Resident Blogger and all round lovely lady Hannah is new mum to Toby, now three months old. Poor Hannah and little Toby have not had the easiest of times unfortunately, as Toby has been suffering from a condition called silent reflux, where a baby’s stomach contents come back up their oesophagus but they show no sign of vomiting. It can cause tremendous pain to the baby, and a lot of upset and anxiety for mum, as Hannah explains in her latest post here.
Hannah blogs at www.buddingsmiles.co.uk
Anyone who reads my blog and/or follows me on Twitter may well know about my son Toby’s diagnosis of silent reflux. He was diagnosed at 6 weeks old and now at 13 weeks, I feel it’s time to write about our experiences so far.
The first few weeks of Toby’s life whizzed by in a blur of sleep deprivation, figuring out breastfeeding, scheduling visitors and snuggling our new son. Looking back, he was never a truly settled baby and try as we might with the Moses basket, Toby would only sleep in mine or his Daddy’s arms. By about 5 weeks it was very clear that he was more unsettled than other babies; as we ventured out more and met up with our NCT friends and other new parents, Toby would cry constantly unless being fed or bounced whilst their babies cooed and slept. Still, neither the health visitor nor GP thought anything was wrong at the scheduled checks so we just carried on.
Things became really tough quite quickly and soon Toby was pulling away from my breast screaming, arching his back and going almost rigid. It was horrible to see and it felt like a personal rejection to me. I was told to work on my latch but I knew that the latch was fine. One day, I noticed Toby’s tummy gurgling during a feed, then he pulled away and sounded like he was going to be horrifically sick but nothing came out. When this had happened a few times, I called the health visitor and she immediately said it was silent reflux. It was that simple!
I had a phone consultation with a GP and Infant Gaviscon was prescribed, but after a few days of even more screaming – we’re talking 10 hours a day – alongside constipation, we stopped the Gaviscon as any possible benefits were totally outweighed by the terrible pain he was in from constipation. I called the GP back, ready for a fight, but he immediately got us an appointment and prescribed Omeprazole.
Seven weeks later, we’ve had good days and bad days; the Omeprazole does seem to have helped and since, Toby’s also been put on Dentinox for colic. On the bad days, Toby has cried and screamed for hours on end and I won’t sugar coat, I too have cried very many tears. I have told myself repeatedly that if silent reflux is as bad as it ever gets for Toby then Phil and I are very lucky, but when you watch your son screaming in pain and crunching his legs up, unable to open his bowels or have a full feed then it’s heartbreaking.
As the stress took its toll I accepted that I couldn’t keep exclusively breastfeeding because it meant that I couldn’t have a break, allow Phil or our families to help out on the bad days so that I could rest. Some people continue to feed no matter what and I commend them, but I felt incapable of being the best possible Mummy to Toby if I was an emotional wreck. We began combination feeding during our family holiday a couple of weeks ago and that was a huge turning point. With shared responsibility at night and on the weekends, I can have a bit of time to breathe, to reset my head and to go back in with more strength to help Toby through this.
Whether it’s the feeding, the elusive 3 month mark, the medicine or complete coincidence, Toby does seem a lot better. Toby now sleeps better, smiles more and is developing at an amazing rate. Sometimes he cries, he is a baby after all, but the frequency of the gurgling tummy has reduced and Toby seems so much happier. Phil and I obviously don’t want Toby on medication long-term, but for now things are working and I think we’ll wait until weaning commences (which I’m so excited about!) then speak to the GP and figure out a course of action.
For any parents reading who are experiencing the horror of reflux, please do accept help, fight if doctors won’t listen to you and take each day as it comes. I hated it when people told me it would get better, but it truly is doing and I feel like the Mummy I was born to be, with a perfect, beautiful, smiley son who I love to the ends of the earth.
I’m doing a reflux series of posts on my blog, the first of which was my very first vlog, so please have a read and do get in touch if you want to chat.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @BuddingSmiles