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Best apnea monitor - clip or mat?

(26 Posts)
atrcts Sat 06-Jul-13 11:04:28

I have a lovely little prem baby who, because he is born early, has not developed his sphincter fully and has terribly painful reflux.

We've medicated but it doesn't make any difference because there is no medication that develops an underdeveloped sphincter, it's just a game of wait-and-grow!

Meanwhile, we are finding it IMPOSSIBLE to put our baby down, all day every day. He either is horribly sick, or writhing around screaming in pain.

The GP has suggested it would be appropriate to front sleep him, and this has also been supported by the hospital. All of the advice given is 'unofficial' and 'behind closed doors', because it goes against the current guidelines.

I am completely unnerved by this. I am desperate to sleep, as is my partner. As is our newborn baby. And this could go on for months.

But I really am scared to risk SIDS. So I've decided that the best compromise is to get a sensor alarm. I've read reviews for the Angelcare sensor monitor which the baby lies on, or the Respisense sensor monitor that is clipped to the baby's waist.

I have no idea which is best and would appreciate any information anyone has about either of these, to help me make an informed choice.

Does anyone

atrcts Sat 06-Jul-13 11:05:06

oops hit send a bit too early!

Does anyone have any information to help me out here?

stargirl1701 Sat 06-Jul-13 11:12:48

I can't advise about a monitor but I did find a sling really helped with DD who had silent reflux (not prem). I used a Moby wrap and Kari-Me until 6 months and then switched to an Ergo. She slept really well in the sling as she was upright.

Have you thought about a sleeping wedge?

Wedges available here:

Have you heard about this forum?

atrcts Sun 07-Jul-13 05:30:12

Thanks - we use a wrapsody sling (exactly like a moby, but different material), but often he's writhing around in that too. Upright and close isn't always the answer, and certainly doesn't allow for sleep to be had, but we do it anyway not least to be 'hands free'. I'm sure that it maximises the emotional comfort if nothing else.

We've also already bought new reflux wedges but he just can't handle it. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised as he's often uncomfortable/vomiting while upright in the sling too.

But I haven't heard of the website and so will go and have a look, thank you for that.

Sunnysummer Sun 07-Jul-13 05:43:24

Bumping as we're keen to find out to help our own little refluxer hmm

The slings are helping us, but we also find that the wedges aren't enough. Our HV said another lady in our area whose child had extremely severe reflux was helped by a giant wedge you can get called the res-q wedge, I've been hesitant so far because of the cost but am getting tempted! It holds them at a proper 45 degree angle and can be used for stomach sleeping, apparently.

atrcts Sun 07-Jul-13 08:39:43

I'd also seen the 45 degree tilt wedge but it won't fit in the pushchair and if he can't sit upright in me without wriggling, screaming and vomiting then I'm guessing it won't make much difference for us hmm

Good luck with your little one - it kind of dampens down the joy of a cute little newborn as we are wishing the little stage away, holding our breath for a nice strong-fully-developed-sphincter!

DoodleAlley Sun 07-Jul-13 08:48:38

We use an old tommee tippee sensor pad and it's fairly reliable until they start moving around.

We are using it on our second refluxy baby.

I've considered the clip but they look so big and dd can fall asleep in evening any time between seven and eleven so I don't know when we would put it on her under her sleeping bag. That said there is a clip on one out there that vibrated them if they haven't breathed for fifteen seconds which sounds like a good idea.

Don't give up on the meds though - as our paediatrician said its trial and error for finding the right ones, there are thickeners, antacids, ones that move food through more quickly. Sorry if you know all this already.

atrcts Sun 07-Jul-13 13:36:53

It's good to know you've used a sensor pad with good effect. The thing that concerned me about the clip was that it has to attach to the nappy and that restricts changing position (without undressing every 5 minutes!).

We tried Gaviscon to thicken the milk so it will be more heavy and less easy to vomit, but after several weeks it became apparent that it wasn't working. Ranitidine (antacid) was trialled next but again, with little effect. Domperidone was discussed as a gut motility drug, but because I have been feeding for a max of 10 mins every 1 1/2 - 2 hours (little and often), it was considered to have the same effect as speeding up the rate milk is processed and so would not make any difference.

Omeprazole (another antacid that works in a different way to ranitidine) was also discussed but it was felt that if nothing else worked then that probably wouldn't either, because you can't medicate a sphincter into growing and maturing like it needs to, and altogether the take home message was "there is no chemical drug that will sort a mechanical problem".

