While reflux is a common issue for babies and children of all ages, we need to be careful of reflux being the catchall diagnosis for a crying baby. Even though there are a lot of different symptoms of reflux (see “How Reflux Presents“) and in some cases it can be difficult to diagnose, it is important for us to keep in mind that reflux is not the only possibility and it isn’t always to blame. If your baby or child is distressed or unwell, or reflux treatments don’t seem to be effective, it is important not to jump to conclusions, as hard as that may be. Even if your child does suffer from reflux, it may not always be the culprit.
Correct diagnosis is paramount. RISA Inc is happy to provide support and information to reflux families – it’s what we do – but please keep in mind that it is important to get that diagnosis first. To do that, here at RISA we strongly believe that parents should trust their instincts, continue talking to their doctors and keep looking until they find the answers they need!
Persistence is important as some of the stories below demonstrate. You are your child’s best advocate, especially when they are too young to communicate their pain any other way than by screaming. Trust your gut and don’t give up until you’re convinced that you’ve gotten to the bottom of it and that your child is no longer in pain.
Some simple things to consider (other than reflux) might include:
- ear infection
- urinary tract infection
- tounge or lip tie
- iron deficiency
Advice from some mums
“[My son] was so unsettled and wouldn’t eat and was vomiting more. I was sure it was his reflux but I thought I’d take him to the GP …it turned out both his ears were quite bad[ly infected].”
“Liam is puking up a storm and both of his ears are infected and his balance is off. If I hadn’t read that article by Dr Shilkin and he hadn’t been so congested recently, I would definitely assumed it to be reflux, at least at first (in fact I think he has more trouble with his ears than I have recognised to be honest). Last time his ear drum perforated and stuff came out and it still took me another day or two when fevers finally started and he was screaming when you touched his ears. He was in the middle of a dairy trial, so it was hard to tease it out and I assumed it was wax coming out. He is one tough little cookie and doesn’t really complain too much. I have learnt if he seems off, something pretty much is and I better check it out.” Chrissy
For more information on the affects of persistent ear infections on reflux babies have a look at Crying Babies by Dr Renee Shilkin (also available from the RISA Library).
“Ollie was extremely unsettled so went to the doctors to get his ears checked in case he had an ear infection. Ears were fine so we increased his reflux meds as assumed it was reflux. He didn’t respond to the increase in reflux meds and the doctor suggested we get a urine sample to check for anything else. Turns out he had a bladder infection (uncommon in boys). A course of antibiotics and he was finally back on track.” Anna
“Initally I was blaming everything in reflux but after failing hearing tests we realised he had glue ear its very hard to know which is causing what at times. Getting op for grommets in 2 weeks so will then see which symptoms remain and if reflux is under control or not.” Fiona, Ireland via Facebook
Sarah’s story (Warning: this one is gut wrenching but it reminds us to trust our instincts.)