Coping with our reflux ....
Coping with our reflux ...
I say coping with our reflux because every parent and child have a different way if coping with reflux. Our way of coping works for our family and each child. It has been a journey with reflux for this family & each little one has had it slightly different & we have coped in different ways.
I thought i'd share how I've dealt with each one and the results of each treatment. If it helps one person than I would be happy. It's a difficult journey especially for first time Mums and Dads.
My beautiful first born bubba. I longed for a baby for many years. The moment he was placed in my arms my heart melted. Being a Mother is all I had dreamt of. The immediate love I felt was amazing. He was just perfect. Like most first time Mums I had read the books, prepared myself, attended the courses of how to change a nappy to how to breast feed. I was prepared and a little cocky! This gig will be easy!! And then reality set in! This was feckin hard work and I had no idea what I was doing wrong. Why did my beautiful baby boy not sleep. Why did he cry so much? I could not work it out. I love a routine and worked hard at it. Not letting myself go with the flow very often. Still no sleep.
I started my mothers group at 6 weeks and met some lovely Mums. One in particular, my lovely Kelly who also had a little boy with similar issues. We talked and walked for hours to get these little men to sleep. I read as much as I could and the word reflux popped up many times. Finally at my wits end I recorded my boy crying and off i went to my doctor who knew me well. I knew she would listen and take me seriously. I explained the situation and showed her my little video. A little embarrassed! Reflux she confirmed. We started with Zantac and some appointments with an osteopath. No change. More random walks around the local shopping centre and drives around the neighbourhood. Back to the doctor and we went to the next step and began a course of Losec. It took a few weeks but started to work slowly. Bit by bit James improved. It never went away completely until he grew out of it but things were easier for him and he cried less. I cried less. That cry. That reflux cry. Breaks my heart when I even think of it or hear another small baby with "the" cry.
While I was pregnant with Annabelle my thoughts wondered daily about whether my new little one would have reflux again. I was worried. I was even a little stressed sometimes. I hoped and prayed this little one would not have the dreaded reflux. My feeling from day one was that I was having a little girl. We were delighted when she was born and she was divine. Absolutely beautiful. She was born with a small hole in her heart which had to be monitored. I was never so afraid in my life. I think my heart literally stopped. We brought our beautiful baby girl home within a few days of being born. She was very quiet and seemed very content, feeding and sleeping well.
At just two weeks Annabelle began showing signs of reflux. She started crying every afternoon around 4pm and did not stop until 1am ish. Everyday. Every night. My Mom was here during the early weeks and we would all take it in turns to hold and comfort her. One by one taking turns carrying her around or trying to settle her in the cot. I refused to believe it was reflux. I was devastated. I started to read everything I could on reflux and began removing dairy, chocolate, tea & all tomato based foods from my diet. I also began using a thickener to thicken my breast milk. I would sterilise, pump, thicken and feed it through a syringe prior to every feed. I also went to an osteopath to see if they could give my beautiful girl a little relief. She became very unsettled during this time. Nothing was working and if anything she was getting more upset. I went to the GP and she prescribed Losec. I was still in denial and really did not want to give her medicine. Finally my husband sat me down for a chat and convinced me to go ahead with the Losec. I went to a local compound pharmacy and purchased a bottle but within days it was a different colour. I returned and they were confused and gave me another. Yet again within a couple of weeks the Losec again was discoloured and they had no answer for me. I was so angry. How could this be happening. How could I be giving this to my little baby.
On my return to the paediatrician to see how her little heart was progressing and to continue with more tests, I mentioned the reflux. I actually asked him would crying hurt her heart. Obviously a sleep deprived Momma! I knew in my own heart that it would not of course but I was upset. I could not think straight. He asked the usually questions about reflux and the medication. I explained everything that I was doing and he said to stop it all. He then prescribed Nexium. I was again unsure, upset and worried but he is a brilliant doctor and I trusted him completely. Nexium unlike Losec comes in a sachet and you can mix it yourself two minutes prior to administering the medicine. For us we felt this was a much better option as I struggled with the uncertainty of the compounding. I noticed also with James that they Losec always worked really well for the first fourteen days & then not so good for the next fourteen days. I later learnt that the Losec would become unstable and not work well around the fourteen day mark. Within the week of starting the Nexium Annabelle was much happier and more settled baby. She began sleeping better and in turn started to feed better.
Don’t get me wrong the unsettled periods continued but you could see she was not in as much pain and thankfully she cried less. I began eating a more varied diet and most foods were tolerated except for tomatoes!
Both James & Annabelle were weaned off the medications between 8-9 months. I started solids with both at the four month mark and again you could see that they improved at this point also. They are both excellent eaters and can eat a hotter curry than their Mother!!! They both vomited all the time in huge volumes but James still grew rapidly. Annabelle sat at the 15-20% so we had to keep a close eye on her. The doctors also monitored this. She is still small but eats for two little people! Thankfully for these two we have no signs of side effects and no signs of ongoing reflux issues. We are very thankful as we know that other children have been effected for much longer and also experience lasting issues.
Crying - I can’t write a post about reflux and not mention the crying. I think Im allergic to it. For so long I would never ever say this out loud but I think its important to share. I love my babies. I love looking at their little face and watching their eye lashes grow. I love the smell, the cuddles and marvel at the miracle that I think they are. But my god its a tough job and I did not enjoy the baby stage. Not many people will agree and most will shake their head at me as if Im a foolish Mother! But its important to share. Its important for other new Mothers to know that its ok to feel overwhelmed and its ok to not be loving up the entire experience. I LOVED every single moment beyond 6 months. I loved the first food stage, the messy stage, the just crawling stage and the walking stage. I even loved the tantrum stage. Nothing is like the reflux stage. For me so far nothing is as difficult as that time and if you are a new Mum going through this, don’t fret! It will get better and easier as time goes on!
This is not advice. Everyone’s journey is different. I will only recommend that you follow your heart and listen to your gut. Mums know best. If you have a doctor that is not listening to you, move on and find another. Join a Mother’s group. Go out for walks. Drive to McDonald’s for a drive through coffee and burger and chips and ice cream if you want! And in your PJs! I did often! Be kind to yourself and spend anytime that your baby is not crying, cuddling, kissing and chatting to them.
Joshua's journey has only begun ....
We are still muddling through but I will share over the coming weeks on his little progress. Like his siblings he too has reflux. But that is ok as I have a little experience and a better outlook .....
Kisses Nell xxxx
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