baby sleep?
Should you turn to Phenergan to get your baby to sleep?
I saw something yesterday which left me feeling a little concerned. A very worn out mama on a Facebook forum had reached out to the cyber-mum community asking for help with her little one who wasn’t sleeping well at all.
Most of the comments were really supportive which made me so proud, it’s awesome to see Mums supporting other Mums. A few made suggestions here and there about what had worked for other mums. I was enjoying reading through what had worked and not worked for others when I came to a comment that I must admit disturbed me. A mum had initially suggested things like a chiropractor or osteo, but when the mum who had asked the question mentioned she’d already tried those options, it was suggested she see her GP to get some Phenergan to help the baby sleep.
In my mind, this is very dangerous advice, and a huge jump to go from looking at a natural approach to encouraging better sleep to straight up drugs. For those of you not aware, Phenergan is an antihistamine drug which has the side effect of often making the consumer very drowsy. It can be prescribed by a doctor for infant and child sleep, but this generally happens in pretty severe cases and is very much a short term ‘band aid’, it isn’t and shouldn’t be recommended willy-nilly as a sleep aid.
I guess what concerned me about this is that there are really vulnerable mums out there, and someone may take this advice to the extreme. Not a single person had commented suggesting this advice might be dangerous or possibly not the best approach. We wouldn’t recommend giving a baby brandy to help it sleep better, so why is it acceptable to suggest drugging a child with medication?
Of course, there are certain exceptions where medication is genuinely needed for sleep – often young children with autism will be prescribed melatonin (the sleep hormone) or a medication to help them sleep as they are more likely to have natural sleep disturbance as part of their condition. There are other instances where this may also be necessary too, but in general the majority of babies shouldn’t need medication to help them sleep. You can help your baby learn to sleep unaided from about 4 months of age, and you don’t have to compromise on your parenting philosophies to do so. If you prefer a more natural approach to helping your baby sleep, going from seeing an osteopath to giving medication probably won’t mesh well with you, in fact it may start alarm bells ringing in your head as it did in mine – so why not look at using a gentle approach to helping your little one sleep with less assistance instead? While they can take a little time and dedication, the long term benefits far outweigh the short term time spent.
Looking at your child’s entire day can hold huge benefit too. If they’re not resting in a sleep conducive environment, not eating well, or not napping in their natural sleep windows, these could all be contributing to you both not having the best sleep possible. By taking into consideration all these factors and more we can help set your baby up for better sleep naturally before implementing a settling technique to suit your parenting style and baby’s temperament.
If you’re worn out and feel like you’ve tried everything, don’t resort to medication just yet, instead give us a call. There’s no sleep concern we haven’t seen before, and the thousands of mums who have worked with us can attest to our ability to support your values while helping your little one (and the whole family) to get better sleep.
Sacha is a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant, mother of 2, and mentors sleep consultants internationally. She is currently finished her BSc in Psychology, and has helped hundreds of sleep deprived parents get the sleep they deserve. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss your child’s sleep situation.
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