Infant reflux made me crazy

I may not have the answers to why the cute little child won’t sleep, I may not have the answers to why they are so god dam picky with food, I may not have the answers to what the best way to discipline a child is but one thing this mumma does have the answers to is reflux in bubs.

Both my sons had reflux and dairy allergies although my second born had a much milder case of it and I was well prepared and knew what I was looking for and how to treat it – thank goooood!!!!!!

So I had this cute little bub with chubby cheeks and big blue eyes – he came into this world like a force to be reckoned with and gave me a real run for my money both physically and mentally. So here I was post birth, basically broken in two mind you, thinking I’ve got this mothering gig, he’s latched well, my milk supply is good, he’s sleeping pretty well – what do they mean this job is hard.

BOOM!!!!! Three weeks hit – it became a living nightmare of screaming baby, crying mother, bouncing up and down, carrying him all day, him spitting my milk out and refusing to stay latched and refusing to sleep! Holy hell – I rang my mum in desperation and I think she thought I was crazy but she took the day off anyway and came to help me and give me a break. And then she got a taste of it…… he would not sleep unless he was moving, he wouldn’t lay on the floor, he wanted to be upright alllllll the time. Mum only had me and she was like ‘I don’t know what’s up with him, you never did this’ 😂😂

But from there it started – 6-9 months of trying new tactics, going to Drs, getting a pediatrician….. it was a horrible introduction into motherhood. I felt touched out, mentally tired from feeling as though I was failing as a mother, exhausted from worrying all the time.

One of my best friends will tell you, she was my hairdresser at the time and I left the salon with my foils in to go home and try and get my baby to sleep for the night as my ex husband wasn’t able to get him to drink his bottle. I then went back to the salon to wash my foils out. There was a period where he would settle or take a bottle from no one but me.

It became a nighttime ritual of music and distractions – bouncing my son in my arms to get him to drink before he would fall asleep exhausted and I would retreat just as exhausted to the lounge room and wonder how I would make it through the next day.

I would feel sick when my ex husband would leave for work and I knew I would be alone. I would have some days that were good and I’d think ‘oh we are moving past it’ but nope, it would just be a rare day when he was happy or in less pain.

If you have never had a child with reflux it’s hard to understand but it’s essentially like motherhood high on crack (not that I have a point of reference for this but it seems like a good analogy). Reflux bubs are not settled, they demand you all the time, they don’t like to lay down and they cry ALOT!!!

I went to an osteopath, would frequently visit chemists to buy all the at home remedies, I elevated his cot, I tried gaviscon, infacol, feed thickener, Zantac and Losec (in several different dosages), too many formulas to count, I spent 7 weeks shoving a dummy in his mouth before he eventually realised Mummy was not going to give up and took it and finally he was medicated on nexium.

All these trials and tests went on for months, I kept waiting for him to ‘grow out’ of it – by 5.5 months post partum my milk dried up from stress and because I couldn’t get my bub to consistently feed. I took him to a Sydney paed in the end as I couldn’t wait any longer in Canberra for one and it was a life saver. I was told to put my bub on a fully dairy free diet and he was given Allepro and nexium and infacol with every feed to bring up the wind. It was not an easy decision to medicate my son so heavily but it was a life saver. I finally had answers and I was finally getting somewhere with my baby becoming happier.

I went to his 4 year old immunisations and growth development checks this year and saw his weight chart from back then. He had completely fallen off the chart, was totally underweight and not growing properly. It was a heart breaking thing to go through as a first time mum and I have always believed this was a massive contributor to my post natal depression.

Once I sorted the reflux, I still had issues that he just wouldn’t take to solids properly. This time I didn’t question myself – I marched him off to my family GP at 13 months, she had one look in his throat and said his tonsils are enlarged – they need to come out. I saw the specialist on the Friday and he was booked for full tonsil and adenoid removal and grommets inserted for the following Tuesday. The tonsils were blocking his throat making it difficult to eat and his adenoids were causing sleep apnea which was making my baby grumpy as he was hungry and tired – great combo!!!

By this stage – I was four months pregnant again and totally exhausted.

I had been diagnosed with depression by this stage but it was too late – my marriage had started to crumble and I was living alone. What I rolled into was some of the saddest loneliest times in my life.

The surgery fixed it all for my little man- following this he went from strength to strength – growing, developing and so much happier!!! The point is here – I should have trusted my gut, I should have backed myself when I knew something wasn’t right with my baby and sought better help. I should have admitted how much I was struggling, how much mental pain I was in. I wouldn’t have been so alone.

It is true what they say about mothers – you will literally break yourself to keep your kids afloat. But I guess in hindsight, it really shouldn’t be that way. When I did open up to a few people, I was met with comments like ‘just relax, he’s fine’ ‘don’t worry he will grow out of it’ ‘motherhood is hard’. These were all well meaning comments but all they did was make me hide how I was feeling even more as I felt stupid and didn’t back my judgement.

Come the second time round I nailed it – I went dairy free straight away, used infacol, Allepro and medicated early on and he had grown out of it by 6 months. My second mothering experience……. totally different and absolutely amazing because I backed myself and didn’t listen to the ‘do gooders’

Much love,

MM

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