Hence - we were set on our way to wait for him to grow out of it!

atrcts Sun 07-Jul-13 13:39:07

Out of interest, you mention you're using your sensor mat on your new reflexy baby, is that out of a concern about vomiting risks or are you front sleeping for comfort?

freelancegirl Sun 07-Jul-13 13:45:01

I had a respisense clip monitor for no health reason - i
was just rather paranoid in the early days probably something to do with having had recurrent miscarriags before ds. I found it really helped give me peace of mind. But when DS started to sleep on his tummy he got a bit sore where the monitor was and the skin rubbed. It looked quite raw. I moved it thinking it was just a one off but it happened again twice and so I stopped using it. So maybe it's not best for tummy sleeping.

redwellybluewelly Sun 07-Jul-13 13:54:40

I note you've tried lots of dtugs but have you explored changing his milk? I wasn't sure from your post if you were BFing or not in which case I found cutting out dairy although if didn't solve reflux it certainly reduced it. Took two weeks to see a difference. We didn't use a sensor as baby slept in with me but she wasn't prem.

I hope you find a solution soon/that your son grows quickly, its so exhausting.

atrcts Sun 07-Jul-13 15:12:36

Thanks Freelancegirl it s good to know that my suspicions aren't unfounded as I was concerned about the rubbing/soreness.

Redwellybluewelly I had wondered about cutting out dairy as I'd read from the refluxer website that dry skin can be a sign of milk intolerence., and his skin is just peeling off!

I an breastfeeding. Did you cut it dairy out altogether or just cut down? I don't eat cheese, haven't had a yogurt for about a week and only have skimmed milk on my breakfast every day as well as in my cups of decaf tea/coffee. Other than that I have no dairy so wouldn't be too hard to cut out 100% if required. Anything for sleep!

Sunnysummer Sun 07-Jul-13 20:59:07

Our gastroenterologist had us try cutting out dairy and soy - his advice was that the majority of babies who are allergic to dairy are also allergic to soy. He also said to expect a dramatic change in 3-4 days, and a full change by 4 weeks - it seems like a lot of women are unnecessarily cutting out dairy because they see changes over many weeks that are actually a result of the system maturing.

The omeprazole didn't work much for us, but if you are desperate for sleep then it may be worth a try. The idea is that unlike ranatidine, it totally blocks acid production, making a very dramatic difference. Even though it is still a mechanical problem like you mention, the dramatically reduced acidity means that when the reflux does inevitably happen there is still much less acid in babies oesophagus, meaning less immediate pain and reduced long term damage and inflammation.

This is why for mild cases they use positional changes, but more extreme ones will almost always end up on large doses of omeprazole.

It sadly still isn't enough for DS at the moment, but they are looking to increase his dose - we've decided to give that a shot, but if it doesn't work out we'd also rather have him off meds unless they're making a real difference.hmm

atrcts Sun 07-Jul-13 22:15:23

As of tonight I am curing out dairy and soy, and will see how it goes by the end of the week!

MeerkatMerkin Sun 07-Jul-13 22:24:31

I don't have experience of a refluxy baby, but I used the Angelcare monitor and found it to be excellent.

If it were me I might be considering a night nurse while DC is still tiny, but obviously that depends on finances. I couldn't actually afford one but it's what came to mind when I read this. You must be out of your mind with lack of sleep.

CoolaSchmoola Sun 07-Jul-13 22:38:13

DD was classed as an attachment risk baby in relation to SIDS.

We have an Angel care monitor, but she also had a heart/sats/respiratory monitor issued by a paediatric consultant. This one had the sticky sensors and an electrode that strapped to her foot. The wires then plugged into the monitor.

Once set up properly (getting the sensitivity setting right isn't always easy, and you DO need a solid board under the mattress) the Angel care gave the same true alarms as the massively expensive hospital monitor.
The hospital monitor false alarmed regularly because the sensors would move or loosen as she moved, and the loss of contact would trigger an alarm (and frighten the shit out of me!)

Anything with a sensor attached to the baby is at risk of being dislodged and causing an alarm. The Angel care is, IMO, less prone to false alarms than attached monitors, is reliable and allows freedom of movement.

Having spent ten months leaping up like a gazelle to a vast amount of alarms caused by loosened or moved sensors I would always recommend a pad over over anything that attaches to a baby.

The hospital monitor false alarmed rwgu

CoolaSchmoola Sun 07-Jul-13 22:39:00

*at risk not attachment risk. Bloody phone.

atrcts Sun 07-Jul-13 22:46:39

Coola - thanks for the info. Can i just ask, when you say needing a board under the mattress, is the MDF of the cot sufficient or does it need something extra?

DoodleAlley Sun 07-Jul-13 23:22:30

Hi DD is a silent refluxer she gags in her sleep but we keep her on her back and she can choke even when being held up.

But we can't get her on her back in the day.

