My Refluxer – Guest Post

This is a guest post, by friend and fellow CAN member, Ursula Easton-Pool

My Refluxer

My son is here, C-sec as breech,
His cot is close, within my reach.
All goes well, he just won’t sleep,
The fussy feeds, arching back in pain he screams, I can only weep!
 
A month goes by,
Which is day? Which is Night?
Weekly trips to the Doctors, “Please Help Me!”.
They say “ It’s Colic, What else can it be?”.
Six Weeks gone,
I can’t go on.
 
Finally a friend,
My ear she bends.
“Silent Reflux, That’s its name”.
Many Doctors don’t know it, such a shame.
Back to the Doctors, now my video shall be seen
We’re given Infant Gaviscon and Ranitidine.
“Breastfeeding?”, “A milk free diet for you!”,
Reflux and Milk Allergies often go two by two.
 
Ten weeks old,
My breath I hold.
Still asleep,
Not a peep.
From 10 til 7,
“Ah!, I’m in Heaven”
 

Both of my children have suffered with Reflux.  My daughter (now 6) had Acid Reflux (AR), she projectile possetting after every feed, but she outgrew it 12 months. My son (now 3) really suffered with Silent Reflux (SR), this can be potentially more serious as it is often misdiagnosed as Colic. The main difference between these is that Colic tends to begin at about 8-10 weeks and generally occurs in the early evening. SR is a more noticeable form seen within a few days of birth. (See differences at bottom of article).

Doctors can appear ignorant of SR simply because of lack of training.  You’re not a neurotic mother (which is how I was made to feel), as a mother you know your child and you know when something is wrong.

As many as 2 in 3 refluxers will be diagnosed with a Cow Milk Protein Allergy/ Intolerance (CMPA/CMPI).  Intolerances equate for up to 60% of reflux sufferers (actual figures could be higher). Reflux is usually a symptom of something underlying. I breastfed both my children and removed ALL dairy from my diet and there was a noticeable difference within a couple of weeks. For alternative formula there are several milks available including soya based, homogenized (milk proteins broken down, but still present) and fully synthetic ones.

My sons SR still continued, he was admitted to hospital at 6 weeks and diagnosed with asthma. He continued to thrive but had constant ear and chest infections as well as Balanitis and Tonsillitis, at his worst he spent 11 weeks on antibiotics. It became apparent at 17 weeks when we started to wean that there were other foods he couldn’t tolerate, these were discovered through elimination diets: milk, wheat, white fish, tomatoes, beans, strawberries, apples and other acidic foods. Once removed from his diet he was off all medication within a month. HIs SR still flares up during teething and when he is ill.

At a later date we discovered he also couldn’t tolerate soy, which is not uncommon in children with a CMPI. For the majority of children weaning can help to mature the gut and reduce reflux. For some reflux can continue through to school age and onwards.

Acid Reflux (GERD/ GORD) v Silent Reflux (LPR) V Colic

 GERD/GORD : Gastroesophageal reflux disease

  • Main symptom is projectile posseting/ vomiting after feeds.

  • Some babies fail to thrive due to losing weight.

  • Wheezing, coughing and other respiratory problems.

  • Fussy feeding/ refusing feeds.

  • Inconsolable crying

  • Bad breath.

LPR: Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease

  • This causes little or no posseting.

  • Arching back after feeds.

  • Excessive dribbling/ fist in mouth.

  • Doesn’t really sleep/ nap.

  • Inconsolable crying.

  • Fussy feeding/ refusing feeds.

  • Regurgitation of acid back into throat and mouth often with sour smelling breath

  • Gaining weight as normal, due to frequent feeding.

Colic

  • Usually peaks at 6 weeks.

  • Crying is usually during early evening for 3 hours or more.

  • Baby appears otherwise healthy (none of reflux symptoms).

  • Settles before main night sleep, refluxers often don’t sleep for more than 10-30 minutes at a time

CMPI: Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance? Allergy?

I am including this as a large percent of refluxers have a form of cows milk protein intolerance/ allergy.

Symptoms:

  • Green, mucousy, foul smelling stools (sometimes streaked with blood).

  • Bloated tummy.

  • Excess wind/ Trouble passing wind.

  • Sour smelling breath

  • Nettle rash (Urticaria) or hives.

  • Swelling (angioedema).

  • Respiratory problems

  • Reactions can be immediate or delayed by hours, even days.

IMPORTANT: IF YOUR LITTLE ONE STOPS BREATHING OR STARTS SWELLING, DIAL 999.

The first thing to do if your worried about your child is to seek professional support from your Doctor or Health Visitor. If reflux is suspected the first step is generally Infant Gaviscon, followed by Ranitidine if symptoms persist. Should your child not improve you may then be referred to a paediatrician specialising in gastroenterology. It may also be suggested that you try removing cows milk proteins from their diet. Other medication used to help reflux is Omeprazole (several forms, losec MUPS is most frequently used) and Domperidone.

This article is based on my own experience and those of others in a similar position. We are not professionals, if you think your child suffers from any of these conditions please contact your GP in the first instance.

This was written with support from CAN (Children’s Allergy Network) for the NCT.

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