Author Archives: Ibeaa Salazar
Author Archives: Ibeaa Salazar
Have you ever seen your baby shake when she’s asleep? I did plenty of times, and it scared me as hell. I would see my baby shaking in sleep almost every night.
I did what every worried mother would do--rushed her to the ER.
Luckily, there was a pediatrician on duty that night and after a few minutes of checking on my daughter, she let us home.
Because my daughter’s condition was nothing to be worried about.
In the medical world, it’s called benign sleep myoclonus. In our language, that’s hiccups!
Yes, just the simple reaction our body makes randomly is also common among our babies.
Here’s why it looks scary when it happens to our babies.
When we hiccup, our diaphragm contracts irritatingly as we breathe in. For our babies, it may be the same.
...because they do not have a good control of their muscles yet, they start to shake.
The reason for sleep myoclonus is idiopathic, meaning it’s unknown, but it is pretty common. It may be hereditary; it may be not. No one really knows.
To stop it, you may gently awaken her or give her soft strokes just to let her feel your presence.
If this happens in just a few seconds, ideally less than 20 seconds, and not repeatedly in one minute, you can dismiss it as benign sleep myoclonus. Also, this should happen ONLY when your baby is sleeping. In addition, this is common only for newborn babies up to six months old. Otherwise, ask your doctor about it.
However, do not always dismiss baby shaking in sleep as hiccups because it may be a symptom that warrants a needed trip to the doctor.
Here is a short description of each symptom according to pediatriceducation.org.
We, as adults, when startled have different reactions. But we have a common denominator--raising our shoulders involuntarily, followed by a sudden inhale and sometimes scream.
For our little ones, since they don’t have muscle control yet, they may start to shake along with the sudden extension of their arms and legs.
The shaking should last only a few seconds and may be followed by a loud cry. If the shaking doesn’t stop right away, there may be a deeper problem. Consult your doctor about it.
Another reason for a baby's trembling with an idiopathic cause is when our babies are jittery.
How does it look like?
It’s described by rapid symmetrical movements that may involve the jaw.
It’s usually provoked by stimulation and may be stopped with gentle flexion of a the arms or legs. Just like the hiccups, this may happen until our babies are six months old.
Seizures happen anytime from birth to adulthood. It’s caused by an “abnormal electrical activity in the central nervous system.”
What does it look like on a baby?
You’ll know your baby is having seizures when she has rhythmic, asymmetrical movements that will cause her to be unconscious at times.
...there are no known triggers to this movement. It just happens. Also, the duration of each episode varies.
In other words:
You can't really control when it's gonna happen.
Another abnormal electrical activity in our babies’ central nervous system is convulsion, more specifically the benign familial neonatal convulsion.
But unlike seizures, this one is characterized by eye deviation and tonic-clonic movements.
When does it start?
It may happen anytime during the first six months with an onset of up to four days and may last for several minutes during each episode.
There are also known triggers to this.
if your family has a history of convulsion, your little one is prone to getting it as well because convulsion is an autosomal dominant condition.
Infantile spasms are also an abnormality in the central nervous system.
But unlike the other two previously mentioned, this is characterized by clustered jerks that lasts for seconds and repeats again in 15 to 60 minutes.
It happens to infants and babies up to 15 months old, with the 5th month being the mean age. Some babies no longer experience it when they’re about two years old.
There are those who have it until they’re adults and the spasms have already developed into another form of seizure.
This syndrome is characterized by “dystonic posturing of the head and neck, possible arching of the back, irritability, possible emesis” and may be caused by GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disorder.
If you’ve experienced GERD, you probably know how it feels for your baby, only she doesn’t know what exactly is going on.
This may be triggered by feeding and starts from week 3 until the reflux is controlled. Symptoms may also show anytime from week 3 to adulthood.
Another reason your infant jerks while sleeping is paroxysmal torticollis. Although the cause is unknown, you can detect it when your baby is twisting her head and trunk to both sides.
She may seem pale and start to vomit.
The age onset of Paroxysmal torticollis is anytime from week 1 until your baby’s three and stops when she’s 5.
Each movement may last hours and your little one may have several episodes per year.
When your baby shudders, you’ll see her move and shake like a cold water is suddenly poured on her. Although the cause for this is still unknown, some experts are considering a family history of tremor.
Excitement is a possible trigger doctors are looking at.
The movements may be only about 2-3 seconds but it can happen over and over again until she’s in her late childhood.