The pad just gives us reassurance that she is still breathing

Dd fed much like you are doing and we still got prescribed domperidone (as well as peptac and ranitidine) and I have to say that I think it's making a difference. And te feeds have started having longer breaks in between as I think she isn't feeding to smooth her reflux so I'd suggest giving it a go.

atrcts Wed 10-Jul-13 01:04:23

Appreciate everyone's input.

I bought the Angelcare A300 motion only sensor, and it's absolutely brilliant so far.

It is so reassuring to find that I have a back up (obviously still checking in person regularly too), and that the poor little mite can have some more comfortable positions when at his worst reflux-wise.

I expected to have false alarms but haven't had a single one yet, and used it an awful lot today. So far so good grin

DoodleAlley Wed 10-Jul-13 23:36:13

Glad you found a good solution for you.

There will be doom-Sayers who tell you that you're making a rod for your own back and that you will get over reliant on it but you do what works for you at the time and it sounds a good decision.

As they get older and DS' reflux improved we got more confidence and getting rid of it happened fairly

Now all we need is for DD's reflux to get better. Hope your little one continues to do well and wishing you many worry free nights of sleep!

atrcts Fri 12-Jul-13 17:23:29

Thanks DoodleAlley, I can imagine some people would overly rely on a monitor but In my case (possibly being a second time mum?) I have to say as soon as he can roll around independently, as far as I'm concerned it's fair play and he's the same as any other infant of the same age, so the monitor can stop. Besides, we only use it to front sleep, if he ever (rarely) settles on his back we wouldn't feel the need.

I've cut out dairy for a few days and have to say not only is his skin looking much less dry and peeling, his reflux has ever so slightly improved some of the time now. That means there is at least one cycle between feeds in a 24 hour period when we can put him successfully after just holding him upright for 45 minutes.

Hard to know if it's fairly linked or just that he's a wee bit older, but am pleased whatever the reason!

DoodleAlley Fri 12-Jul-13 23:33:36

Oh just take whatever glimmer of hope you can.

It will get better over time and also the things you do to cope just become more routine as well, so you notice them less which helps.

DoodleAlley Fri 12-Jul-13 23:37:33

I dot know if your first child had reflux. Mine did.

He projectile vomited numerous times a day til he was about eight months when it started very slowing improving but was still occurring at one.

He is now four and handles a wide variety of foods, is happy and healthy and you can tip him upside down and swing him from his legs straight after a meal with no ill effects - to him at least!

He also had a temporary dairy intolerance for a few months.

Now he wasn't prem but I always keep his progress in mind when dealing with DD's reflux, albeit that she is much more of a silent refluxer.

atrcts Sat 13-Jul-13 09:31:36

Yes, our first baby had reflux as well. I naively told everyone that, because we had experienced reflux once, then we wouldn't get it again. shock Famous last words!

Our first was also forceps delivery, so very bruised and really troubled from the start, and being first time parents it was hard to tell what was what.

He was always sick but never projectile vomiting, so it took me a while to realise what was going on. Eventually we medicated him with Gaviscon and then when weaned at 6 months, stopped it.

Very soon after we had to hospitalise him because he developed severe apnea. He would even stop breathing in the middle of a feed! After examining him thoroughly the doctors said it was reflux causing that automatic reflex newborns have for the first year (which allows them to be safely submerged in water because they hold their breath). Apparently silent reflux is a bit like submerging them under water - nice!

So we had to put him back on Gaviscon until he was a year old and then strictly wean the doses down over a few months. He was fine after that. But it made me realise he was probably more severe than I'd first thought, and because I seemed to be coping, everyone at the GP surgery didn't seem to think to offer any further medication/support (which at the time made me believe it wasn't a bad case of reflux).

So here we are with son number 2, and with reflux all over again! The second time round is a bit different though, this little fella is much harder to put down and seems to be in much more agony as soon as we try to (first son would fall asleep on the breast and then wake up in pain about 1 - 1 1/2 hours later).

First son constantly trickled vomit which we caught on a doubled up muslin, whereas second son vomits straight after a feed massively - lovely white milk pooling in his neck, looks like we've trickled a small glass of milk into the crater of his neck!

We tried medicating with Gaviscon and ranitidine for a few weeks, but as it didn't seem to work we aborted and didn't notice the difference so have kept off it.

Interestingly he doesn't I've up his wind easily either and I don't know how much this could be linked, or whether we have trapped wind to add to the mix. We try all sorts of winding positions; over the shoulder, sitting up leaning forwards, laying over the knee face down, cycling motion, etc, and have tried rubbing as well as patting, but when it's stuck it's well and truly not going to budge for love nor money!

But, as I found before with my first son, and as has been mentioned in this thread, it won't last forever and they (thankfully) grow out of it.grin

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