My first daughter suffered from severe acid reflux. Acid reflux is a very serious condition in infants. They can’t tell you how they are feeling and you have to watch them very closely to be sure that they don’t choke on their vomit. Here is how I dealt with my infant’s acid reflux by using an apnea monitor.
My daughter’s acid reflux was so severe that she suffered from projectile vomiting. She couldn’t keep much of her bottles down, so repeat feedings were constant. She would eat her bottle and when I burped her she violently sprayed a stream of formula across the room. It was very frightening. I could not breastfeed because she was allergic to so many things. She had to have a special formula, and she couldn’t even keep the most sensitive formulas down for long.
I had her hooked to an apnea monitor once we left the hospital. This awkward and cumbersome device was strapped around her chest and monitored her breathing and heart rate. It was a portable device that had to be on her at all times, except for bath time. Every time she was off of the monitor, it had to be written down. This made going places a real chore. The apnea monitor is rather heavy and difficult to carry along with your newborn and diaper bag.
Sometimes, her apnea monitor would slip off in the middle of the night. This would cause the apnea monitor to make a shrill high pitched beep. I associated this sound with her not breathing anymore, so it was very nerve racking when it did go off. It’s extremely loud. Imagine an alarm clock in front of a microphone. There were several false alarms because the Velcro strap that kept the apnea monitor in place easily slipped out of place.
Each time the apnea monitor alarm went off, it had to be documented as well. I did not know at the time that if your infant died while off the apnea monitor, you would go to jail! Talk about pressure! I didn’t realize that I could go to jail if the apnea monitor was off of her until about a week after I had her on it. I really wanted to go to the store without the bulky apnea monitor, but this was not an option.
The batteries had to be kept charged, the alarms had to be documented in a pile of paperwork, and it had to be toted around everywhere 24 hours of the day! It was very stressful. The fact that it let me know that she was breathing okay all the time made me feel better, but was not worth all the trouble of having her on an apnea monitor.
I will never use an apnea monitor again. If my infant isn’t at risk for lung failure or severely ill, then apnea monitors are not something I’d live with ever again. The apnea monitor makes it very difficult to enjoy your newborn. Having an infant with acid reflux is stressful enough. You know they are in pain and they cry all the time.
My daughter once cried for twelve hours straight! If she cried too hard, her increased heart rate set the apnea monitor off and then the stress of turning it off and documenting all the paperwork while your infant is screaming overwhelms you! There was nothing that could be done to stop her crying. Rocking, pacifying, feeding, and burping didn’t work. With so much crying, our apnea monitor was going off around the clock from increased heart rate. I had more paperwork for the apnea monitor than I did diapers!
If you want peace of mind and the security of having a baby alarm system that alerts you when their heartbeat increases or decreases or if they stop breathing, then get an apnea monitor. If you want peace and to enjoy your infant, then I suggest steering clear of a portable apnea monitor. They are not worth the stress.
It may sound selfish, but I could have been a much better mother without all of the worries and anxiety caused by the apnea monitor. My daughter is fine now. She never stopped breathing when she was an infant once. All she needed was her mother.