This is another idiopathic movement, but an evaluation looks at a possible tumor in the CNS. When your baby is having Spasmus nutans, she’ll tilt her head to one side then it’ll start to bobble. Her eyes will also start rolling around rapidly.
It may happen any time from 6 to 36 months and will probably be gone by the time she’s two.
Another reason your baby is shaking in sleep or at least twitching may be related to his sensorimotor development.
When the twitching happens during REM or Rapid Eye Movement, which is basically the time when our babies are in their deepest sleep, it may be because the brain is teaching our little ones about sensorimotor development.
“...when the sleeping body twitches, it’s activating circuits throughout the developing brain and teaching newborns about their limbs and what they can do with them,” says researchers.
As you can see:
There are several reasons our baby shakes in her sleep. It may be something to worry about; it may be something we can shrug off.
...notice that some of these are idiopathic. Hence, there are times when no matter how much you look after your baby like giving her all baby needs or mastering the art of putting her to sleep, they may still show symptoms of being sick.
My point is:
Always have your doctor’s number within reach and always equip yourself with enough knowledge. And remember: seize every moment; don’t mind the mess!
Does your baby sound different lately like she’s been screaming at a concert or something? You’ve come to the right place. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll be explaining possible reasons why.
Before I do that, let me just share with you that your baby will have different sounds over time.
It’s not only crying one day, and the next day she’s talking. No. there will be cooing, giggling, and other sounds unique to your baby.
What’s different between these sounds and a hoarse voice, however, is that they sound normal. When a baby is sounding hoarse, her voice seems strained and raspy.
Here are the possible reasons for that.
Remember when you were at a concert and you sang to almost all the songs the band played? Or when you were at a ball game and you cheered on your team almost the entire time?
I’d bet you had a hoarse voice the day after that because your vocal cords are overused; hence, they became swollen and/or overextended.
It’s no different for our babies.
When they cry too much, there’s a high chance their vocal cords will also be overused.
The first thing you have to do is recall if she did cry a lot prior to getting a raspy voice. If she did, recall why.
Was she feeling ill?
Take her to the doctor right away.
If she’s just a “cryer,” don’t worry, the hoarseness will clear up on its own. But try to hush her right away when she starts sobbing.
Excessive crying can also cause nodules, which are like calluses on our little ones’ vocal cords.
They may also be called by screaming, repetitive throat-clearing, repetitive coughing, etc. However, infants will not always get them.
If your baby is sounding hoarse and you remember her doing any of the above, then it could be that she has developed a nodule. Ask your doctor about it, and she will determine the type of diagnosis and treatment necessary.
What's the treatment?
According to Great Osmond Street Hospital for Children, the primary treatment is non-surgical.
If your little angel has cough, colds, flu, or allergies, chances are she’s having a phlegm buildup in her throat. When this happens, the phlegm or the mucus irritates the vocal cords resulting in your baby sounding hoarse.
What you can do is:
Get rid of the phlegm by giving her what her doctor prescribed. If you haven’t taken her to the doctor, you can start with clearing her nostrils with a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator.
Note that when the illness disappears, the hoarseness should be gone by then too. Otherwise, there could be an underlying problem. Ask your doctor about it.
If your baby is diagnosed with acid reflux, it’s highly possible she’ll start sounding hoarse when the reflux attack becomes frequent. This is because the acid from the stomach starts to affect and “scratch” the vocal cords.
...there’s no overnight cure for this. What you can do is ask your doct
or about a feeding plan so your baby can avoid frequent reflux onset.
Although this is uncommon, this can be a reason your baby is sounding hoarse.
If you’ve had her checked for the symptoms mentioned above yet they don’t seem to be the reason your child has a raspy voice, it could be the RRP.
What is RRP?
RRP is an infection caused by HPV or the human papilloma virus, which results in wart-like growth in your baby’s vocal cords.
According to The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, it may also be accompanied by a breathing problem. Treatment for such may include a surgery.
A tumor in the throat area, be it cancerous or not, may also be a reason for a raspy voice.
If your little one’s hoarse voice seems to be getting worse plus there’s a breathing problem and an abnormal cry, ask your doctor about this possibility.
The treatment will depend if the tumor found is cancerous or not.
Now that you’ve learned the possible reasons your baby’s voice is hoarse and raspy, the next thing you have to do is to observe.
How long should the observation take?
I can’t really say for sure. It depends on your little one. But for me, my rule of thumb is checking her overall health and movement.
