Reflux can be a living nightmare, for everyone involved. For baby, it’s understandably and often relentlessly horrendous, and for the parents, it’s incredibly upsetting. The feeling of helplessness coupled with the severe sleep deprivation that goes with a reflux baby can be absolutely brutal. All three of us have found some days better than others, with even some nights feeling like we’re winning, perhaps turning a little corner, with one less snack feed, and one longer cat-nap… then BOOM! Ten steps backwards, no, scratch that – ten steps forward in the WRONG direction – with symptoms exacerbated even more than ever before.
I was first introduced to the reflux disease second-hand, when Leonora’s daughter suffered badly as a baby. Knowing what Leonora and her daughter went through and realising we’re now following in exactly the same footsteps, I know there’s a long road ahead.
Through our Jellie Diary Facebook page, we’re learning that reflux and Cows’ Milk Protein Allergy are common issues faced by babies. We’re told by our mums that CMPA is a condition that often goes hand in hand with reflux a lot of the time. This is a possibility we’re currently exploring by going dairy free with the help of Nutramigen. It’s a week in, no improvements to report yet. It surprised me how many other parents have been through similar or the exact same things with their children. The light at the end of the tunnel is that it’s very reassuring to know that all those babies and their parents, have mostly all come out the other side completely unscathed – with only a few carrying on an intolerance into early childhood.
I don’t know about you, but I think the saddest thing about reflux is that it robs you of those precious first few weeks and months with your baby. Mums have told us the condition will pass with time, but I don’t want to wish away those first days of her life. And I certainly feel as though Maddie’s little life has been blighted by the disease. She should be smiling more, she should be learning to laugh. I almost think she’s missing little milestones – just the little ones; the ones I hear about from my NCT Whatsapp group. Those proud mummy moments – their babies reaching out for things, starting to be interested in toys and rattles, sleeping through the night – even going on walks and lunches. Things I don’t feel I can do unless very close to home. Going out and planning anything with a baby that’s in pain a lot of the time is very tricky to say the least. You can’t plan with any baby, with reflux it’s worse. Maddie’s main priorities in life right now revolve around pain. It makes me feel terribly sad that her first experiences of life are overshadowed by this horrible condition, and I worry about her. A lot.
I met a mother in my local garden centre on Sunday, we got chatting as her 4 year old daughter showed an interest in a sleeping Maddie. The topic quickly turned to reflux, and CMPA, to which her daughter suffered extremely badly with as a baby, and continues to be allergic – and dairy free. This mum told me how at one point in those early months, she headed to the train tracks with her baby, fully intent on throwing them both in front of a train due to sleep deprivation caused by reflux. It’s no surprise then, that recent research conducted by Australian support website found that more than 1 in 4 parents (29%) had a diagnosis of post-natal depression or anxiety. I find this really alarming.
Besides the products we’ve personally come across so far, my advice to anyone discovering they’re in the same position is to fight yours and your baby’s corner. My first trip to the GP was fruitless – I came away with a baby massage move. Fantastic! Lovely. Not going to cut it. We rocked up at A&E a week or so later after being completely worried sick about her screaming, crying, and inability to feed without constantly pulling off, projectile vomiting, and being unable to keep her food down. We were seen promptly by a paediatric doctor, who monitored Maddie, confirmed reflux, and prescribed liquid Omeprazole. A big victory we thought, until we realised getting a daily dose of 5ml liquid medicine successfully down a baby’s throat when it tastes clearly rank to them is nigh-on impossible to do.
There are times when things get tough. When you’re on your own and there’s only you there to console your baby, and whatever you try just doesn’t cut the mustard, we know how this feels as we’ve been there. We are there. Right now. You’re not alone. I wanted to put together a quick top 10 products – the ones we use to deal with reflux on a daily basis, stuff that can help turn bad situations around. Products to cope with the symptoms. This is by no means a comprehensive list in terms of products on the market, but more the ones we have bought, tried and tested so far. There are common sense items, but also some real go-to products, that I don’t know what we would do without. I hope you find this vlog useful. We’ll hopefully add to this as we go along our journey, so watch out for Part II at a later date.
Red Castle Cocoonababy Nest from JoJo Maman Bebe
Red Castle Cocoonababy Ergonomic Sleep Positioner from JoJo Maman Bebe
Stars and Zebras Muslin Collection from Cheeky Chompers
Serena 2in1 from Joie
360 Anti-Reflux and Colic Bottles from Nuby
BabyBundle Widgey Nursing Pillow from Mothercare