silent reflux

Just the words, silent reflux, makes me want to start bawling my eyes out, even now I can feel hot prickly tears spring to the backs of my eyes. It’s a dreaded phrase in this house that doesn’t get spoken much of anymore and when it does it’s said in a very hushed tone. I want to take  silent reflux and give it a good talking to (to put it politely) because it gave my tiny baby hell for the first 6 months of her life.

I touched on the topic of reflux in My motherhood experience so far: Part One but I don’t feel like I did the horrors of such a topic any justice. I truly believe that unless you’re a parent who has had a baby that suffers with this dreadful illness then you just don’t know what I’m talking about and I am incredibly jealous of you.

Bringing home your first baby from hospital is a scary concept at the beginning. Knowing this tiny human can’t depend on their own without you is so overwhelming. It’s hard work for any parent to adjust to life with a brand new baby. And then reflux is thrown into the mix.

I had heard of it before but of course having never been a parent or gone through anything similar I didn’t know that much about it. But boy, was I about to! It started to effect Ivy once she hit 3 weeks old. I noticed that during our breastfeeds she would work herself up throughout the day and especially if I lied her down to feed which became increasingly worse as the day would drag on, until at nighttime she was inconsolable.

This would go on from six pm until midnight; six hours (sometimes longer) of none stop screaming and crying. And that was from both of us. I had heard of colic and because Ivy was so much worse in the evenings I assumed it was that at first. I tried every over the counter drug you can think of that they recommend for colic and for wind. I took her to the doctors but they didn’t prescribe me anything at first they just told me about baby massage, about over the counter drugs and Calpol.

I massaged her every night and did the cycling legs and all of that jazz. NOTHING worked. The only thing that calmed her down at midnight (sometimes it went on until three am) was pure exhaustion from both of us. I would have her in the sling and bounce on an exercise ball for six hours whilst blasting the hairdryer (white noise is a godsend). It did wonders for my waistline but my sanity was in tatters.

My partner worked at 6 am in the mornings so it fell to me every single night. I felt like it was all of my fault. That it must be something I was doing wrong, I was breastfeeding wrong, I was trying to calm her down all wrong, I was a useless mother. I was making my child go hungry. I wrote about how I felt like I had lost my identity as a mother and that was in large due to going through this experience.

I gave in quite a few times and gave her a bottle of formula some nights and then that would make me feel even more guilty and a fresh lot of tears would start all over again. She just worked herself up over that as well.

Friends and family meant well but their advice started to really get to me. I felt like every one of them was putting me down, how could they know best? She was my baby! And some even told me stories of how their babies still didn’t sleep now that they were four. A heartbroken, sleep deprived new mother does not want to hear this people!

Me and my partner eventually took her back to the doctors to see a different one for a second opinion. This time they told us about silent reflux. Silent because Ivy showed no outward signs of it, she was never sick after her feeds for example.

They prescribed us Infant Gaviscon. It meant I had to express some milk to put in a bottle with the Gaviscon but we started her on it straight away. Unfortunately it made her extremely constipated and I didn’t know which was worse. Now she was worked up to high heaven every single hour of every day because she was in pain from not being able to poo! We’d traded one fresh hell for another.

We took her back off of the Gaviscon so the silent reflux cycle continued. I hardly went out anymore because I dreaded having to breastfeed Ivy in public because she would be constantly on and off my boob and screaming and crying. I googled homemade remedies for silent reflux and tried them all. Then I came across something called Ranitidine.

So after a couple of weeks of this we took her back to the doctors a third time but they would only recommended the Gaviscon because they don’t want to give babies any medication they might not need if there is a better solution.

I knew deep down I agreed with them but I was reluctant at first until I decided to do as I was told and give it one last go. If it didn’t work this time then I was demanding they put her on the Ranitidine if I had to go back a fourth time.

I noticed she was a bit constipated at first but nowhere near as bad as she had been the first time we had tried Gaviscon. I persevered and it eventually got a little bit better as the weeks went on. Finally after feeling like I would never see my baby smile because she would always be in pain I felt relief. Relief for Ivy and relief for my sanity as well! Now came the hard part of getting her to go down without the sling and the bouncing which she had become so reliant on!

I also felt incredibly guilty. Guilty that I hadn’t persevered with the Gaviscon in the first place. I felt like I had caused my baby extra weeks of pain that she hadn’t needed to go through. Now I know all about the mum-guilt and how that never truly goes away. I look back on pictures of Ivy from that time and I notice that she did have good times. It was just that I was stuck in this silent reflux hell and couldn’t see a way out until I could.