If she seems lethargic or cries more than usual, I know I have to call her doctor right away.
I’m just so blessed to have a very friendly doctor for my daughter than she would respond almost immediately to my inquiries even if it’s only via SMS.
Another factor you have to observe is her feeding pattern.
Does she eat normally?
Or does it seem like she lost her appetite?
If it’s the latter, it may warrant a trip to her pediatrician.
What I’m trying to say is:
You know your baby better than anyone else. If she’s sounding hoarse and seem to be in pain, then you have to do something about it quick.
I think you'll agree with me when I say:
The first time you have a baby is probably the most exciting and the scariest time of your adult life. When our baby moves a lot in sleep, we’re worried that she’s uncomfortable or that something wrong is happening.
Well, that is not always the case but as other people say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
So we’ve listed some helpful bits of information to save the day. These may be the reasons for your baby’s movements in sleep; thus it’s nice to get to know them and apply them to our parenthood.
Honey has spores of bacterium called Clostridium botulinum which can grow in your baby’s immature digestive system and result to infant botulism.
The disease is rare, but fatal. If your baby is experiencing constipation and muscle weakness, trouble sucking, slack jaw, or crying and lethargy, take them to the pediatrician immediately to check for infant botulism.
Some baby food may have honey and still be good for your baby.
If you want to just play it safe, it would be best to avoid giving your baby honey and anything with honey until they are at least a year old.
Your perfectly healthy, happy, and bouncy baby has a stuffed or runny nose. Your poor baby moves a lot in sleep and has trouble drinking milk. The pediatricians say the common cold has a life span of about nine to ten days.
You just need to observe your baby for two weeks, and bring them back if they have chills, flushed skin, vomiting, diarrhea.
What do you do?
Get your baby some saline nasal drops or spray. The saline solution contracts the blood vessels in the nose, dilutes mucus, and reduces the swelling the sinus area.
It can be very tricky to give nasal drops to a baby because, like adults, who wants to have anything up in their nose?
It takes a lot of patience and a strong heart because your baby WILL BAWL, not just cry.
If you want your baby to breathe easier, this is the best thing you can do for them sans cold medicine.
SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome scares ALL mommies, newbies or not. One of the ways mommies prevent SIDS from happening is to put babies to sleep on their backs.
While this sleeping position has decreased the occurrence of SIDS, it has also increased the instances of plagiocephaly or flattening of a baby’s head.
Extreme plagiocephaly can affect the child’s brain growth, vision, hearing, or development.
What can you do about it?
Help your baby have a round head by laying them down in different positions when they sleep. Lay them on their left side for a few minutes, and then turn them onto their right.
Put pillows on each side of your baby to prevent them from turning onto their belly. When your baby moves a lot in sleep on their own, turning will be second nature to them.
Do you find yourself in your baby’s room every few minutes, watching closely to see if your baby’s chest is rising and falling?
Not to worry.
You’re not going crazy.
All newbie mommies go through that anxiety. (FYI, you’ll be as anxious when your baby moves a lot in sleep, too.)
During the first few weeks, your newborn would sleep a lot – almost 16 to 17 hours a day, and be so very still, but only because they will be sleeping so deeply.
This is absolutely NORMAL!
As long as your baby wakes up to drink milk and wets at least eight diapers daily, let them sleep as much as they like. (Use this time to take a few zzzz’s yourself.)
You are confident that your baby is snoozing peacefully in the bedroom when you suddenly hear a loud thud.
Before you even hear them crying, your gut tells you that your baby had fallen off the bed.
Surprisingly, your baby only has a beginning of a bump to show for his or her adventure.
As your baby advances in months, not only are they more active when awake, but your baby moves a lot in sleep as well.
They may be hungry, which would explain the crying that follows and ends when you breastfeed them or make them a bottle.
They may also have gas, which means they didn’t burp enough before sleeping.
It might also be that your baby moves a lot in sleep because they just do.
Whatever the reason is...
...lay pillows or something soft (to land on) on the floor beside your bed or make sure the crib railing is up before you leave your sleeping baby. This way, your baby will be safe if they happen to take a “dive” again.
According to researchers, babies tend to move a lot during REM because the brain is teaching them about sensorimotor development.
In other words:
During this phase in sleep, the brain sends signals to sensorimotor circuits, which then activates the movements.
The brain tells the limbs that this is how you grab toys, so the fingers start to move one by one or all together.
