My Reflux baby!
Why does my baby scream 24/7? Why can’t I have a happy baby like other babies? Is it something I have done wrong? Will I ever be able to leave the house? Will this get easier?
These are all questions that I asked myself this past year.
I have been wanting to write this blog for a long time and I have started writing it in the past but deleted it as it didn’t feel right at the time. I was writing a post about struggling with my baby boy’s reflux but I was still technically in that struggle at the time! I feel now that the time is right for me to share my journey! I want to make this as honest as possible as I know there are so many other mums struggling with a baby with reflux and I honestly believe that until you have had a baby with reflux you don’t know how hard it actually is.
Mikey is now 13 months old and I can safely say he seems to have nearly overcome his reflux. Why I say nearly is because he still wakes sometimes at nights and I am not sure if it is linked to that but overall he seems to be not in pain anymore and a happy baby.
It has been a very very long journey for me. When Mikey was born, Savannah, my eldest had just turned 2 and had her own difficulties (terrible twos and needing a lot of attention). I didn’t quite realise at the time how hard it was going to be for me. The first couple of months I spent going back and forward to paediatricians trialing different milks and medications for my newborn who screamed 24/7. The first time I visited my GP they sent me home telling me that my baby just has colic and he will grow out of it. Colic that lasted all day and night! I knew something wasn’t right, when I fed him during and after he would scream in pain, and not just when I was feeding him, for hours and hours after! There was almost nothing I could do to console him. We tried every trick in the book from raising the top end of his crib and soft noise to rocking him and I would even have hold him for hours on end. I barely left the house for the first 2 months because I didn’t quite know how to go out with a baby who screamed 24/7 and a toddler.
I felt guilty that somehow this was my fault, maybe it was something I ate whilst I was pregnant with him and I grew a massive guilt that I didn’t breastfeed him too. I know now that none of this is the case as reflux isn’t related to anything to do with that but I couldn’t help the way that I felt.
When I would eventually go out with other mum friends who had babies of similar ages I would see their happy little babies who would drink their milk without any problems and this made me feel nervous to even feed my baby in front of them! I would just ask myself why can’t my baby be happy like my friends babies. I would plan seeing friends around times when I wouldn’t have to feed him so they wouldn’t have to see the struggle.
After visiting the paediatrician I would say a total of 10 times we finally managed to settle Mikey on a milk called Neocate. Mikey was about 3 months at the point. Neocate is an amino acid based formula which has no dairy and is especially good for CMPA babies. We couldn’t be sure if Mikey had CMPA aswell as reflux but we had to rule it out as the symptoms are so similar. At this point Mikey was also on a reflux medication called Omeperzeole. This combination of Neocate and Omeperzeole did seem to help him and he wasn’t screaming 24/7 like he had been in the past. However, it brought its own challenges. Mikey had associated drinking milk with pain so he was refusing to drink the milk. We had tried changing the bottles, adding vanilla essence into the milk to even flavour it sweeter but he still didn’t want to know. It got so bad he was having no milk that through every bottle I would have to rock him and distract him by playing nursery rhymes on my phone, this maybe managed to get a few ounces down him at a time.
By the time he was 3.5 months I was at my wits end and had gone back to the paediatrician begging him to help me further. He had suggested the only thing I can really do is to start weaning Mikey onto solid foods, so at 3.5 months I began giving Mikey baby rice. The paediatrician suggested I up Mikey’s solid food intake as quickly as possible getting him into 3 meals a day by the time he was 4 months old, so this is what I did. I can say at this point is when I started to notice a difference in my baby. He seemed overall happier, was sleeping better and his reflux seemed to improve. By the time he was 6 months old he was having every kind of food and I was so glad that he loved food after his long battle with milk!
By the time Mikey was 10 months old I was advised to start the dairy ladder, introducing small amount of dairy to his diet to see how he coped and if he had an allergy. He seemed to be fine with every step and now Mikey is 1 years old and we have completed the milk ladder and he drinks cows milk.
It has been a long year but I feel proud that somehow I have survived this journey and what I would say has been the hardest year of my life and I have two happy children. Obviously each age has its challenges but to any mums reading this who are sitting at home feeling what I have felt so much over this past year, just remember firstly you are not alone in feeling this and secondly keep going, it is unfortunately trial and error a lot of the time but there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Be proud of yourself for what you are coping with, having a newborn is hard enough even without reflux. It will get easier for you!