My name is Nicki, mum to Satori who is currently 19 months old. I guess we all knew having a baby would be a life changing experience but having one with reflux sure shook things up more than we expected! Our little bundle of joy quickly got termed our “little bundle of misery” and it was an endless roundabout of Dr’s, Hospitals, and Child Health Nurses to finally diagnose the problem.
Those 12 weeks when we did not know were possibly the worst of our lives and I think I will always feel sad for some of the horrible thoughts we had in that period. We live near a creek and it was a constant joke that we used to tell everyone we were going to do a Moses with our baby and float her along to someone else. Luckily those who knew us realised we just needed the outlet to vent our frustrations.
I’ll start with the good news … even though we were told that there was virtually no chance Jordan (now 12 weeks old) wouldn’t have severe reflux and food issues like his sister, I really haven’t seen much evidence of either of them. He reacts a little to a couple of foods (tomato, spicy foods, etc) but that’s pretty common, and while he vomits constantly he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and on the odd bad day, we just use Mylanta. Plus he’s thriving at about 7kg!
Belle’s issues were a little more complex, but she’s a bright, bubbly and very energetic little girl and coming up to 3.5 years. She stopped feeding altogether between about 5 and 7 weeks of age, and was tubed at 7 weeks. We were told it would be for 48 hours, but we ended up tube feeding for 2.5 years. After a year on the NG tube, and lots of admissions, they did a couple ofoperations to set up a PEG and then Mic‐key button [low profile tube].
Anthony was my third child and after having a difficult time with my 2 daughters, I felt confident and relaxed about the thought of having another child.
Little did I know what was to come. It wasn’t long before Anthony was struggling with his feeds. He would drink and then gag and splutter, but because he was born with a floppy larynx (laryngomalacia), I just figured that was the problem. He also breathed extremely rapidly and this was also put down to the same problem (a bronchoscopy ultimately confirmed this diagnosis).
While dummy use is often controversial as they have known advantages and disadvantages, some infants with reflux seem to benefit from using a dummy. Dummy use is a personal choice and this may be one option you could consider. There is no evidence to suggest you should not use a dummy; however, you may like to discuss this option with your doctor or child health nurse.
Lifestyle changes can help reduce reflux, and an important strategy is that infants or children of any age completely avoid exposure to tobacco smoke. This includes addressing an older child’s exposure where possible.
Be aware of your child’s position in the seat as baby capsules and some car seats can cause pressure in the stomach area. Keep an eye on your infant or child over longer journeys to ensure correct positioning in the car seat.
Charlotte is now 19 months old and it’s been quite a couple of years. Charlotte was an IVF baby and she didn’t come easily. She was small all the way through the pregnancy (3rd percentile) and eventually stopped growing around 37 weeks so she was induced. She went straight into the Special Care Nursery, had oxygen for a bit, a nasal gastric tube inserted and they started her on formula feeds (cow’s milk formula!). And so it began.
Dealing with reflux can be very stressful, and many people think that they are being helpful by offering advice. Even though their suggestions may be helpful, the constant advice, and inferred criticism of your parenting, can make your journey all the more stressful. In addition to that, the advice may conflict with your beliefs or the advice you have already been given e.g. someone will tell you that you should not nurse a baby to sleep as it ‘will create a rod for your back’, while someone else will tell you that you should. As a result, it can leave you feeling very confused, inadequate, frustrated and resentful.