My name is Bianca and I have one child, Oliver; he is 1 year old. Oliver was diagnosed with silent reflux at 4 months of age by one of my closest friends, who happens to be our GP. Thank god for her. She witnessed one of Oliver’s screaming fits; these used to happen most days, sometimes a few times a day and go on for what felt like hours, but was probably 30 to 60 minutes of screaming and crying before my husband or I would be able to settle him and/or he would fall asleep from exhaustion.
We didn’t have a failure to thrive (FTT) baby, or a baby who needed to be hospitalised, however the first twelve months with our first child Rachael were the most difficult in my life. As everyone said parenting was hard, I just thought that it was normal to never be able to put your child down without them screaming, to scream inconsolably for hours and hours and to only sleep upright.
Samuel projectiled his first ‘milk’ breastfeed onto the wall. I didn’t know what was happening but soon got used to the constant vomiting. He had several apnoeas in the first week, and began screaming. As a first time mother, I had no idea what had hit me. Sam thankfully slept most nights from sheer exhaustion but I struggled with the idea of routine; going out was difficult and I had extra cleaning as well.
We tried positioning/rocking, diet (off dairy but not soy), chiropractors, GPs, paediatricians and medications. I also joined a reflux support group. Sam improved dramatically at around twelve months; however, he still vomits and gags easily, gets car sick and dislikes milk products and raw vegetables/salads (tickling feeling in throat).
Cate was born when Dylan was just 15 months old. Cate screamed and screamed. She comfort fed so much (in between the screaming and not sleeping) and was so on/ off my breasts that they used to bleed all over her face while I was trying to feed her. I thought I had an attachment problem so hired a lactation consultant who tried so hard to help me, and when in sheer frustration (and with people telling me it was my milk and to bottle feed) I weaned her at 4 weeks.
My name is Nicki, mum to Satori who is currently 19 months old. I guess we all knew having a baby would be a life changing experience but having one with reflux sure shook things up more than we expected! Our little bundle of joy quickly got termed our “little bundle of misery” and it was an endless roundabout of Dr’s, Hospitals, and Child Health Nurses to finally diagnose the problem.
Those 12 weeks when we did not know were possibly the worst of our lives and I think I will always feel sad for some of the horrible thoughts we had in that period. We live near a creek and it was a constant joke that we used to tell everyone we were going to do a Moses with our baby and float her along to someone else. Luckily those who knew us realised we just needed the outlet to vent our frustrations.
I’ll start with the good news … even though we were told that there was virtually no chance Jordan (now 12 weeks old) wouldn’t have severe reflux and food issues like his sister, I really haven’t seen much evidence of either of them. He reacts a little to a couple of foods (tomato, spicy foods, etc) but that’s pretty common, and while he vomits constantly he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and on the odd bad day, we just use Mylanta. Plus he’s thriving at about 7kg!
Belle’s issues were a little more complex, but she’s a bright, bubbly and very energetic little girl and coming up to 3.5 years. She stopped feeding altogether between about 5 and 7 weeks of age, and was tubed at 7 weeks. We were told it would be for 48 hours, but we ended up tube feeding for 2.5 years. After a year on the NG tube, and lots of admissions, they did a couple ofoperations to set up a PEG and then Mic‐key button [low profile tube].
Anthony was my third child and after having a difficult time with my 2 daughters, I felt confident and relaxed about the thought of having another child.
Little did I know what was to come. It wasn’t long before Anthony was struggling with his feeds. He would drink and then gag and splutter, but because he was born with a floppy larynx (laryngomalacia), I just figured that was the problem. He also breathed extremely rapidly and this was also put down to the same problem (a bronchoscopy ultimately confirmed this diagnosis).
While dummy use is often controversial as they have known advantages and disadvantages, some infants with reflux seem to benefit from using a dummy. Dummy use is a personal choice and this may be one option you could consider. There is no evidence to suggest you should not use a dummy; however, you may like to discuss this option with your doctor or child health nurse.