Life’s tough as a baby. It begins when they get evicted out of their warm & cozy home after being there for 9 months. Babies have to deal with diaper changes, baths, and people they’ve never seen before. In the beginning the only way babies can communicate is by crying and for parents it can be hard to figure out what’s wrong. Babies have it rough if you think about it.
Babies who have reflux have a whole set of issues they have to deal with in addition to everyday normal “baby” stuff. Reflux, or GER/GERD, gets confused with colic a lot because the symptoms are similar. Babies with reflux cry uncontrollably for hours, just like colic. The difference? Reflux babies don’t have the occasional spit up. Their spit up is a mix between vomit & stomach acid. Colicky babies typically cry around the same time every day. They say it’s more of an issue with gas. That’s why there are bottles specifically developed for colicky babies to reduce gas bubbles. Reflux babies have issues with spitting up acid & vomit after meals. You may even have a reflux baby who’s reflux peaks at a certain time of the day.
I have a reflux baby, and I can tell you that it IS doable.
Leo has had reflux since he was a few weeks old. His situation is a little different from reflux babies. He has an “extreme” form of reflux. Unfortunately Leo did not get diagnosed with reflux until he was 2 months old. Until we could get in with his pediatrician we were told by doctors that he simply had colic & nothing could be done. Leo was up 23 hours a day crying, puking, and screaming. It was absolutely miserable. We went through 3 different formula changes and two medicines before life began to feel “normal” with Leo. At six months old his reflux medicine stopped working which landed us an emergency trip to a children’s hospital. His throat was so swollen they thought there was an obstruction. It turns out his throat was irritated from all of the acid. We’re currently on medicine #3 and have been for two months. Unfortunately he’s starting to show signs of the medicine not working any longer. He is having nights where he’s vomiting 3 or 4 times a night. Leo’s pediatrician will be referring him to a GI specialist. We will have an appointment scheduled we can cancel if we find that his currently trouble is only a phase. The last thing I want is for us to go back to the hospital like I wrote about in Life Flight. There may be an end in sight eventually. I’ve already been prepared by my pediatrician that Leo’s reflux may last until he’s around a year old. His reflux is caused by his digestive system being immature.
When I try to explain the things I have to do with Leo a little bit differently some of my friends & family don’t understand. My son has been drinking juice since he was 2 months old. His medication constipates him and my pediatrician recommended juice rather than Karo syrup. You don’t want to know how many times I’ve been told I’m ruining my child by given him juice at “such a young age.” It was only 2 ounces of juice at most in a day. In the beginning it was watered down apple juice. At six months old we switch to watered down cherry juice. Another thing we have had to do which results in eye brow raises is when we started purees. He has been eating solids since he was 4 months old. My pediatrician recommended starting solids to help reduce reflux. He’s been eating solids successfully since then. His favorite solids is peas & carrots. The final thing we do differently is how Leo sleeps. A reflux baby is suppose to sleep at an angle and on his back. Not my reflux baby. Ever since he was born he refuses to sleep on his back. Leo is a tummy sleeper. It isn’t as simple to change how he sleeps. We have tried countless times getting him to sleep on his side or back. It won’t happen, and I don’t think it will happen for awhile. Leo takes after his mommy. I didn’t start sleeping on my back until I was 7 years old. Is there a saying that goes “Like mother like son?”
Living with reflux baby is definitely a different experience. There have been days where I have had to make multiple shirt changes and we have a strict feeding schedule Leo follows because of when he needs to take his medication. In the beginning I thought we would never experience “normal” but in a way we have created our new normal. Leo’s happy, I’m happy, and most importantly my son’s reflux is at bay for now. Give me all of the eye brow raises, questions, and what ever else anyone can throw at me. Reflux is a different type of life for a baby, and that is alright.