Most parents have experienced some degree of Reflex with an infant so I thought I would share our experience and what we learned. Firstly reflux, or gastro-oesophageal reflux is a very normal physiological event – it is termed gastro-oesophageal reflux disease when it results in harm to your bub.
Silent Reflux can be HORRIBLE and very difficult to diagnose because there is NO VOMITING and as with many infant conditions the signs and symptoms are very much the same as some other lesser or more serious conditions. More importantly it CAN be manged with the correct care and potentially, medical treatment.
According to RISA – The Australian Infants Reflux Support Association. ‘Silent reflux refers to refluxed material that flows back into the oesophagus, but isn’t forced out of the mouth. The child may swallow it back down or the stomach contents/stomach acids may not come up the oesophagus far enough to be swallowed’. It has the potential to cause more damage because it can sit in the oesophagus longer than if your child vomited.
The world ‘silent’ is probably the most inappropriate term for the condition because it almost insinuates that your bub may not cry (or be silent) with his or her reflux. This is NOT the case. Reflux is extremely painful and can lead to more serious damage of the digestive tract if not treated. There is also the risk that your baby may be incorrectly diagnosed with silent reflux because the symptoms include excessive crying, unusual weight loss or weight gain (weight gain for those infants who comfort feed when in pain or discomfort) recurrent hiccups or ‘wet’ burps, pulling away from the breast (or bottle) and arching their back and sleeping issues such as catnapping during the day, difficulty settling, frequent night waking (though some refluxers do sleep well at night), restless or easily disturbed sleep.
So pretty much, the symptoms of ALL infant issues.
My son Maxi had silent reflux as an infant and was an incredibly, incredibly upset baby. In hindsight I actually don’t know how we got through that time. It was all no sleep and 24/7 screaming.
There are a few different options in terms of medical intervention that can assist if your bub is diagnosed with reflux or silent reflux however the first step it to adjust how bub is sitting during and after feeds, (an upright position is recommended) and breaking up feeds with burping. The next step is to see your doctor and recommend to be refereed on to a specialist straight away. I found that two separate doctors were very quick to offer medication (one of which turned out not to be suitable for infants!) and I am always reluctant with my babies to jump straight on to drugs when we haven’t tried alternative options. Of course if it a severe case, medical treatment is necessary (as with Maxi). The specialist will determine the best option but it may actually require surgery.
20 Things Not to Say to a Reflux Parent
- All babies cry you know.
- All babies vomit you know.
- Is this your first?
- He’s feeding off your stress.
- But she seems so happy.
- Oh my baby used to vomit all the time too!
- But he’s a healthy weight?
- Don’t worry! They grow out of it.
- You need to stop breastfeeding / have you tried formula?
- He’s just got colic.
- She’ll eat if she’s hungry.
- He doesn’t vomit so it can’t be reflux.
- Sleep when baby sleeps (not helpful when baby doesn’t sleep).
- Don’t let your child rule your life – they need to fit into your schedule.
- Send him to me. I’ll sort him out.
- Stop spoiling her.
- You’re over-reacting. Just relax.
- He just needs more cuddles.
- She doesn’t look sick.
- Screaming is good for their lungs.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE COMMENTS WAS SAID TO ME, OVER AND OVER.
And the only thing that came from it was ultimately an anxious, under-slept, depressed, first time mum feeling like she was being irrational but still questioning why my poor baby was so upset. When we rushed off to the emergency doctor one night we were told ‘A BABY CANT DIE FROM SCREAMING’. – thanks asshole my only job as a parent is to make sure hes alive is it?!. In hindsight I wish I had slapped (or at least written a complaint about) the ignorant man. (who also said ‘hes your first Isn’t he?, its just a case of first time mum nerves’).
If you have a friend with a refluxy bub – cook them a dinner, pick up milk and bread from the shops and drop it past and drop in and TELL her you are sitting on the couch with bub so she can have a shower because she will most likely not ask for your help and refuse it if its offered but given no choice she will just have to jump in that shower and take a tiny but extremely important break for herself. The poor woman is probably half out of her mind! In fact I didn’t even realise that there was anything different about my baby, I honestly thought that ALL newborns screamed all the time and didn’t sleep just like mine. So I felt like I HAD to manage on my own. I found it really hard to ask for help and I think this was a massive contributor to my post-natal depression It wasn’t until having my second bub that I thought ‘This one is so easy!!!’. I realized that we should have probably been more on top it, talk about MUMMY GUILTS!!
for more information please contact RISA:
Phone: (07) 3229 1090 [Message Bank]
Please leave a message and a volunteer will contact you as soon as possible.
AND HERE IS A BIG VIRTUAL HUG FROM ME
I HAVE NEVER BEEN THOUGH ANYTHING HARDER. STAY STRONG AND MOST IMPORTANTLY LET PEOPLE HELP YOU BEAUTIFUL MUMMY! BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND REMEMBER THIS TO SHALL PASS.
in 2013 with my First born Maxwell