Until 10 months ago I had never even heard of Toddler Hypoglycemia! But now the events of last February are etched into my memory. Carrying Little G’s lifeless body into A&E will not be something I forget easily.
So what is Toddler Hypoglycemia?
You are probably aware of hypoglycemia, something that diabetics in particular suffer with if they do not take the correct dose of insulin. Blood sugars fall and it leaves you weak and at risk of falling unconscious. This is something they have to live with for their whole lives and is why they have to eat regularly and measure their sugar intake.
Thankfully Toddler Hypoglycemia is not a long term illness, if you can call it an illness at all. It is simply a phase, something they grow out of. Still it is something to be taken seriously as without proper care can result in terrible consequences. It is very similar to the ‘regular’ hypoglycemia in that sugar needs to be controlled and food needs to be consumed little and often.
How do I know if my toddler has it?
Does your child ever say they are tired?
Do they get hungry between meals? Always seem to be hungry?
Do they have mood swings/ tantrums that tie in with those ‘snack’ times?
Do they wake in the night with ‘terrors’?
If you answered yes to those, most crucially to the night waking question then your toddler probably has it. Night terrors/ wakings happen when the blood sugar drops past a certain point in the middle of the night- usually around 3am. They will often be drowsy, like they aren’t even awake at all. They can also be distressed.
What do I do?
Firstly, don’t panic – it can be controlled easily. Make an appointment to see your doctor and tell them of your concerns. Of course if you find yourself, as I did, with an unresponsive child then dial 999 immediately.
How can I help?
Snacks between meals and a snack before bed. The night time snack is most important as it gives them enough energy to see them through until breakfast (We give butter and toast at bedtime). The day time snacks just prevent those nasty mood swings and help keep their blood sugar balanced throughout the day. Obviously high sugar snacks are not a good idea, they will simply give a quick boost and result in a crash soon after.
Why does it happen and when will it end?
Toddlers are like little balls of energy aren’t they? They run about all day and their little bodies cannot store enough energy in one go to keep them bouncing around all day. If they go more than a couple of hours without food they run out of energy- just think how many feeds they used to have as a baby!!!
It will end when they are between 5 and 9, depending when it started. Usually they will out grow it after a couple of years. The night wakings stop and the terrible twos end- in line with them being able to store energy for longer!
**If ever you feel your child is drowsy or non-responsive then give them a sugary drink and ring 999.**
I am not a doctor, these are just views based on my experience as a mother of a child with Toddler Hypoglycemia.