Hi, this is my first post and it comes out of sheer desperation to settle my baby. My son is 6wks old, fully breastfed with reflux. He was put on zantac (which he hates) last monday and while it seemed to work on wed and thurs the last 2 days have been intolerable.
He sleeps ok at night but is awake and screaming from 7am till around 2pm he then sleeps for 2hrs then he screams from 4pm till 9-10pm.
I just dont know what to do anymore, i sit him up after feeding, he sleeps in a reclined swing, and ive tried the wind drops.
He also is very gassy and hasnt used his bowels for 7 days.
Now today he has cried so much that he is losing his voice, it is so hoarse.
If i manage to get him asleep outside of these times he is in my arms, and instantly awakes if i put him down.
Im willing to hear all advice, im at my wits end, and im over everyone telling me its normal for a reflux baby.
Surely there is something more i can do, i cant stand to see my baby in pain, and the constant crying is taking its toll. I just want to help him and i dont know what to do anymore.
My husband works very hard and is rarely home. My family doesnt live nearby, and i also have a 4yr old and a 22mth old to look after.
Iím so sorry that you are finding things so hard at present, even though you donít think now, things will get better.
Lets see if we can give you some ideas which could help, there are many options and things to try, each thing works diffently for each child.
1. Formulas / Breastfeeding
You will find that a lot of babies/ children with reflux are intolerant / allergic to cows milk proteins (CMP) and soymilk proteins (SMP).
These children require milk, which is suited to their conditions, formulas like Neocate and Elecare are two of which are recommended for reflux children, these formulas are only available from a gastric paed, so a prescription is required. It could take a couple of weeks to see any difference once started, as the gut and oesophagus starts to heal.
These formulas are based on amino acids and the proteins are completely broken down. They donít taste extremely pleasant, but after weaning onto it, it may also help him to feel more comfortable. This also helps some babies with vomiting if food sensitivities are an issue.
As for breastfeeding, you can still feed your child with reflux, many mothers trial going onto an elimination diet, starting with soy / dairy. You would remove all these products, from your diet and then you will see how he reacts. It is advisable to see a dietician to ensure that you are receiving everything you need. Make sure you read all the labels as soy / dairy can be hidden in everything and written in different ways. There are also other foods to consider like wheat, eggs, nuts etc, but the first two are usually the ones to start with.
Like everything it may take a few days / weeks to kick in and start working.
Are you seeing a Gastric Paed? or are you seeing a normal GP? A gastric paed specializes in the reflux side of things and with the digestive tract. They can arrange for medications and for any tests which maybe necessary, like an endoscopy or PH study to be done, these tests help figure out what is going on. Maybe you can get a referral to a gastric paed, or an appointment to see a normal paed would be a great start.
Another option (which I have done) is to take him to your local emergency department, especially when really bad. Demand that they take you seriously and that he has reflux and you are getting nowhere. Do whatever you think is best for him.
Talk to your clinic sister, she should be able to help you with a paeds appointment or give you some names of some paeds. Also she should be able to give you some advice on ideas on how to cope.
It sounds like he may need a stronger medication to control the acid. There are products out there the most common one which they start on is Zantac or Zoton, then there is losec or nexium, they all work in different ways to reduce the amount of acid and to help with the healing process.
The length of time any medication takes to start taking effect can differ from child to child. It can take from one week to several weeks, depending on whether there is any inflammation and also how quickly it gets into their system, so it may take a little while. Some children seem to need quite high doses as well, so you still have options to try if this doesnít work. There will be a medication out there, which should suit.
Try using Infants Gaviscon just before the feeds.
Constipation goes hand in hand with reflux, so you will need to control the constipation and in turn this will have an effect on how badly he will reflux. A lot of mums use Movicol, or coloxyal drop, (but be careful as these can give him cramps). Talk to your chemist they should be able to advise you on what to take, also ask your GP / Paed they should be able to give some advice in this area.
5. Flare Ups
Reflux can flare up at any stage, immunisations, teething, unwell, overtired, allergies, constipation, and just having a bad day. You will learn to take one day at a time and each day will be different.
6. Other methods
These are some practical methods you can use:
Raise the head of the cot and the head of the change table, never lie him flat. Use bricks under the legs of the cot, or a wedge which you can get now from pillow shops, baby shops or there are alot of products now online.
Always keep him upright after a feed for 20 to 30 minutes; this will help with the feed coming up after wards. You can try using a food thickener like Karicare Food Thickener, you can add this to the formula and it makes it a heavier consistence so harder to vomit up.
You can use a dummy to suck in-between feed, a lot of babies find this comforting as a lot of reflux babies tend to comfort feed.
Use a baby harness / pouch to carry him in. They find it extremely comforting as they listen to their motherís heartbeat. And can quiet comfortably sleep this way. This also helps with keeping him upright. You can then learn to manage the housework whilst he is with you. Try not to use a sling as it can put pressure on the stomach muscles and make thing worse and uncomfortable for him.
Warm baths anytime of the day or night is found soothing. The warm water is relaxing and it takes the pressure off all the muscles and areas of the body.
Start a diary on his behaviours, how much he is drinking, wet nappies / dirty nappies, anything and everything, this could help a doctor pin point what is happening. Write down everything from pregnancy to birth to now and give this information to your paed. 7. Unwanted Advice
This is something, which we all go thru, unless people understand or have been through it, they will never understand. This is not your fault, you must do whatever you feel is necessary to make him comfortable, trust your instincts. Listern to everything people say, use what you think might suit your family and throw the rest away.
Being stressed comes with having a refluxed child and not knowing how to cope. A lot of mothers are on anti depressants just to cope, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Asking for help takes a lot of courage and there is a lot of help out there, you just have to find it.
Joining a group like RISA will also give you the support which you need, we have a group of fantastic ladies who have been though everything possible and can give you all the advice about different aspects of living with a reflux child.
Other things, which help are buying, take out meals, freezing meals - start making extra and free enough for another meal. Making a routine and doing the same thing everyday will help, Getting a bouncer which will tilt to a seat so that he can see you and still be raised will make things easier, I had one and used to put my daughter into it to have a shower and go outside to hang washing, etc. Maybe you have someone to come in and help with the housework once a week or even for a few hours. Sleep when he sleeps even if it is for 20 minutes or an hour, donít use the time to do housework, you also need sleep. Try and keep things simple, things will get easier.
Sometimes not one thing alone will help settle these children, it can be a combination of medication, elevation and diet. You will find the right combination for your family. It will be hard to start with, but I would recommend that you start with what he is drinking, whether it be breastmilk (then try the elimentation diet) or formula (trial a different formula, but speak to someone first, before doing this one). Keeping him wrapped securely will also help to make him feel secure.
Please remember to trust your instincts, and do what feels right in conjunction with your doctor guidance. You are doing a fantastic job, and donít forget it.
Good luck, I really hope things improve for you, and remember that you are doing a fantastic job, and no matter what anyone says ďMum always know bestĒ. Good Luck.
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