Sleeping is a complex issue for many of our families. Some of our kids will sleep for several days and be awake for several days. Some seem to have their days and nights mixed up and want to play all night and sleep all day. And others just have problems sleeping altogether.
Some families have good success with providing a dark, quiet place for sleep. Some families have tried natural supplements like melatonin with good success while many find it doesn't help at all. Other families use medications succesfully to help their kids sleep. Check with your doctor for what is best for your child.
Some of our children have what their families suspect is a fear of the dark. A night light or small lightup toy can help them feel comfortable and fall asleep. Other families find that nature sounds and baby projectors help calm their kids and put them to sleep.
Many of our kids have temperature control issues so bedroom tempurature can be an issue. Keep this in mind when choosing sleepwear and blankets for your child.
Most of our kids sleep in a crib their first year or two. When it is time to graduate to a bigger bed, there are several options. Some families choose to keep the crib option as long as possible, and depending on the size of your child, that can work very well. Some families have used a captains bed which sits up higher and reduces need for the caregiver to bend over. They use a bedrail with it and it can work very well. Some families use a more typical hospital type bed, but this can create issues for many of our children, especially those who have some movement. It is all to easy for arms, legs, heads, and even bodies to become entrapped. This is also an issue with just a regular bed with a bedrail, although some families have done fine with that and just using a bed wedge to elevate their child's head. Most families opt for the special needs beds such as Sleepsafe Beds. These reduce/eliminate the possibility of entrapment and most have clear windows in the side rails so the child can see out and the family can see in. There are many options available with theses beds. Discuss with your doctor and therapists what is best for your child.
Many of the children have seizures during sleep and some only have seizures while they are sleeping. Seizures occur most often when a child is tired, so they tend to occur while they are falling asleep. If you suspect seizure activity in your child you should consult your physician.
For children with sleep issues such as sleep apnea, the treatment will be decided by their doctor. But many of our children sleep with breathing machines such as bipap or cpap. Some children require oxygen only at night. Trached children with sleep apnea are generally treated with oxygen and/or the use of a home ventilator.
Some children get overnight feeds. If your child is known for playing with their tube feeding lines, tips such as snaking the tubing behind your child or down into pjama legs are common tips for keeping you from "feeding the bed".
Several kids have reflux and will need to sleep at a higher angle to aid with digestion. This can be achieved with a wedge or a hospital bed that can be elevated.
Overnight nursing can be a blessing, but also presents its own issues with sleeping. Most children adapt quickly to having nurses in their room, while others wake and think its party time. Some families use sleeping masks to help with the need for a least a little light for the nurses to do their paperwork. Other tricks that can work well are light music that help drown out noise. Any device that makes white noise such as a fan or environmental noise maker can be assistive with sleep for our kids.
Many of the kids sleep best when they feel secure. Items that can assist with feeling secure are swaddling blankets, weighted blankets, and bean bag chairs. Our kids tend to sleep better when they have the sensation of being held.
Many of our kids seem to have a comfort item such as a teddy bear or blanket that they sleep with. This seems to assist with sleeping more securely.