Whenever I hear of other parents and their babies going through silent reflux I feel a pang deep down and I want to cry for them. I know how absolutely shattering and exhausting it can be and how it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That even when other parents tell you it will end you just can’t listen.

I just want you to know that you are not alone and if I had had someone to talk to who had gone through the same then I would have maybe gotten through it a little more graceful than I did and possibly with my sanity still intact (what’s that, nobody has any sanity after they become a parent?).

So please know that I am here and if you have any questions on the topic of silent reflux then I will be more than happy to try and answer those for you.

parentingblogger

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Posted by:ivyandiblog

Mother. Partner. Blogger. Coffee addict (show me a mother who isn't!)

9 replies on “Lets Talk About The Horrors Of Silent Reflux

  1. Both my oldest daughter and newest (4weeks) daughter suffered from silent reflux. Zantac is currently our savior, and believe me I tried EVERYTHING! It is awful. They cry in pain and you cannot calm or bring them peace. Thanks for sharing. Glad to know I’m not alone.

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  2. Isla suffers from reflux & we also thought it was colic at first! We spent a fortune on infacol, coleif, dentinox, gripe water you name it! But was prepared to if it would stop the inconsolable crying from 8pm til 2am! One night she was so bad when we lay her down we thought she couldn’t breathe, it was terrifying! Adam was changing her in the next room and he just ran into me holding her while she was gasping and bubbling from her mouth. We took her to the on call drs at 4am & they gave us the infant gaviscon which I thought was amazing until she couldn’t poo & was screaming in pain with that! So then she was given lactulose to go with that but I just felt absolutely awful that I making her bottles at a few weeks old with so much medication added to them. Luckily though, as Isla is formula fed, she has finally settled down on the aptamil reflux & regurgitation milk up to now! I attempted breast feeding but couldn’t handle the pain! So I have enormous respect for anyone who does it long term. It’s so scary though when they’re screaming and nothing you do seems to help them. Thanks for sharing your experience with it too! I also thought it must have been something I was doing wrong x

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    1. Poor little Isla, I’m so glad they grow out of it! Really hope she’s over the worst of it. Ahh, it really is scary. You try absolutely everything and when none of it works you end up feeling like it’s all of your fault. We also used lactulose when she went on gaviscon for the second time. I didn’t know you could give it to babies it was only because my mum was a chemist and she told me otherwise nobody would have said anything! Even when I went into Boots the woman had to actually look it up herself to check it could be given to her! Something so simple as well. Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your experience. It really does help knowing you did everything you could possibly do. Good luck to you and Isla. X

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  3. I have literally just come out of the silent reflux hell!!
    I feel like I could have written the article as most things you were saying was exactly like what we went through. My little girl got to the point where she was vomiting blood and had to be admitted to hospital. She got prescribed Omeprazole and what a god send it is. We now have such a happy smiley baby which is so nice to see,no more screaming,tears or pain at bed time!:)

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    1. Ahh, I’m so glad you have come through the worst of it all. It’s such a heartbreaking, exhausting and lonely experience isn’t it. I’m made up you have your happy, smiley baby. Enjoy it while it lasts, they grow up too quick! x

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  4. Please….I have NO one who understands. I am ALL alone. I’d prefer not to post my story here for all to see but my sweet little one, who was born at 4 pounds 12 ounces, got down to 4 pounds 4 ounces (she was born literally 3 hours into my 36th week) hasn’t been a happy baby yet but you can tell she so desperately wants to!!! She-Everly Joy-will be three months soon, and is still so small, still in newborn clothing. Could you please write me? I need a mother who understands!!!

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    1. I am so sorry you are going through this and that you feel so alone! Are your community midwifery or health visitor team there to help you? And if you are breastfeeding there might be a support group in your area? It should be such a happy time with your newborn but reflux makes it incredibly hard to enjoy it. Please email me on ivyandiblog@gmail.com or if you have Facebook and Twitter I am available on either if you want to private message me, just search Ivy & I. Feel free to ask anything you want or I am here if you just need to talk. Sending you so much love! X

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  5. The worst bit is the sleep deprivation. My son would only manage to sleep for 45 mins at a time, so I never got more than about 30 mins at a time! It nearly sent me into a deep depression. There needs to be much more support for mums of silent reflux babies! 😦 ranitidine saved us after months of struggling. He grew out of it by 8m old…

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