Darcey is now 1 month old and since she was born I’ve been looking for the early signs of reflux. Not just because I’m a slightly neurotic new mother but because of how her brothers suffered. When Will was born we just assumed that he was a crying, difficult baby, he would scream at night time and be a little bit sick. As I was a first time mum I mentioned to the health visitors but as he was gaining weight they put it down to colic and I knew no better. By the time he was 6 months old we were referred to the hospital and silent reflux was diagnosed. For 6 months he’d be struggling and I hadn’t known, once he was given medicine to control the reflux he was a different child.
Roll on a year and Ben was born, this time I knew exactly what to look out for. Unfortunately he suffered far worse than his older brother. For 2 years he was on medication and inhalers as he kept getting chest infections from the vomit getting into his airway. Ben’s reflux wasn’t the silent type and I spent many a day covered in baby sick.
Signs to look out for
Throughout the pregnancy with Darcey I always had it in the back of my mind to look out for reflux, if the boys had it chances are she would. So imagine my surprise when we got through the first 3 weeks with no sick, ‘touch wood’ she would get away with it. Then just over a week ago she started to get some symptoms;
- Being sick not just after feeds
- Unsettled at night or when lying flat
- Grunting – not just normal baby noises but pained noises
- Coughing and clearing her throat
- Lots of hicupping
- Cutting her feeding time by from 3 hours a day to 2 hours a day overnight
- Arching her body is pain before being sick – not a hard stomach as you would expect with colic
I left it a week to make sure it wasn’t getting better and then I took her to the doctors to ask for some medicine. As an adult I know how painful acid reflux is, I suffered throughout the pregnancy and still take Omeprazole to control it now. I hate the thought of Darcey being in pain when she’s so tiny and not being able to do anything about it.
Time to visit the doctor
The doctor was happy to give her some medicine to control the acid and see if that helps calm things down. As I’m breastfeeding we decided not to use Gaviscon as there is no bottle to dissolve it in, instead she is having a tiny dose of Ranitidine 3 times a day which is a liquid given orally in a syringe.
Fingers crossed that this helps calm things down and stops the reflux before it gets any worse. I know it’s something she’ll grow out of, it eases when babies can have solid food and sit up. By the time they’re one most children will have grown out of reflux.
Tips for dealing with a reflux baby
- Feed in a more upright position
- After a feed try to keep baby still and upright – don’t bounce around!
- Lie them down on their left side
- Smaller feeds more often
- Prop up the head of the crib/moses basket so they aren’t laying flat – do this safely so it’s not unstable
Remember you can have silent reflux too a child doesn’t have to be projectile vomiting so ask a doctor if you suspect silent reflux, I wish I had questioned this with my first born.