For some time now, I have discovered that Eleanor had developed reflux. This began as silent probably at three weeks old and was quite difficult to diagnose. However by eight weeks old this soon developed into a more serious form of acid reflux where during and after feeds she would swallow relentlessly and become rather sick and thrash herself around in pain. This would be followed by comfort feeding which only added to the sickness and the pain.
A lose, lose situation you could say. One that there is very little coping mechanisms to help get you through.
Reflux is something which I’m sure no parent wants to see their baby experience and something that no parent actively wants to go through. The long days, the sleepless nights, the worry and the stress. Reflux is horrible yet it is simply passed off by health care professionals and as a parent you are told that it is a phase and that it will pass.
I was informed that with breastfeeding and burping often during feeds this can eliminate the issue, to feed little and often and to keep baby upright. Some ideas that would perhaps help to eliminate the issue and clear the reflux.
I have worked a lot on focusing with each of these methods. My baby is breastfed and has been from the get go. I keep her upright as often as I can and keep her upright as she feeds most of the time, I burp her religiously and most of all, I try to prevent her from over feeding. Not always an easy task to take baby away from the breast when she uses it as a source of comfort. Breast or no breast, be certain that she will cry. and cry. and cry.
Reflux and colic may just be a phase but when your baby is experiencing that phase and the troubles that go alongside it’s more than just a phase. It becomes so much more. No matter how common this may be, it’s horrible to watch your otherwise happy baby girl succumb to the discomfort and cry on repeat as she thrashes around and throws her arms all over. Grabbing and scratching.
The pain, the sickness, being unsettled and unable to rest easy, it’s not just a phase, it is everyday life and the pain it brings with it is real. It can be a struggle to cope with, especially on an extremely bad day. Reflux can affect everyone in the household. A few hours of a crying spell and baby wriggling around in discomfort, I tell you, It feels more like a lifetime and that it will never pass.
At first when the reflux was not so bad, we began to try infacol to help settle Eleanor, this alongside a good tummy massage would seem to aid her digestion and chill her out.
We began massage classes from ten days old and worked with techniques that help with colic and reflux in babies which has been helpful and beneficial for our family and my baby girl but there is only so much massaging that you can do and this doesn’t escape the underlying problems. She would settle to begin with but it would never last and after a few weeks of the infacol and massages, we decided to move on to something which I had heard worked miracles for other parents. Gripe water.
Gripe water is a herbal supplement which contains dill seed oil and can be taken from the age of four weeks old in babies, administered up to six times in a twenty four hour period to help relieve wind, colic and teething pains.
I believe that the water did help and it certainly allowed Eleanor to pass wind and burp well which did allow her to settle and get periods of a good sleep without much disturbance. However, once again, with a few weeks of trying this, of using gripe water the issue became noticeably worse and sickness was becoming more and more recurrent. We asked a local pharmacy if there was anything that we could use to give her but they did not provide much information and we were told that we could not give Gaviscon until Eleanor was one year of age. We simply had to go to the GP, who had already written reflux off as just a phase.
Eleanor was in even more distress and wouldn’t even lay down for a nap, if she napped she was interrupted by the discomfort of the reflux and would let out continuous small cries and whines as she slept. Arms would still be getting thrown about and she would try to wriggle her way to a better position that would provide more comfort. Eleanor cannot be laid flat or she will cry until picked up. I’ve found that she has to be kept upright and even having her flat in her Pram is a no go.
I’ve switched from using the Pram to get around with to a three way baby carrier that I slot her into and carry her on my chest as I explore the outside world. She seems to get relief from being kept upright and will eventually settle in this way, it must be soothing for her. If I don’t have the carrier strapped up, I tend to walk around the home with her in my arms and talking any sort of rubbish until she falls asleep and I can put her down.
This does mean that between breastfeeding and the unsettling, I have Eleanor attached to me almost 24/7. This can become extremely exhaustive and does take its toll. I do miss having some free time and having a little freedom but have come to terms with the fact that for now, this is how things are and that free time, me time is not to be taken for granted. Even catching a cup of coffee for five minutes before she begins to fuss is precious.
The past two weeks, reflux has become a very big problem and the sickness comes during and after feeds alongside the thrashing around and the crying. Or screaming rather. This has been horrible to witness and being so helpless there is little that I’ve found myself and Euan could do as parents. Sure, we walk around and talk with her to try to bring a sense of calmness. We massage her tummy until our hands are about numb and I allow her to comfort feed providing it helps to soothe her but really, there is no quick fix and nothing takes away the discomfort that she is victim to. I feel that reflux has robbed us of a happy little baby girl, she cannot be happy or even settle for any period of time as reflux causes too much distress. To watch her hurting can be overwhelming and induce my own tears.
Of course come years, she will not remember this time and how she felt or suffered but I certainly won’t forget and just because she will have no memory of this, does not make it acceptable to leave untreated and wait for the phase to pass.
With this notion and the sickness in full swing, I got onto the GP again and have been prescribed Ranitidine to administer to Eleanor. A medication that is used for intestional issues and stomach ulcers. This is also used to help adults as well as babies and infants. Ranitidine is delivered three times per day and will hopefully offer relief and long lasting results. I believe that once given the time to get into her system and kick start it’s work this should provide relief within an hour of each administration. I’m going to remain hopeful that this will help.
I’d do anything to have her out of this discomfort and allow my baby to settle. To be able to enjoy this time as a new family of three without the stress and the pain of reflux. To be able to get to know my baby girl properly, and to see her smile more often would mean so much for us as a family.
Right now, when I catch a spell of smiles it could bring me to tears, all too often I am used to seeing my baby grimace from pain and scowl. I want more baby smiles from my sweet girl and less tears. I don’t want her to have the discomfort of reflux and I want to be able to begin to form some routine and build on good habits to develop over time.
With colic and reflux, there is no routine. You simply have to go with what works in the moment and what gives relief of crying fast. I’m looking forward to winning back a little free time, some time where I don’t have Eleanor attached to me constantly, at least not while she cries helplessly. I’m hoping for us all to try and catch good sleep for the first time in a long time and I’m looking forward to moving on from this spell of colic and making happy memories as a family that we can look back on and enjoy. I want my baby and my family to be done with this horrible “phase” and to move on with nothing but joy.
If you have had a similar experience or are experiencing the same with your baby, please, share your thoughts. Share with me your tips and tricks. Is there anything that worked for you specifically and your baby? Do you have any suggestions that I can try with Eleanor? I’d love to hear your feedback and I’ll look to take on board any help that I can get for my baby.
Lots of love x