The day after my daughter was born I realized that she always had this white foam around her mouth. As a first time mom I obviously freaked out and when I asked the pediatrician why my baby had this I was given this look, like oh boy I don’t want to tell her why and instead was told, keep the baby upright for 30 minutes after feeding her and she will be fine. Once we got home and all our baby would do was cry we soon realized we had a “colicky” baby. So now here I was a crying mess who wanted nothing to do with my baby and on top of it all she did was cry and barely sleep. Before I knew it she was also moving her head around like the exorcist baby. I was horrified! What was I going to do, I would speak to my pediatrician who insisted everything was fine but I knew something was wrong. I kept getting so much conflicting information like “oh, just eat less acidic food, don’t eat that much dairy” but guess what before I knew it I was barely eating because I was so terrified that what I was eating was making my kid scream and then there was the depression. Long story short, after 6 weeks of HELL and videotaping my baby during one of her episodes I was finally told that maybe she had silent Acid Reflux (my baby would not spit up, it would come up to her throat and then she would swallow it) and that I should stop eating dairy and soy. I finally felt vindicated because I had already self diagnosed her because all I could do was google her symptoms.I knew it was Acid Reflux. I stopped breast feeding because I couldn’t nor was I willing to cut down on these foods so that I could keep breast feeding so I put her on Similac Alimentum formula and started to see 2 local pediatric gastroenterologists. We also started putting cereal in her bottle as per the gastroenterologist’s direction. The first night we did this our baby slept 4 hours, I woke up to make sure she was breathing because she had NEVER slept that long. It took about a month and a half to find the right medicine for our baby and the right dosage as much is determined on your baby’s weight.
Here are the things I learned during the 18 months that my daughter suffered from Acid Reflux:
1). A lot of babies suffer from it, some more than others regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or c section.
2). Despite what I read and was told what I ate did transfer into my breast milk.
3). Keeping her/his head elevated when they slept was crucial. The Fisher Price Rock and Play is a gift from God!
4). Do what works for you and your family, if you believe in giving your baby medicine then do it! Whatever works.
5). If giving your baby medicine isn’t your type of thing, go and see a Naturopathic doctor. I did after my daughter turned 1 and we did muscle testing. I put her on a restrictive diet and her Acid Reflux all but disappeared. Her clogged eye duct also went away!
6). Your insurance may pay for your babies special formula so look into it!
7). Your baby can still have Acid Reflux after she turns 1. I was always told that the percentage of babies who suffered from this was very low after 12 months. Well not in my case!
8). Starting solids at a young age (3 months in my case) can help a lot.
9). When you are ready to introduce solids to your baby try and give them natural unprocessed foods. Start reading labels and you will realize how much crap that you can’t even pronounce is in every day foods-even the ones you find at Whole Foods. Read the ingredients of sandwich bread and you will be horrified!
10). Teething sucks when your baby has Acid Reflux; the extra saliva doesn’t help their digestive system.
11). “Crying it out” makes the Acid Reflux worse
12). Going to see a gastroenterologist is so worth it. Many pediatricians do not know how to treat this effectively. If you disagree with their advice on how to treat your baby you don’t have to go back.
13). Gaviscon is amazing!
14). Just because 1 of your children suffered from Acid Reflux doesn’t mean the others will. I swore that I would not get pregnant again because just the thought of having another baby with reflux could make me go crazy! Luckily my son had a very mild case and it was manageable by keeping him elevated at night.
Finally, much like parenting, treating kids with Acid Reflux in my opinion is a lot of trial and error. Some things that work for some will not work for others. Long story short- this too shall pass Mami’s.
To anyone reading this post who has a baby with reflux, I am willing to answer any questions, just contact me.