Stridor and Baby Sleep
Finding our your baby has a stridor or Laryngomalacia might be a bit scary.
What is a stridor?
It is a noise your baby makes like the video below, it can be high pitched or raspy, and can occur when feeding and active, or only while sleeping. It can be worse after bouts of crying, or better after crying. These differences, all help your Dr make a diagnosis around what is happening.
If something creates a blockage in the breathing passages then this creates turbulence in the passage of air, this then creates noisy breathing which is commonly referred to as a stridor.
Stridor can occur while breathing in, while breathing out, or during both phases of the breathing cycle.
They can be diagnosed as early as a few weeks old in a newborn, they can be mild and resolve themselves in the babies first 4 months of life, or they can represent a larger issue and need medical intervention.
If you think your baby makes abnormal sounds while feeding or sleeping, please see your Dr about a diagnosis as although these can be minor and something your baby grows out of, they can also be serious need intervention.
Often we see reflux association with laryngomalcia as your baby has to co-ordinate breathing and sucking, and they might be having trouble with their breathing, so they take in excessive air while feeding and this can increase the likelihood of re-fluxing occurring.
The effort required to breathe can also result in a lower pressure in the chest cavity while feeding, this makes it easier for milk and stomach acid to back flow to the food pipe and lower throat.
So when we are working with infants with stridors, we often treat their sleep the same as those with reflux. They might need extra time upright after a feed, they might need reflux medications, and your Dr will tell whether they need their bed elevated.
Sometimes they will wake from a nap sooner than planned due to the reflux symptoms and need re-settling upright, or their breathing has become difficult and this wakes them from their nap. Similarly they would need help re-settling in a more upright position than their beds.
Often with clients who have stridors, we try to avoid any cry based sleep training as this can often make the problem worsen. So its ideal to gentle work on healthy sleep habits from birth, so we don’t have any major corrections to make when baby is older. A good sleep environment, nice positive sleep association, and avoiding over tiredness, as the crying bought on by over tiredness will make your baby cry more, and thus the stridor worsens, which can cause some babies to panic, cry more and sleep less!
Check out the video for one example of what a Stridor can sound like, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Dr if you are concerned about your babies breathing at all!
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