Living with Silent Reflux – ‘Resident Blogger’ Hannah

hannah reflux 1Resident 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!

hannah reflux 2I 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.

hannah familyFor 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

Find out more about reflux and silent reflux from the NCT website

To buy or not to buy…? – ‘Resident Blogger’ Hannah

Wonderful Resident Blogger Hannah is back after her first month with beautiful new baby Toby! Here she tells us what she has found you realistically do and don’t need for life with a newborn. Lots of you will relate to this post, and if you’re currently making your new baby shopping list, you may just pick up some useful pointers.

 What are your tips for other expectant parents to buy for the nursery – and what should they leave in the shop, regardless of how cute it is? Share your dos and don’ts at @BlogsForBabies.
Hannah blogs at www.buddingsmiles.co.uk
As Toby prepares to turn a whole one month old (it’s gone so quickly!) I thought I’d write about the things that have proven invaluable in this first month, along with the things we probably could have lived without.

Essentials:

  • Bouncy chair… Toby really likes his bouncy chair and the movement has worked well at calming him from very early on. We went for the Fisher-Price Calming Vibrations chair in the Happy Forest theme because it looks really cosy where some look as if baby is perched on top of them and don’t look comfortable. Toby took a while to like the vibrations being on, but he does now and he’ll happily nap in his chair or just sit and look around.
  • Breast pads… I didn’t leak at all during pregnancy, but my goodness sometimes it’s like someone’s left a tap on! If I do Toby’s morning feed and forget to put a pad in, the side I’m not feeding from drowns us both! Even if you’re not breastfeeding, you’ll need these for a while because just the sound of your crying baby will likely set things off!
  • medela pumpBreast pump… I have just invested in a Medela Swing electric pump and it’s amazing. Prior to that I used a Tommee Tippee manual pump, which did the job but less efficiently and was less comfortable. I express 4oz a day for my husband to feed to Toby at 11pm so that I can have a break before the night shift commences. It’s also good to have some in reserve so that I can, on the odd occasion, be away from Toby for one feed. We’ve been doing this since Toby was 2 weeks old and it thankfully hasn’t caused any confusion with breastfeeding.
  • Slumber Bear… My friend’s baby slept through the night very early on (show off!) so she didn’t need Slumber Bear, who has various settings including white noise, womb noise and classical music. Toby drifts off at night to either the white noise or womb noise setting and seems to enjoy the classical music during quiet/nap times in the day.
  • Muslins, muslins, muslins… Quite simply, buy as many as you can fit in your drawer, changing bag and changing unit because you will need them. All of them. From milk dribble to sick, to that age old baby trick of weeing the moment you remove their nappy, you’ll go through more muslins each week than breast pads!
  • toby hannah slingSlings and carriers… These aren’t for everyone, but I adore my Calin Bleu woven gauze wrap and Toby settles instantly in it. He also likes walks out with Daddy in his Baby Bjorn Original carrier. They’re so convenient both around the house and for walks when taking the pram isn’t necessary. Toby also seems calmest when he close to us physically and our wrap and carrier mean we can give him that reassuring closeness and still have our hands free to get on with things.
*Warning, sickening gushy moment alert!!*
  • My husband… He has been absolutely wonderful and Toby and I are very blessed to have had Phil at home for the first four weeks. From family time to taking Toby so I can snooze, I’m so lucky to have such a great husband.
Now, those have been our essentials, but what could we have done without?
  • Moses basket… The purchase of a Moses basket was entirely my doing because I think they’re adorable with a cute newborn in them. However my son had other ideas and barely spent half an hour total in his before we put him in a glider crib instead.
  • toby carrycotCarrycot… Along the same lines as above, I wanted to take my gorgeous newborn out and about in a carrycot pram. We do use it, but a lot less often than the car seat and slings, so we could have coped without it in all honesty.
  • Teddy bears… I seriously do not want to sound ungrateful, but Toby has been bought so many teddies we don’t know what to do with them! I know as he gets a little older he’ll become attached to a few of them, but he doesn’t need dozens to choose from!
  • Disposable baby wipes… We started with cotton wool and water, then recently went on to reusable wipes which are a load more efficient at cleaning and don’t fill up the bin with smell! I haven’t added disposable nappies, however, because we’re still on a mix of disposable and cloth until Toby’s a little bigger.

There are, obviously, loads more things that can go on both lists, but ignoring the obvious ones, these are the main things that spring to mind.

I’d love to hear what your newborn essentials were, so get in touch!

Follow Hannah on Twitter @BuddingSmiles