Sunday, January 18, 2015

Infant Reflux.. Not What The Mommy Ordered

This is our smiling baby girl. The happy baby and she really is a happy baby more than 90% of the time. Then there is that small % of time where she is a little sad face. Once I see those pouty lips, scrunchy nose and chin wrinkles appear I know that there is going to be a drop in the fun Autumn roller coaster ride. That happy smile can go to a sad face within seconds, minutes, hours or from a random noise that awakes her while she was peacefully sleeping.

Babies are just as emotional as their new mommies (in my opinion). That's what I have learned in these 8 weeks of Autumn's life. You can do everything you can possible to make them happy which most of the time works but sometimes they just are little fussy faces. 

Aside from those moments our little jelly bean is going through a rough time with Infant Reflux which we just discovered within the last few weeks. Certain symptoms we just took as "she's a newborn and that's how babies are". It wasn't until last week that I just felt something was not right. I didn't realize how common it was and it's been comforting talking to other mommies that went or are going through reflux with their little munchkins. (Shout-out to the most amazing support system!)

I wanted to write a post on this so that I can track Autumn's progress and when we get past this I hope it can help other moms to know they're not alone. That is how I felt, alone... until I found others that are battling this. I am no expert by any means but am sharing our experience. 

To an adult, reflux is not fun, and it may not seem like the worst thing in the world, but when a baby has it and you see the pain they're going through.. it's honestly like someone ripping your heart out and you're told to give it time.

What are her symptoms? She was beginning to arch her back during feedings and scream. She pulls away from the bottle several times as well my breasts during nursing and latches back on. These actions she would repeat. For a breastfeeding mom that looks forward to that comfort of nursing, experiencing this takes quite a toll on you emotionally. Not being able to nurse your baby to sleep or comfort her leaves you feeling extremely depressed, unfulfilled and insecure. She would do this all while crying and seeming as though she's incredibly uncomfortable and frustrated. She spits up quite frequently which of course causes more acid. Mind you, there are good feedings normally earlier in the day. It always progresses as the day does. She would cry at times being placed on her back and wake up at moments screaming (not fussing or baby cries) as if she was in complete pain. Sadly, for a few weeks we thought maybe she's just gassy in which we followed instructions on helping the baby push through that..... but no dice.

Supposedly, reflux can just "go away" between 3-6 months old, vamoosh, outta here! Some have mentioned it took a year before their babies reflux vanished. If you're going through this you know it's not something you can wait out and let it pass. You're missing out on valuable time with your babies during those feedings and at other times during the day. 

What are our Treatment Methods? There's so many things we have read online that work for some and not for others but we are working on trying everything possible! I'm constantly researching to work on getting rid of this reflux or at least controlling it.

*We have bought a sleep wedge for her crib to raise her up. This way when she sleeps, she's on an angle (just as adults need to do when they have reflux). 
*After each feeding we have to keep her upright for 20-30 minutes. For moms that know if a baby is sleepy this definitely is a burden as you know your baby is completely exhausted, but that's what we need to do. 
*Burping, burping, burping.. man does she hate burping. This hasn't changed as it's something we've always done and has to be done reflux or no reflux.
*We have now began adding a very small amount of rice cereal to her bottles she gets in the evening of breast milk. This weighs down the milk which then makes is less likely of her spitting up after the bottle. 
*Medicine - We are parents that do not like giving our baby medicine and prefer other options but in this case we have started her per the pediatrician on Zantac. She's been on this for a week now and we had to increase the dosage to the maximum that is still safe for her weight and age. 
*Mommy Diet - I have began a diet to rule out any allergies that are causing Autumn's reflux. I have taken milk, eggs, nuts, soy and fish out of my diet. Try finding stuff to eat... it's a toughie but it's what this mommy has to do for her baby!

We're hoping that among all of this there were will be some relief for our little Autumn Lily. Already, she is doing well with the rice cereal in her evening bottles. Shes' successfully finished them with no spit up which is wonderful. We haven't noticed a difference yet with the sleep wedge as she's still sleeping the same stretches as before. The medicine as I mentioned we had to increase. If there is no change by next week we'll be seeing other options. The diet, I just began so we wouldn't see a drastic change quite yet.

I am at this moment sending positive thoughts to all of those mommies out there in which their little babes are suffering from reflux. It's definitely a tough time but enjoy all the smiles your baby gives you and embrace all those happy moments you get during the day. That's what keeps you going and provides the light at the end of the tunnel that once there is control over the reflux we'll get that small % of time we're missing out on, back.