Help! Steroids Affecting Baby's Sleeping/eating

Updated on June 19, 2012
A.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN
11 answers

My 16 month old baby can catch the FLU and she can catch a COLD, but she just can't CATCH A BREAK!! She's so tiny and we're working with doctors to monitor her weight gain and she just keeps getting sick! ARGH! so frustrating I just want to cry!

Anyways, she came down with a cold and developed croup, we took her to the ER Sun morning because she had stridor (straining to breathe in) and they gave her an oral steroid.

It took almost 3 hours to get her to sleep last night, she was so WIDE AWAKE! And she would throw herself against the crib if we left her in there, she got so mad so fast which is not normal for her. To make things worse, this morning she isn't interested in food at all (except to throw it on the floor). She is still nursing thank goodness.

My question is:

How long did the steroids affect your child (esp ability to sleep and appetite)? Is loss of appetite normal?

What can I do next?

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answers from Sioux Falls on

My doctor gave my a steroid for inflammation and I felt terrible so I called her and she said to stop taking it. I would definitely call her doctor and ask if she should be taken off that steroid.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Make sure you are giving them early in the day. If at all possible not anywhere near night time.

I took them every 12 hours for a while and I ended up in the ER after not sleeping for about 4 days.

The ER doc told me I was taking them too late in the day. They peak about 5 hours, in adults, after they are taken. It is like giving someone speed. Talk to the pharmacist about a better time table to take them and the possible side effects.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son reacted exactly like this when on steroids for croup. I think it lasts aboutr 24 hours. Unfortunately, croup lasted longer than that for him, and the doctor prescribed a prednisolosone for him to take daily for 4 days. So we had 4 days where he was exhausted but could not sleep. I would just hold him and try to get him to doze in my arms as much as possible. And then, when it was over, he would crash asleep. And I nursed as much as possible when he was an infant, and pushed drinks when he was older and didn't force food. My older son got croup every spring and fall for the first 3 years of his life, it was terrible, but we survived it and he doesn't get it anymore. Good luck.


answers from Cleveland on

These are kind of the opposite affect that steroids have on my LO. He was a micro-preemie and was on five rounds of steroids from January through April. They always made him sleepy and hungry, which is what they told us to anticipate. I would check with your daughter's pediatrician right away just to make sure these are OK symptoms.



answers from Milwaukee on

My son had lots of infections around that age. Please check for food allergies and supplement with vitamin D, A, Omega 3 and probiotics. That should get the cold and infection under control. My son has multiple food allergies and every time he has infections going on, his immune system is busy with allergies. Also check if there is passive smoking. I believe you would stop the steroids soon. Good luck!



answers from Eugene on

The sleeplessness and agitation can be side effects of the steroids which can also affect the apetite. One of my daughters had to be on steroids multiple times for her asthma but I can't remember how long the side effects lasted. What I do remember was my doctor warning me that if she went in for surgery or any medical procedure within a year after being on steroids, that we needed to let those doctors know so there must be some lingering effects that could be a concern.


answers from Norfolk on

We never had any adverse reactions to steroids.
When I was on it for poison ivy, it was such a relief to have the itching stop - it was the first time I could rest without scratching in my sleep in about 2 months.
Our son was on steroids to try to reduce the size of his tonsils (they were not infected, just blown up huge fleshy marbles that were becoming an obstruction), he slept better because he didn't snore so bad while they shrank.
We ended up having them out anyway since they blew right back up once the steroid series finished up.
Some kids react to it while others don't.
Albuterol can really wire some kids up but again, everyone can have different reactions.
Hope she feels better soon.



answers from Boca Raton on

My nephew had rage issues with steroids given for his asthma . . . and when I was placed on prednisone it made me feel so weird, and I couldn't sleep at all.

We've had great success with an integrative MD and acupuncture, and a chiropractor who specializes in allergies (she's also a registered dietician). I have been very determined to avoid any more allergy meds or steroids, and so far so good.

I really hope you can get this figured out. <<hugs>>



answers from Cedar Rapids on

My little guy is almost 5 and has been on steroids often thanks to asthma and allergies. The behavior/aggressiveness and lack of sleeping is completely normal, unfortunately. He turns into a different child when he's on them, but we just have to tough it out so he can breathe. The only thing that's a little odd is that he can't STOP eating when he's on them so I'm surprised your little one doesn't want to eat. I know it's not fun to see your child struggle from medicine, so best of luck to you as you support her and make it through this!



answers from Washington DC on

Is it possible to give her the steroid earlier in the day, not close to bedtime?



answers from Seattle on

My son is on steroids longterm... It took 6 months before we're figured out a timing schedule that would let him sleep (previously awake until 6am, if he slept at all... Often he'd be awake 36 hours). Oy.

So all rules/norms on steroids kinda go out the window.

We had the opposite problem with eating... He's got the perpetual munches. While I was in the bathroom at one point he ate 6 bagels in 10 minutes. After that we had to change the household food rules. Sigh.

But are sleep, hunger, and temperament totally normal changes on steroids? Yep.

A single dose is out in 2-3 days. Longterm use it's 2-3 weeks.

As much stress as the steroids caused, though, soooooooo much better than the alternative! The shortest we were in the hospital last year was a week, and the longest was 5 weeks. Without the steroids? I'll take no sleep to avoid being back in the hospital!

If youre going to be taking them for a few weeks, DO try messing with dosing TIMES. This was the golden ticket with us (and several other pulmonary fams we've become friends with. Everyone is different but for us between 2-230pm, and then after he's asleep get him semi normal sleep. The worst was just after waking up. Shudder. Those were the 36 hour days.

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