Remember that what works for other babies might not work for your baby. It is common for a baby to move a lot in sleep, but always check with your baby’s doctor (or your mom *wink*) if you are not sure about what to do.
When you search for baby photos on the Internet or have photos taken of your newborn, one pose appears to stand out:
Baby is sleeping face down.
The infants seem to be sleeping in bliss, giving the impression that babies sleep on their belly as well as when they are on sleeping on their back.
Most pediatricians would advise parents to turn their child over when their baby is sleeping face down because this sleeping position can be dangerous.
Still, there has been some confusion as to whether or not is it okay for babies to sleep on their belly.
So we did some research, and here's what we found out.
One of the fears a new parent has is that their baby might experience Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.
More commonly known was “crib death,” SIDS is the number one cause of death in the United States of babies who are between one month to one year old.
But is it proven?
While there is no proven cause for SIDS, medical experts believe that SIDS may be associated with the part of the infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.
Parents are discouraged to lay their sleeping baby on their belly because a baby is sleeping face down will have more difficulty breathing.
In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested that babies should be placed on their backs when asleep and since then, the rate of deaths due to SIDS has significantly decreased.
A study that appeared in American Pediatrics Academy in 2011 claimed that preterm infants in intensive-care nurseries were often placed on their stomachs.
Neonatal nurses will explain that the babies will improve respiratory mechanics. Also, they are less likely to develop a flattened head.
However, the same study advises that preterm babies be placed supine as soon as possible.
At the end of the day...
...it is up to the parent, especially the sleep-deprived ones, how they will position their baby when asleep.
By the time babies are five or six months (some even as early as four months), they will be able to roll themselves over.
With stronger neck, arm, and leg muscles, your 5- or 6-month old, will have unlocked a developmental milestone by flipping over to his belly from being on his back, and vice-versa.
When this happens...
...it would be okay if your baby is sleeping face down because he can change his sleeping position when he needs to.
It is VERY important to keep this in mind the next time you have second thoughts about putting your sleeping baby on his back.
There are really no proven advantages of this sleeping position for babies, if “proven” means tested and appears in medical literature.
Nevertheless, here are some good things that can be derived from letting babies sleep on their stomach.
Babies are born with several reflexes like the grasp reflex (which is cute because the first thing babies commonly grasp is their parents’ finger).
The Moro reflex, also known as the “startle reflex,” is another obvious one wherein babies just suddenly reach up and outwards, especially when they are asleep.
This reflex can be traced back to when our ancestors’ babies pulled themselves up to cling tighter to their parents whenever they feared that they were falling.
When a baby is sleeping face down or on its side, the occurrence of the Moro reflex is decreased because the baby’s arms and legs are closer to its body.
Swaddling is also known to help if you are not comfortable laying your sleeping baby in these positions.
This reason can be associated with the first reason. Because the baby is less likely to be startled awake, he will have the tendency to sleep longer.
Babies need quality uninterrupted sleep so that they can develop and grow.
As with adults, babies have two sleep cycles:
Being abruptly woken up during either one of the cycles would result in a cranky baby.
No one wants their baby to sleep through the night more than a new parent who keeps putting their cranky baby back to sleep.
If letting the baby sleep on its stomach gives makes the baby sleep better, then parents would definitely consider this an advantage.
They should make sure, though, to check on the baby frequently, especially if their baby is still too young to turn over by himself.
When you’re baby is sleeping face down, don’t panic right away. It’s perfectly normal because that’s how they were made to sleep at the beginning anyway.
As with other movements and actions you see, it is always better to be safe.
...observe and monitor your baby as often as possible. This is not just for your baby’s safety but also for your own sanity.
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! I know being a mom for the first time is full of questions, worries, and concerns. How do you do this and that? What if it’s like this and that?
I totally feel you. That is why here I am sharing what I can with you, so you don’t have to grope in the dark.
This time, I am telling you how to change diapers be it the disposable or the cloth one. I know that this is usually a source of dread because our little angels are very fragile at this time, but it’s also most of the times funny.
So just relax, follow these steps, and you’ll be alright.
Co-sleeping, as I’ve previously shared with you, has several benefits. However, this topic usually raises an eyebrow, especially here in our beloved land of the free.
The primary reason for that is there’s a risk of parents rolling over their baby. This is why a journal concluded that “A substantial reduction of SIDS rates could be achieved if parents avoided bed sharing.”
Let me clarify, though, that co-sleeping doesn’t always have to be bed sharing. There is another method known as room sharing.