About Grace – reflux journey
I’m 25, baby S is my first child he’s currently 11 1/2 months old. My partner works very long hours so main responsibility for anything baby related is down to me. I used to be a sales and retention advisor and complaint handler which has given me a lot of patience over the years but having a baby with G.E.R has tested me more than that ever could.
After a traumatic birth for the both of us I was handed a seemingly healthy 8 pound 13 ounce boy. At this point I’d mention I did childcare and education at college had reasonable experience with babies but nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened…
Around 3 weeks old after disastrous attempts at breastfeeding I gave up and switched to formula looking back the poor latch and no sucking rhythm should’ve given it away then but it took till he was 3-4 weeks old for any other symptoms to appear he was gaining weight up until this point was my little angel and happy as larry as long as he was being held at all times.
What seemed like overnight he changed into a demon. Now I love my son I really do but I use the words that represent how I felt at that time. This is when the screaming began, screaming not crying it was worse, the worst ive ever heard high pitched deafening screaming for no apparent reason. Inconsolable out of control for hours and hours. I tried everything only holding him upright helped I held him pretty much 16 hours a day at this point he refused a sling or anything touching his tummy he would only sleep by exhausting himself to the point of k.o.
The HV said it was colic and to ‘man up’ I died a little inside that day. Baby S cried I cried and the next day I took him to the doctor who pretty much said all babies cry get used to it. Commence crying again at home with everyone looking at me like I’m mental then people started to notice the wet hiccups the deafening scream which now seemed more in a pattern after he’d eaten and the projectile vomiting… I remember it literally hitting the other side of the bed one day, I had piles of washing out of my ears. So I took him back, this time I burst into tears and the doctor sent me away with some infant Gaviscon saying he had reflux but don’t worry its normal most babies had it.
On the Gaviscon he improved slightly by vomiting less (half a bottles worth not full) but now his weight had started dropping. He also became constipated and started crying again I researched all I could on G.E.R and came across little refluxers website and started some methods of coping using all knowledge I’d read. Winding down left side only gradually throughout feeds, sitting him upright pretty much all the time, dressing him in sleepsuits with nothing tight around the belly and reducing his time in car seat to essential only travel.
I cut all bottles in half and spread them out more, gave him small amounts of water in between to combat constipation,made sure he sat upright for at least 30 minutes after a feed, I bought the most upright bouncer I could find and letting him nap supervised in it so I could get a break from the holding as by this point id got a r.s.I in my wrist. I was exhausted, he was exhausted and I felt really alone, some days the only thing that kept me going was reading others experiences and knowing one day it would get better.
With my coping measures he seemed to be improving slightly but gradually the situation got worse i took him to hospital and the paediatrics team sent me with a prescription of ranitidine and advised to use a dummy especially after a bottle to stop him overfeeding (a lot of babies feed the reflux to soothe but overfeeding makes it worse something I didn’t realise he was doing) now all of that happened in a 3 week period but it felt like 3 years. We continued with the ranitidine dosage being amended to his weight gain (finally going in right direction) and combined gaviscon use it seemed to work he seemed slightly better, less crying and hiccups rarely sick in comparison to before much more normal 7 week old.
One Afternoon he seemed to be refluxy again a term I used when symptoms reappeared as bad as before medication he was restless and wouldn’t nap so I held him upright against my chest and he drifted off eventually. I had my hand on his back and I couldn’t feel him breathing suddenly nor could I hear him. I turned him and laid him flat on the bed, he’d gone grey as if colour had drained from him. I started to progressively say his name fingers under his rib cage to check if he was shallow breathing and nothing. I rubbed his tummy and opened his mouth gently blew into his face to try stimulate his breathing and nothing. I grabbed the phone shaking called ambulance I continued as I was speaking and just as he was about to guide me through cpr baby S took the biggest gasp of air in, coughed and opened his eyes. We went to hospital and was monitored.
That most terrifying experience never happened again and a difference in opinion depending on which paediatrician you speak to but probably was a largyospasm caused by the reflux and he just forgot to breathe again because it was well over 3 minutes. Since then he’s been monitored by paeds and dosage of ranitidine is highest for his weight ruled out intolerance as the cause, has had some apnea episodes and slept on a monitor (only for my piece of mind). I also changed to anti reflux formula which stopped the vomiting completely and we don’t use gaviscon anymore. He managed through that time until 5 months and improved slightly when he could sit up.
I started weaning then too (under doctor recommendation) and this has by far had the greatest improvement. He eats very little portions throughout the day but is so happy and loves his food. Reflux still affects now mostly only when teething but he’s a resilient 11 1/2 month old now and when he doesn’t feel good asks for yogurt/cheese or no sugar ginger biscuits which calm his stomach acid. Basically there’s been no lasting damage after all the suffering he went through he’s a very healthy boy. Started reducing his ranitidine now but very cautiously a ml at a time as how poorly it made him. He’s the happiest he’s ever been he rarely ever cries and just started trying to walk.
I hope my story can help someone else see there is light at the end of the tunnel and plenty of people who share similar experiences on little refluxers who have given me advice and support when I felt like quitting.