Silent Reflux

A gorgeous mother recently shared her experience of Silent Reflux with her baby girl.

She writes:

Our wee girl started off as what our Midwife called a ‘Dream baby’. She was born by emergency caesarean due to her heart rate dropping but was fine once out, and she took to the breast straight away, was quite alert, interactive and smiley from early on. She was sleeping well and only waking a couple of times in the night.

At about 4 weeks old our Dream baby started to change, the so called witching hour grew from 3 – 10pm. She would cry and fight going back to sleep unless upright on our chests. Sometimes she would go to sleep then wake up 10 – 20 minutes later screaming, and didn’t seem to want to sleep in her bassinet at all.

She also started pulling away from the breast when feeding and would arch her back and scream. But other times it seemed to be the only thing that would calm her so she was on the breast more often than needed. We felt like we had tried every technique in the book – ‘The Baby Whisperer’, and ‘The Happiest Baby.’ techniques etc but nothing worked. After weeks of frustration and little sleep we went to my Mum’s for the whole day. My Mum is usually a bit like the Baby Whisperer and can calm any baby, but everything she tried didn’t work, and she suggested we ring our midwife for help.

When I rang the midwife and described what was happening the midwife said it sounded like she had reflux. But our girl never had spills after feeds and that’s what I thought reflux was. So she told me about Silent Reflux(some babies rarely vomit at all, but their feed will come part way up their oesophagus and then go back down again. This may cause pain and is known as Silent Reflux). Our midwife faxed a script for Infant Gaviscon to the emergency/after hours pharmacy for us to pick up that night. She also suggested the use of a Dummy (something I had been dead against and swore I’d never use!) to help her stop using my breast as a soother and drinking more milk than she needed which was causing her more tummy pains.

That night we gave our girl the Gaviscon in a bottle with water and she slept finally!!! Since then we carried on with the Infant Gaviscon as well as taking her to a Pediatric Cranial Osteopath (Janet Meller in Christchurch) who did some good work on Baby in just two short sessions. Plunket had suggested I go dairy free to see if that made an impact but I wasn’t keen on giving up chocolate without seeing if the Gaviscon and Osteopath worked. They also recommended the NZ website which was quite useful and as I read the symptoms for Silent reflux it sounded exactly like our girl! We also gave her Infacol with her Gaviscon which helped the Gaviscon go down better and got her wind up. We raised one end of her bassinet and cot, and when up tended to sit her propped up on pillows or in a Bumbo seat.

From then on until she was 5 months old our girl was sleeping through the night and seemed much better. At 5 months we started her on solids and she started sitting up on her own and her reflux seemed even better (as long as we didn’t give her too many acidy meals like apple!). But then she started waking more in the night and we needed to wean her off her dummy as she kept waking and couldn’t self settle without it, plus we wanted her sleeping more through the day and going to bed earlier in the evenings.

The book ‘Save our sleep’ so I borrowed it from the library. The combination of the regular routine, getting her up for longer first thing in the morning and taking away the dummy worked a treat and for the first time since she was born we had our girl sleeping from 7pm – 7am!! She is now a much happier and contented baby.

Everyone’s experiences are different, but support is out there.