Samuel projectiled his first ‘milk’ breastfeed onto the wall. I didn’t know what was happening but soon got used to the constant vomiting. He had several apnoeas in the first week, and began screaming. As a first time mother, I had no idea what had hit me. Sam thankfully slept most nights from sheer exhaustion but I struggled with the idea of routine; going out was difficult and I had extra cleaning as well.
We tried positioning/rocking, diet (off dairy but not soy), chiropractors, GPs, paediatricians and medications. I also joined a reflux support group. Sam improved dramatically at around twelve months; however, he still vomits and gags easily, gets car sick and dislikes milk products and raw vegetables/salads (tickling feeling in throat).
Millie slept on her first day and was a screamer from her second! She had a severe skin rash/eczema, and was diagnosed with colic (she didn’t vomit). She didn’t sleep well, night or day, and woke or cried at the slightest noise. She was bottle fed from six months – her crying worsened, and she began vomiting. At eight months, Amelia developed a constant cough and was finally diagnosed with asthma.
In hindsight, I think Amelia had silent reflux and milk aspiration. Her eczema is still a problem, and she has behaviour problems which have improved dramatically with a low salicylate and amine (food chemicals), no colours/flavours diet (discovered only recently). Her asthma has improved, but she’s allergic to bee stings and several moulds.
Patrick was the perfect baby and so I experienced a ‘normal’ baby; very placid, affectionate and an absolute darling. No reflux, colic or constant crying.
Jorja was born with apnoeas and blue spells and I knew from day one what I was seeing. She cried a lot, had eczema and skin rashes like Millie, and vomited once my milk came in. She was diagnosed with reflux at three weeks and put on watch for failure to thrive. She reacted to Losec, so Zantac was prescribed.
Some mums suggested I consider going off some foods. My doctor laughed at this, but I was sure I was onto something. With the help of a dietitian, I found she’s intolerant to dairy, soy and eggs. Within two weeks on the new diet, her face cleared up, and she no longer vomited. After a month she was off all medication. I test her monthly on her intolerance foods and she still reacts with vomiting or skin reactions. I breastfed her for 2 ½ years on a restricted diet, and I use a milk replacement for all milk foods and drinks.
We’ve come a long way on our reflux journey. We now know we’re an ‘atopic’ family – hayfever, allergies, asthma and reflux are all symptoms, and that Sam was probably intolerant to milk and soy. I hope our story will encourage others to find medical professionals who listen, and to be confident you are doing the best thing you can for your child at that time with the resources you have available to you.
The excerpt above is from Reflux Reality: A Guide for Families.
Sam – now 17 suffers from hayfever, still averse to large amounts of dairy products, adverse reaction to bee stings
Millie – now 15 has had bee desensitisation which has been effective (only 1 live bee sting so far), eczema, mould, hayfever and asthma still present
Patrick – now 11, has asthma now – not tested but possible moulds – reacts to grain dust
Jorja – now 6 severe eczema, tested allergic to moulds (same as Millie), has reflux regularly but not on a restricted diet other than less spicy and reduced milk products, takes antihistamine daily, eczema treated by reducing mould (air born outside mould from grasses/mulch) and intensive creams/bath oils and wet wrap if required.
The biggest frustration is the puzzle of not being able to pinpoint the problem and fix it. For example with Jorja I don’t know what causes the reflux and eczema other than an actual allergy to moulds so I feel like I am just keeping up with the symptoms and treating that rather than the cause. I now wash and dry her clothes inside (moulds are airborne), vacuum regularly and keep her bedding clean – also inside. But moulds come in on cat fur, shoes and clothing, when you mow the lawn and it is impossible to avoid. She refluxes when she has even mild spicy food and other times she drinks milk or has soy without a reaction. The eczema is painful at times – when it is raw and splits, and she endures being smothered with a Vaseline type cream each night to keep it under control. At least now she can tell me she is refluxing or not feeling good and I can treat it symptomatically.
Trudi lives in Adelaide and has been a RISA member since 2006 (and was a member back in 1995). Trudi is RISA’s outgoing IT co-ordinator.
You can contact Trudi on the RISA forums – username: taconnell