When I was first pregnant with my daughter, I had no idea how awry things can go. I, like most mothers-to-be, had it in my mind that after a wonderful and relatively painless delivery, I’d then bring home a happy, cooing baby who sleeps a full twelve hours. Maybe I was a little naive. Okay, a lot naive. One thing that both my babies suffered from was infant reflux. It is very common and many babies have it, most grow out of it by their first birthday. Our experience with it was unlike any other I have read or heard about, so I’d like to let everyone in on it.
Im not talking about crying. Im talking about non.stop.blood.curdling.screaming.
No matter what we did to stop the crying, she just cried more.
They say nursing is the best thing for reflux, but in my case, it was awfully untrue. In our case, I tried very hard to continue. She just wasn’t digesting it properly. I felt like a failure, honestly. After several hospital admissions, and more tests than I can remember, we decided to switch to a formula that was more tolerable. If you are reading this and you feel like nursing is not working for you, I will not tell you to give up, but I will tell you to forgive yourself if you choose to go another route.
Alimentum, Neocate, Elecare
Alimentum is dairy, soy, and casein based, which can still be painful in reflux babies. In our case, we proved unsuccessful with that brand. The other two are amino acid based and are pre-digested.
Zantac, Prevacid, Omeprazole
There are other medications on the market. In our experience, prevacid did not work because it is dairy based. Now, the doctors with tell you that there’s a very small amount of dairy in the dissolvable pill, but in our case, it made all the difference. Omeprazole is a compound that needs to be specially formulated by the pharmacist and not every pharmacist makes it. It worked like a charm for our son, who had “silent reflux”, which is the worst kind to have. It has no outward symptoms like vomiting after feedings, or that “sour lemon” face that a baby makes. It’s just chronic pain.
Raising the head of crib proved to be helpful for us but it presented its challenges when they both started to move around in their crib.
Rice cereal in the bottle does not do anything but cause constipation. The myth is that it will keep the food in the baby’s stomach, but if reflux is not treated correctly, cereal is not going to fix it. Now you’ve got a reflux baby AND a constipated baby.
One of my prized possessions other than my children is a baby sling. There are several different brands of slings, but what really worked for us is the one found at www.mammasmilk.com. The key to wearing a sling is to wear it high enough on your chest where it doesn’t hurt your back, and also low enough wear the baby fits comfortably near your heart.
Other considerations for you are the following, based on my personal experience.
-Be aware that many reflux babies have apnea. My baby was suffering with reflux so badly that it ended up affecting her breathing. She ended up needing a breathing monitor for a few months.
-The key to feeding a baby suffering with reflux is “half as much, twice as often.” This means that you feed the baby fewer ounces more frequently. This allows proper digestion and also it makes it less painful to swallow if the baby has less to eat.
-If the reflux continues passed the one year mark, the other rule of thumb is “raise a grazer”. Little meals throughout the day tend to be much more soothing to babies suffering with reflux.