Over the summer we went on a road trip with the kids to Martha’s Vineyard. We had to stop overnight at a hotel where the five of us shared a room. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night by loud snoring and elbowing my husband to roll over and be quiet or he’ll wake the kids. I was shocked when he groggily told me that it wasn’t him snoring but our 4-year old daughter.
There she was in all her cuteness snoring away beside her big sister. I couldn’t believe how loud she was.
It was at that moment that the sleep consultant in me took over and I made an appointment at my doctors for when we returned home. The mom in me also took over and the guilt was riding high. How could I miss this with my own daughter? A question I always ask my parents before we start working together is if their baby or child snores or mouth breathes frequently. I mean how many parents have I referred out to their family doctors because their child frequently snores?
You may be asking why I ask this question to my parents and why my daughters snoring warranted a trip to the doctor. Is your child is showing these signs while they sleep?
It may be that their tonsils or adenoids may be the issue. If your child has enlarged tonsils and adenoids they may be unable to sleep restfully throughout the night because they are pausing in breath and consistently breaking up their natural sleep cycles throughout the night in order to catch their breath. Sleep Apnea does not discriminate and if your child does have larger tonsils and adenoids they are at a higher risk to develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea, one of the leading sleep-related disorders, affecting 2-3% of children according to the National Sleep Foundation. It’s important to know this information because while we can implement the perfect sleep plan for your child, if they have difficulty breathing at night, no matter what new sleep habits we try to create, your child could still have difficulty sleeping.
So how did I miss it? My daughter is an amazing sleeper. She has slept through the night since she was a baby. Restless sleep for her wasn’t an issue but once the possibility of her having Sleep Apnea came to light her other symptoms began to make sense. She was definitely snoring, and at 4-years of age she was still struggling with bedwetting, and even after having solid sleep throughout the night she would complain that she was tired and would even ask to go to bed at times. My Doctor took one look at her tonsils and adenoids and referred her to our local Ears, Nose, and Throat Doctor. Her son had just gone through the procedure himself.
When we met with our ENT she explained to us that our daughter should be scheduled to have an adenotonsillectomy, the surgical removal of both her adenoids and tonsils. Her tonsils alone where blocking over 85% of her airway and while there is the chance that as she grew her tonsils could shrink and her throat would get larger it was something that she still recommended to have done. Here is what she explained to me:
So her appointment is booked and in just a few weeks my 4-year old daughter is going to have her tonsils and adenoids removed. I’m looking forward to us being on the other side of the procedure and for my rock-star sleeper to finally be able to get the quality of sleep that I know her little body needs.
If your child is showing these symptoms it’s worth a trip to your Doctors office to see if they want to refer you to your local ENT. I always advise my clients to take a short video of your child sleeping to show your child snoring or mouth breathing. It will help your Doctor better understand the situation and to see if a referral to an ENT is necessary.
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