What the Reflux?!

RefluxWhen 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!

Mummascribbles
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What was in my hospital bag?

Hospital BagTurns out it didn’t really matter.

I was that pregnant lady…I read all the hospital recommendations, scoured pregnancy blogs and gorged on YouTube ‘What’s in my hospital bag’ videos. I created list upon beautiful list of what I thought I needed and dragged my husband along to the shops to fully immerse him in the experience – because he really needs to experience the dilemma of which maternity pads to buy, right? I packed, unpacked and repacked more times than I care to admit and definitely more times than necessary.

Cut to 24 hours after I hobbled my way across the maternity hospital threshold, I set my weary eyes on my lovingly packed hospital bag for the first time.

You see my bag had never even made it into the hospital until then so it missed its big career defining moment. As we left our car we thought ‘let’s just get in and we can worry about the bags later’, what were we thinking! Well, what we actually thought was there was a good chance we will be sent home and if not Mr W can just pop out and get it. As it turned out once we were there we were in it for the long haul and the way my labour unfolded the only person I wanted ‘just popping out’ was Baby E.

So what was in the bag?

For Baby E

  • A selection of sleep suits and vests
  • A ‘going home’ outfit
  • A couple of hats
  • A cardigan
  • A few bibs & muslins
  • Nappies, cotton pads, Water Wipes, nappy bags, Bepanthen
  • A little teddy
  • A blanket

For Me

  • A couple of nightshirts (I even bought a Gownie!)
  • Cosy socks (many people assured me my feet would get cold)
  • Disposable maternity pants & normal pants (in a size fit for the occasion)
  • A couple of nursing bras
  • A vest top, yoga pants & cardigan for going home
  • Maternity pads & nursing pads
  • Lanolin nipple balm
  • Travel shower gel, facewash & deodorant, my normal moisturiser
  • Lip balm (another recommendation as your lips get dry using gas and air, this is very true)
  • A hairbrush, extra hair bobbles & dry shampoo
  • A can of Evian Face Mist (another recommendation, I cannot comment on its effectiveness for labour but I still have it and is very refreshing from time to time!)
  • Some boiled sweets (which I also still have, the expiry date is 2016 so maybe next time??)
  • My kindle (just in case I happened to get bored, ha!)

What would I change?

  • I would include some jammies I would normally wear for after the birth as I am more a trouser and t-shirt girl than a nightshirt wearing one
  • I would not bother with a Gownie, the hospital one was just fine and to be honest I was completely unaware of anyone wearing any form of clothing when things got going
  • I would not bother with the disposable maternity pants and just ensure I had lots of normal full brief ones, if they don’t get used in the traditional sense I can always use them as a makeshift baby sling
  • I would not bother with maternity pads, instead I would get stocked up on good old night time sanitary towels

So for all it was worth during the actual labour, that is what I lovingly packed in my hospital bag. My advice would be to pack what you want, having now done it I can assure you no one will be doing spot checks and scoring you out of 10 (if they had I would have got a big fat 0 for leaving it in the car).

Take what makes you feel happy, relaxed and prepared. So if that’s enough make up to shame an Avon lady or nothing but a bottle of Champagne, well…Cheers!

Let's Talk Mommy

What would I tell my pregnant self?

There are a few things I would tell myself with the benefit of that handy thing called hindsight if I could talk to my pregnant self.

Take time…

Take time for you and for that tiny little person you are growing. It is very easy, particularly in the beginning when it is not obvious you are pregnant, to let everyday life take over and you find yourself trying to keep going at the normal pace you would. Of course your life does not grind to a halt and you do not need to float around in a protective bubble just because you are pregnant. However, make a conscious effort to clamber into that bubble every so often and take some time out for yourself and to take some quiet moments to think and be really aware of your baby. As soon as I knew Baby E existed I instantly felt a bond was there and those first little flutters of movement through to the giant thumps towards the end of the pregnancy were little reminders as I plodded on through day to day life. Even though I did take time to think and be aware of my baby, I feel that Baby E has showed me what it really means to grow, produce and sustain a little life. Thanks to him I would be even more conscious of taking time to really appreciate it as I now know what it really means.

Take a record…

This links to why I have decided to create this blog. If I were to speak to my pregnant self I would tell her to stop what she is doing grab a camera and take that bump shot every week and grab that pen and paper and note how things are going. I obviously did not crawl into a darkened cave for nine months so do have a few photos of my growing bump but looking back I would love to have a record of its gradual progression. I also think it would be nice to have a record of how I was feeling and what was happening during my pregnancy. The good, the bad and even the ugly.

Take a massage…

So this seems a little frivolous compared to the other advice I would give myself but no matter how great your pregnancy is you will be tired and have aches and pains. In fact I think I will promise myself right now that if I were to become pregnant again I will get a pregnancy massage.

Take comfort..

Again this may seem fairly frivolous but finding a good bra could be a total game changer. When I was pregnant my main source of discomfort and at times outright pain, was my ribs and upper back. Now, I am happy to admit that even when pregnant I am not particularly blessed in the chest department so didn’t really put that much thought into it. I now know a good, comfy bra can go a long way to help with those aches and pains and would tell myself to get it sorted out sooner. I might even go crazy and suggest a fitting.