Oh boy, where do I start with this one. The dreaded word Reflux.
From a newborn Mole would continuously cry, scream, all night long. People told me that is what newborns are like but I knew that couldn’t be the case with Mole. The type of cry she would do wasn’t her hungry cry or her colic cry, it would mainly happen in the evening and I would literally see every hour of the clock go by night after night. I felt like my soul was leaving my body I was that sleep deprived.
“People told me that is what newborns are like but I knew that couldn’t be the case”
I began to research her cry and came across reflux websites that would also describe other symptoms Mole had but, because I was a first time mum, with no experience what so ever with babies, I thought that is just what babies are like.
From day one in the hospital with Mole I remember holding her and suddenly she got hiccups at only a few hours old. I asked the midwife what I should do and she replied “nothing it is completely normal, maybe just rub her back to comfort her”. So thats exactly what I did, and I never thought anything else of it, every single day when she got hiccups.
I tried my hardest to breastfeed Mole and I lasted for around 7 weeks after that it just didn’t work out for both of us. During breastfeeding Mole would become irritable and keep breaking away from her latch. Sometimes she would start to cry again and the cry would louder and louder. It was heartbreaking to watch and I began to blame myself on being a ‘bad breastfeeder’.
Making the transition to formula milk and feeding Mole through bottles I noticed the same symptom. Struggling with feeding. Constantly turning her head and refusing the bottle or having a small amount of milk and then 10 minutes later wanting another small amount. It got to the point where Mole would start to choke on her feed and then not long after she began refusing her feeds. Her weight wasn’t increasing and I became more and more concerned.
“I began to blame myself on being a bad breastfeeder”
Laying on her back
This was a huge symptom. Every single time I would lie Mole on her back, bam, she would scream her loudest!. I originally had a carry cot on her pram and every single time I placed her in the pram she would scream, but when I would pick her up, she would stop. I use to dread taking her out of the house because I would put her in the pram and listen to her cry but at the time I had no idea it was reflux.
Night feeding her got really hard. She would struggle taking her bottle and then when I put her back in her cot she would cry again. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. One night, I propped her up on my pillow, whilst I had my head in my hands crying and I noticed that she stopped and I was the only one crying now. Being on a slant helped her. I propped her bed up slightly and managed to get some sleep.
Spitting up milk before or after feeds
At first Mole would do small spit ups after her feeds and I didn’t think anything of it as people told me that is normal for babies. When Mole began to take on more milk it got worse. way worse. She would projectile vomit all over. An alarming amount. She would go through numerous clothes changes a day (me too) and get stuck in the viscous circle of crying because of her vomit then crying because she was hungry. I felt so trapped in the house because it would have been so unfair to take her out whilst she was sick after every feed.
My life became an ongoing roundabout of feeding her, cleaning up her sick changing her nappy and then dealing with her shrieking cry 🙁 I could not help but moan about it or become upset.
“I felt so trapped”
Mole from birth would always do grunting noises. The grunts use to make me giggle and I would copy them too at her then pull her in for a snuggle. Little did I know this was a reflux symptom.
What is reflux?
Reflux occurs because a baby’s food pipe (oesophagus) is still developing.
As the baby gets older the reflux should stop as the ring of muscle at the bottom of their oesophagus fully develops and stops stomach contents leaking out.
Trying to fix the problem
There are many types of milk formula out there that brands have made specifically for reflux babies. The formula is thicker than normal formula stopping the milk from coming back up. I tried Mole with a popular brand of anti-reflux milk but it did not suit her stomach.
I got told that reflux can occur if your baby has a milk allergy. So I got Mole milk free formula. Bad idea. I went through a nappy a minute. Gross 🙁
The doctors prescribed her with Gaviscon. The same method as the anti-reflux milk, thickening the formula so it is harder to come back up. She was allowed up to 6 sachets of Gaviscon in her bottles a day. Mole was okay with just 4, anymore than that and she would become constipated and cry for hours with that problem. One thing after another 🙁 .
The Gaviscon worked for a few weeks and I thought I had sorted the problem. But her reflux came back, hard!
Going back to the doctor he prescribed Ranitidine. The doctor explained that this will reduce her stomach acid but she became even worse on this medicine. I’m not even giving my time to it writing about it now. Bad, bad, bad.
I didn’t even want Mole to be continuously on medicine either.
I was back at square one with searching for an answer. The doctor said the next step would be an operation on her stomach and I was determined to try another way before the operation was the answer.
I came across an article that talked about how an Osteopath can help. An Osteopath can give a baby a deep massage loosening any tight muscles and joints. Tight muscles and joints especially around the stomach area can cause reflux. An Osteopath will release all stresses in the baby. Babies with tight muscles are more likely to benefit from the treatment than those who’s ring of muscle at the bottom of their oesophagus has not developed. If you think about it, a baby has gone through delivery and growing at a phenomenal rate, their body must be tight.
I thought well what the heck, let’s try it. Mole had a 45 minute massage with Rachel and loved every minute! From that night, I took her off all medicine, including her Gaviscon and went cold turkey. NO REFLUX 😀 . The next day I thought no way, surely just a massage can’t have cured her reflux? but day after day Mole was still reflux free. I booked in a couple more sessions with Rachel and still Mole had gone from vomiting every feed to keeping all her feed down.
It seems a lifetime ago I was dealing with Mole’s reflux. Even writing this blog post now I’m shocked remembering what we went through together.
It is beautiful to see Mole at her happiest now and most of all I can leave the house and go to different activities with her without being riddled with anxiety. As selfish as this sounds, I feel like I have my life back.
“I feel like I have my life back”
If your baby suffers from Reflux, please try an Osteopath. It may not work but it is worth a try. It certainly worked for me.
Here is Rachel’s website:
I’m sure she would be happy to provide you with more expert advice 🙂
Please note that not all Osteopaths treat babies, I had to check with a few first. I’m so glad I found Rachel, I genuinely don’t know what I would have done without her!
Other Helpful Advice
Keeping your baby upright for at least half an hour after a feed can help to make your baby more comfortable.
Another change I made was her pram. I got rid of her carry cot and got her a pram that would sit her upright. Taking her out was not an issue anymore and she is so much more comfortable. If I feed her whilst out I do not need to worry about holding her upright for half an hour as she is already sat up right in the pram.
Here is the link for the pram: Stokke Xplory V6
It didn’t work for Mole but I have heard tonnes of positive reviews on anti-reflux milk helping their baby to be more comfortable and to keep their milk down. If you have not tried this, it is definitely worth a go.
Frequent and Small Feedings
Feeding your baby little and often can help. Their stomachs will have less milk to regurgitate decreasing the chance of reflux.
Adding a thickener
Speak to your doctor about what is safe to add to your baby’s milk to thicken it. This will decrease the chances of it being bought back up. I added Infant Gaviscon and it worked brilliantly for a while.
Always speak to your doctor first to make sure your baby is having the best care.
Please SHARE to help other Mummy’s out their find a solution to their baby’s reflux. 🙂