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She has been regurgitating and gulping quite badly in her sleep

Hi Glenda,
I have a 5 week old baby who in the last 2 weeks has began to grunt continuosly in her sleep like she is is pain for up to an hour on waking and going to sleep. I have also noticed in the last few days that she has been regurgitating and gulping quite badly in her sleep and when awake - but not always. Also, when I lay her down she will go off to sleep then a few minutes she will pull her legs up and grunt which will pass then a few minutes later it becomes more intense and she starts to grunt and cry. She will settle and go off to sleep if I nurse her or give her the dummy. Often during the day she will chew and screw her face up as if she has eaten something bad. She is a bit irrated but not to bad. What I am concerned about is the grunting in her sleep and whether this is normal or do you think it may be reflux that would need treatment (as I dont want to give her something unless absolutely neccessary) or could be some kind of food allergy. It seemed to all start when I was taking antibodics for an infection. I am breastfeeding.

Answer: Hi Caroline, That is a difficult question. It’s interesting that you noticed a change when you started taking antibiotics, so that would seem to be the most likely suspect. On the other hand, it could also be coincidental. There are some symptoms in there that could be reflux related, but I’m not in a position to say whether it could be reflux, allergies, colic or anything else. Have you spoken with your doctor or child health nurse about the issues you are having? If not, I would recommend that you do. They may be able to help you work out what it is, whether the antibiotics don’t agree with her, any of the things you mentioned, or whether it may be something else entirely. You may also like to keep a written record of everything – her behaviours, grunting, irritation, crying, wanting to suck etc, as well as things like her feeds, sleeps and dirty nappies. It would also help to include what you are eating and drinking (and medications if you are still on them) – as you have noticed, this can sometimes affect them. Keeping a record like that can sometimes help you identify any patterns, and it can also help your medical professional understand the whole picture that bit easier. (In my experience, a written record got my doctor’s attention where the things I was saying didn’t.) If it was the antibiotics that have unsettled her, it may take a little while for her to feel more comfortable – a written record might also help you recognise that, or any other changes. (I found writing it down to be far more reliable than my memory though of course that may just have been me). You may also like to consider videotaping her as she is grunting in her sleep. Sometimes it can help the doctor/child health nurse to actually ‘see’ the behaviour that concerns you. I hope that information helps. Please trust your instincts, and talk to your doctor whenever you have concerns. All the best, Glenda RISA Inc
Answered: 01 Jun 2009