It has dawned on me last night, I am a survivor. A baby reflux survivor! I did it with Emma, 4 years ago and I am doing it now again. So that makes me almost an expert. And I thought I would put together 10 tips for people who are going through this terrible thing right now, so they can take heart.
1. Set a survival plan in place. Once George was diagnosed with reflux three weeks ago I knew I had to have a plan in place. I got my mum over to help me during the day so I can rest and survive the nights. If you have/had a reflux baby you know that the emotional strain is enormous, since the pain is there constantly. There is no feeding or sleeping pattern as such so everything is random and unpredictable, which makes things really tough. You need consistency and the only one you can get during these tough months is the one you create for yourself. I take time to rest during the day now, even for an hour and also take time to blog. Luxury? No. For me it is a coping mechanism and a way to release all this pent-up anxiety I have within me.
2. Help your baby sleep
I knew from last time that a sleep wedge helps a reflux baby sleep better. Not sleep through the night. Not sleep without waking up in agony every so often. But sleep a bit better in a proper bed. So we bought a Tucker wedge this time and it has brought a bit of relief to him and to my conscience since before he would have slept either on his tummy or in his car seat.
Also, I have found that swaddling and rocking in the pram help Georgie rest. My mum does the rocking during the day when he is unsettled so that he doesn’t get overtired and frantic.
3. Ask for help I have asked friends several times to take Emma over for a night and she goes to a childminder three days a week.
4. Ditch the guilt During the first few weeks I was terribly guilt ridden as I was trying to be everything for everybody. It can’t be done! So stop beating yourself up.Over being shouty. Over being nasty to your hubby. Over not seeing people in Tesco’s or not feeling like talking to them. Over not being able to put your older one to bed like you used to. Over her playing on her own most days. Over missing her GB class,once again. Over losing the plot and wanting to put the baby out for a few hours so you can sleep.
5. Don’t pick fights with the loved ones We do tend to pick on each other when stressed and tired. But it doesn’t really help anyone. All it does it create more tension and alienate you from the ones you love most. Try explaining yourself and your feelings in a calm manner. If you can’t, just avoid talking until you are calm.
6. Look after yourself I had to go on antidepressants. A thing I would have never envisaged myself doing before. But I know I am not myself. I can hear myself. I can feel the tension and anxiety pour out of myself at times. I can feel the anger and the pain overwhelm me at times. And I did it so I can get back to who I am. To find myself again.
I also found that taking time off, even to get out to get a coffee or do a bit of shopping by myself, helps enormously. It takes my mind off what is my reality at the moment and helps me see normality and gives me hope that soon I will be there myself.
Rest when you can. As I said above, rest is part of my survival plan. It helps me think straight again and allows me to look after myself and the rest of the family. As Emma says it: “When you are not tired mummy, you are kind. You are not shouty.”
7. Don’t lose hope Although I believe in God I must confess, I have days when I really struggle with the “whys”. That is why I try and listen to Christian music when I can.Or read a Bible study specifically geared on encouragement. So I can be reminded that there is a reality that is bigger than my own. A God that is stronger than myself. A healer that can still touch my baby and heal him in a flash. And until He does, a reminder that everything has an end and He can sustain me through everything.
8. Take one day at the time For a reflux baby, there are good days, bad days and extremely bad days. You can’t predict them so the wisest thing to do is to take it as it comes. Don’t plan too much ahead so you don’t get disappointed. Just go with it and if you have the random good day, take advantage of it! Go for a walk, have a play in the park, go out for pizza.
9. Trust yourself The lack of sleep and the constant crying can leave a mum seriously doubting herself. “Am I doing the right thing for my baby?” In most cases, I would say you do. Unfortunately, it is not in your hands to relieve your child’s pain but I am sure that, like me, you do everything in your power to make him comfortable and safe. You can’t ask more of yourself.
10. Seek medical help for your little one I knew from when we had Emma and her reflux that medication can be prescribed for these cases. Georgie is on medication since last Friday but they prescribed it to him in adult form. To spare expenses…So I will need to go back on Friday and ask for it in a suspension form, much easier to administer for a small bubba.
There is a protocol in place and reflux babies are put on infant Gaviscon and Carobel before moving onto stronger stuff. Just persist and ask your GP for a pediatrician referral if things are bad and don’t let them put you down. Your child needs you to speak and intercede for him and you need to knock doors down, if need be, in order to make sure he is getting that extra help.
And remember, it will eventually pass. Everything does, good and bad…
It’s tough going, Oana. I admire your wisdom and honesty. I love the photo of your sweet boy and I hope, that when you look into his eyes you find comfort and strength to keep going as you have been so far.May you find yourself again, may your faith and love guide you in this incredible journey of being a parent.sending big hugs
Thank you, Iva. It will end some day. But until then, I have to hang on.xx
Such good tips, and what a beautiful baby! 🙂
some great points there, we never suffered with either of ours but I can imagine in a tiny baby it is quite distressing (& for you too). Beautiful baby, can I have a cuddle please!
This too shall pass as they say, hope it does fast, beautiful baby.
Well done on surviving the first time and you will again.
It’s brought back memories for me as Harry suffered Reflux as a baby. Thankfully he out grew it
great post – as you know we’ve been there bought the T shirt several times, although for us with a probable underlying connective tissue disorder and inflammatory gut disease it has never passed – indeed my 86 yr old father still suffers! http://thereciperesource.blogspot.co.uk/p/dealing-with-infant-reflux.html is a leaflet I wrote for local groups/two hospitals for parents, checked with a specialist paed gastro. It’s quite old now and mostly addresses the “crisis management” side, but there are some food tips. Gut sensitivity to cows milk, and often soya too are the biggest causes of infant reflux, along with immaturity. Reflux is ALWAYS a symptom not a disease or condition in its own right, and usually passes thankfully.
I am so grateful that D, my son, didn’t have reflux but we knew babies than it did and it seemed awful. Really hoping I don’t have to face it with baby on the way…
Reflux is horrible not only for the child but also the parents, especially if you you’ve no idea what the problem is and lack of supportive doctors who don’t know much about it either. Sounds like you have a plan and that helps with coping. Sounds sensible
We were extremely lucky in thst N only had fairly mild silent reflux but both kinds seem so much more prevalent now. Hopefully more doctors will be more supportive, as I know friends whose children suffered a long time without support
Some great tips there, especially ask for help, that is the toughest one for anyone to do x
Wow… Thank you for writing this. We are going through this right now with our 4 month old. It is so incredibly draining, both physically and emotionally…to the point that I find it hard to enjoy her, and hard to find anything positive to say when people ask about her. And I’ve found that very few people/moms understand, unless they have been through it themselves. So THANK YOU for sharing your battle… it is nice to know I’m not alone.
Amy, reflux is horrible! I have a wedge I could give u for your little one, where do you live?xx
Thank you for writing this very honest and REAL blog. Oh my days, someone who actually understands!! I feel like a crazy person most of the day because of the screaming. By the time my husband gets home from work he sees maybe 1 or 2 meltdowns and then she’s all dozy for bedtime. So no one else deals with it day in day out so they can’t possibly understand what it can do to a person’s mental health. I wish I had more support, I love the fact your Mum can help you. I do it alone all day every day. Sending you my love xx
Great Blog Post. I really appreciate your tips on surviving baby reflux.