When Baby E was 4 weeks old he turned from a contented, happy, peaceful baby into a writhing, screaming, thoroughly unhappy little guy. The cause was reflux. Sounds fairly innocent but I can assure you it is not. Between 4-7 weeks was its worst and those few weeks were tough.
Baby E cried inconsolably, it was relentless. The wriggling, arching backwards, thrashing around as if to get comfy and the tears would begin towards the end of a feed. He gained this contorted expression which became known to Mr W and I as his ‘acid face’. When I thought of reflux I always thought it would be productive, or to put it more bluntly I expected to get covered in vomit. However, Baby E did not always bring anything up with his reflux. I soon learned that there was also such a thing as silent reflux, even more innocent sounding – again, don’t be fooled, it is not. You could visibly see his little body heaving and could almost hear the bile rising ending in his ‘acid face’ and yep, you guessed it, tears.
To begin with we tried infant Gaviscon, a powder that we added to his normal feed. This worked to an extent but needed to be given by prescription and it ran out pretty quickly. Also we often found that despite meticulously following the instructions, we would find an unappetising globule of the stuff at the bottom of the bottle.
We also turned our attention to the bottles we were using and tried just about every bottle and teat on the market. We eventually found the Haberman Suckle Feeder. This transformed Baby E’s feeds into ones that were well paced and more comfortable and enjoyable for us all. It gave good control of the flow speed and did not overwhelm Baby E due to the formula only being released when he sucked rather than it constantly dripping into his mouth.
Another strategy was to feed him in a more upright position and tried to keep him upright for 15-20 minutes following his feed. In addition to this we tried to tilt his moses basket slightly so that he was not completely flat while sleeping.
Probably the biggest help was changing Baby e’s formula. We had a bit of trial and error but went with Cow & Gate’s Anti-Reflux formula, which we still use. It is a thickened feed which decreased the likelihood of reflux and regurgitation. We noticed a difference after the first day and along with our other strategies we knew we were on to a winner. It is not the most convenient, it needs 7 minutes to thicken which with a screaming baby it quickly turns into the longest 7 minutes of your life. Also there is no option of those handy pre-made cartons for when you are out and about but obviously these downsides are a miniscule price to pay for something that worked for us.
So this is how we fought the reflux monster and won. I believe it was a combination of all our strategies that finally got it to reflux off!