Tips on Surviving Reflux
Tuesday, 27 March 2018 | Admin
It became apparent soon after my little girl Etta’s birth that she was more than just the ‘sicky’ baby midwives had been suggesting. By week three the screaming, the sea of vomit, the blocked nose were all ringing alarm bells that something was not quite right with her. I did what all us mums do in our hour of desperation, frantically googled her symptoms and all the results pointed to reflux. Naturally I took her along to our GP for some reassurance and a miracle cure! However, there wasn’t one. I was told it was extremely rare for breastfed babies to even suffer reflux so badly. Over the next few weeks we went back and forth between the GP and the hospital and eventually she was prescribed Omeprazole which made life a little more bearable.
I remember googling for tips on coping with reflux and found very little out there. Lots of articles about diagnosis and medication but not much about living it. Etta is now 6 months old and while she still suffers with reflux we thankfully appear to be over the worst. With that in mind I thought I would share my thoughts on coping with reflux and some tips and must haves for surviving it.
If I’m honest, the reflux completely blindsided me. Lincoln, her big brother, had been a pretty much textbook baby and I was just not prepared for Etta. She was a very unsettled newborn, there weren’t many of those sleepy newborn cuddles you spend nine months dreaming about. My shoulders physically hurt from holding her upright for hours at a time rubbing her back. There was a huge sense of relief when she finally fell asleep and settled in her chair and then I’d suddenly remember I had two kids to parent. Lincoln would always request a game. They’re his favourite. It was always the game with a million tiny balls that escape under the sofa. I would be sat playing hungry hippos desperately hoping he’d request his tablet so I could sit and rest for a moment. In those moments I felt like I was failing them both.
Every day we went through the motions, playgroup, gymnastics, trips to the shops, dressing and feeding. Of course, she would happily sleep in her sling because she was completely upright. To the outside world she was a content newborn and I was the luckiest woman in the world. Well to be fair I am! I have two beautiful healthy children, but I was finding it so hard. Lincoln’s behaviour began to suffer. It wasn’t surprising, I was exhausted emotionally and physically. I had no patience and he had run out of it as well.
The weekends were much more bearable. Having their dad around as an extra pair of hands made life far more bearable. We’d go out and about and make sure that Lincoln had some special time and then Sunday night would arrive, and I’d get back to work dread on his behalf. As awful as it sounds I probably felt resentment that he was escaping it all.
As the weeks went by things began getting easier she started tolerating short stints on the playmat, in her swing or in the pram. It allowed me a bit more time with Lincoln doing and it finally felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel.
We started going out on adventures again and even Etta was loving going to zoos, museums and even the shops. I remember walking around Mothercare when she was around 9 weeks old. She was smiling away at people, and I just remember feeling so tearful. It finally felt like a black cloud was lifting. Our bond had developed, and I was finally really enjoying her.
Steadily things have improved. We tried early weaning as it was suggested by the Consultant, but her stomach didn’t tolerate that at all. A second attempt at 6 months has been far more successful and she’s now loving food, doing 8 hour stretches of sleep at night and napping in the day. The whole house is pretty much back to our normal and everyone loves having Etta here. She is such a happy and dare I say it content baby.
So on to my tips:
1. Ditch the mum guilt! It’s okay to find things tough, to not enjoy it all and my toddler doesn’t seem to have been mentally scarred by any of it!
2. Let people know you’re struggling. I didn’t and looking back it was my biggest mistake. Having someone to offload to would have been amazing.
3. Accept help with baby, cooking and chores. Whatever help you’re offered accept it because it takes a little bit of pressure from you which makes life a little more bearable.
4. Invest in a sling or baby wrap. We bought one when Etta was 3 weeks old and it was literally a life saver.
5. Muslin squares and lots of them! You’ll find you have one constantly attached to your shoulder to protect your clothes!
6. Finally get out and about every day. It calms them, and the fresh air always makes things seem a little more positive.
My final thought on reflux is while it’s been a really difficult time in the blink of an eye she’s suddenly six months. It gets better, and you suddenly forget how bad it was when they give you a beaming gummy smile. - Kylie