Reflux is a fairly common issue amongst newborns and can be quite distressing for both the mother and baby. First-mum, Evana Choudhury, has been dealing with her son’s reflux/gas issues since he was born 6 weeks premature. He is now 2 years old and she has written about how she copes with it with the hope it can help another mum out there. You can find her on instagram @mummy.chowdhury
“He will grow out of it”, the most dreaded words anyone can utter to a parent who has a child with reflux. My son is now two years old and he still suffers with digestive issues. Believe me when I say I have tried absolutely everything! Here’s a little about my journey and what I have found has helped, hopefully some of the things can help you too!
My son had colic from 3 months onwards for about 2 months. Just before he started his solids he actually went through a whole blissful month of no gas, vomit or stomach pains. However, as soon as he started his solids his reflux got considerably worse.
Now before I go on, there is a variation of how serious reflux can be. My son on a scale of 1 to 10 was about 8. He was vomiting after every meal but he was able to still eat and drink, whereas some babies unfortunately really suffer and can’t eat because of it.
I decided to go visit a GP and then was referred to a paediatrician. Following their advice, we tried everything, Neocate special formula, varying his diet, less/more milk etc. He was prescribed Gaviscon, Renitidine and was given Omeprazole. We were literally given all the meds you can give a child with reflux. It took us about 6/7 months to finish and trial all of these and unfortunately nothing worked for him. It actually made things so much worse and his sleep was affected by it so badly.
He has never been a ‘great’ sleeper, he always had wake ups but his stomach issues now mean that for two years he hasn’t gone a single night with peaceful sleep as he is always suffering with cramping. (And yes, I am a zombie!). To be honest, it’s really taken a toll on me too as for about a year and a half I was constantly awake every hour trying to soothe him and end up sleeping with him upright. For the last 6 months things have become slightly better because I have researched and googled reflux and gas so much that I now try and control his issues by adjusting his diet.
I must also mention, that we also went private with the hopes of getting another diagnosis. He had an allergy test and thankfully he wasn’t allergic to anything but again that doesn’t mean your child isn’t intolerant. For example, they can still eat certain foods and suffer even if they don’t have an allergic reaction. So, after another 4/5 months I was actually told that my child has ‘separation anxiety’ and that’s why he acts up at night time and he doesn’t have any issues. This really upset me because it had no relevance to his issues and it made me feel like I was the one to blame, even though I knew I wasn’t.
I took things into my own hands and tried different natural remedies too. Infacol, gripe water, fennel tea and even colic calm (American homeopath remedy) helped mildly but nothing gave him relief. I realised that diet plays a massive role in reflux and gas, so I base all his meals on foods that are not acidic. It does take a lot of trial and error but I feel like it has improved his digestive issues slightly.
Here is an example of what he eats during the day:
Breakfast: oat or almond milk with crunchy nut cereal
Snack: Veggie sticks or Banana
Lunch: Rice and chicken curry (very little onions in the curry)
Dinner: Sandwich/ Wraps with egg or dairy free cheese
Even though he isn’t allergic to dairy, I find that cow’s milk or dairy really gives him stomach pains and makes him bloated. I also found following the FODMAP diet was really helpful too. This involves avoiding foods that are not easily broken down by the gut. (A lot of people who suffer from IBS also follow this diet). You can find a list here: https://www.ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet/fodmap-food-list/
I know this is an uphill battle but I really hope that for my son’s sake it does get better and he can finally have a good night sleep. To all other parents dealing with this, please know you aren’t alone and keep questioning your GP or specialist about other routes they can take to help relieve your child’s pain. Every child is different so the reason for discomfort or reflux will be different so what ever happens don’t let them tell you that it’s a phase or that they will grow out of it.