From all the contact that I have had with G.R.A.S.P. parents over the past two years, as well as the increasing amount of information that has been obtained from the return of your questionnaires, it seems that more and more GRASP members who originally joined because they had babies with reflux now have toddlers with reflux and all the extra problems that this brings.
Are you one of this elite group?*! If you are you’re not alone. Although, we are still told that 90% of children grow out of reflux by the time they are one year old. So are these figures wrong? Is it possible that as recognition of reflux increases, recognition of those children who go on to have reflux beyond one year of age is also increasing?
I know that in my own experience it was very difficult once my son turned one to get health professionals to listen. Nobody wanted to know. Babies grew out of reflux by one year of age, the continuing problems must all have been ‘behavioural’. After 12 months of struggling for recognition, Eden (then two) was finally proven to still have reflux.
Anyway, back to the reason I was prompted to write this. Coping with a toddler with reflux – how do you? It’s difficult isn’t it? And you get so much conflicting advice from everywhere. And toddlers can really put on a performance and show you up as the horrible mean parent that people always thought you were. Recently on a shopping trip my little angel decided to throw a tantrum (we all know that most toddlers with reflux can’t sit still long enough to race down one supermarket aisle). Anyway, I was just trying to loosen his grip from a trigger-bottle of weed-killer that he had pulled off some shelf when a lady passing in the aisle JUST happened to pass a comment to another shopper that she wondered ‘what that woman was doing to the poor child’. That was just the icing on the cake for me! I felt like running after her and suggesting that she take him home and try living with him! Another common phrase seems to be ‘you’re just not hard enough on him’- I’d like to know just what ‘hard enough’ is!
From the information that I’ve been able to collect both from all of you out there and from personal experience, the typical refluxing toddler may have some or all of these problems:
# Irritable, clingy, cries lots
# Sleeps poorly, wakes often
# Poor eater, or refuses to drink/eat
# Becomes worse if given acidic, spicy or fizzy food
# A virus, ‘stomach bug’ or teething may trigger an attack of reflux
# Seems to have boundless supplies of energy, can’t concentrate, can’t sit still
# Has difficulty interacting with other adults and/or children
# Is nervy, highly-strung, stressed or tense.
# May express their feelings by biting, head banging, and other forms of aggressive behaviour
And there seem to be two common philosophies on how to deal with all this:
1. The lets get tough method. Ignoring crying, ‘tune out’, not responding to night waking, offering rewards for good behaviour such as eating, etc. etc.
This method can work for some children. If you decide to try this method – get some support! Remember though, if reflux is still causing pain, consult your doctor about alternative treatments to deal with the reflux before you try this one.
2. Other parents with refluxing children have tried method no. 1 and failed, or use other methods of dealing with these problems. Here are their suggestions!
# On a bad day take time to do something that you wouldn’t usually do e.g. a trip to the park, perhaps somewhere with lots of space and few people.
# Avoiding prolonged periods in confined spaces with too many people.
# Investigate opportunities for the child to interact with other children/adults with and without you there.
# Many of these children respond well to relaxing activities such as swimming.
# Some mums found it helped to continue breastfeeding / others wished they’d given it up!!
# Encouraging finger food but at the same time not pushing the eating issue can help.
# Offering small amounts of food often.
# Going for long drives in the car or alternatively, reducing travel.
# Keeping a calm relaxed environment or alternatively keeping to a strict routine-
# Taking your child as he/she is.
From my own experience, after six weeks of a strict sleep program and using ‘time out’ to deal with the irritability, offering expensive bribes for eating etc. we gave up. The screaming was definitely getting worse not better! It seemed to me that most of Eden’s problem was that he was too tense to sleep and eat, too nervy with other people, and too stressed to sit still for five minutes (all as a result of years of reflux pain I guess, who wouldn’t be highly strung?!) So turning away from the ‘lets get tough’ method advocated by our health professionals, we tried a method of our own. We have found through trial and error that the things that Eden responds well to are: massage with calming essential oils like Chamomile and Neroli before bed and when irritable (he now sleeps all night), long hot baths (he finds it more relaxing to have a bath with me than with his five year old brother), distraction on bad days e.g. trips to park, swimming etc, and for us to stop focusing on what he didn’t eat and concentrate on what he did! (We’ve found it best not to make a fuss when he does eat as it puts him off). We believe that Eden’s medication is now controlling his reflux adequately and that now he is very rarely in reflux pain, but the years of pain have made him a very stressed little individual. For Eden a sleep program and ‘time-out’ seemed only to make him worse as the more he screamed the more stressed he got and then the more he screamed (a real snowball effect).
As always, different methods work with different children. Contact with another parent who has a toddler with reflux can also help; share ideas! Above all realise that you know your child better than anyone else and because of this you may also find that you already hold the key to the problem. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help though! I’m not pretending the path is easy, sometimes it takes time and patience, sometimes it takes self-control, always it takes trial and error. Don’t expect too much of yourself, whatever method you try. We have the hardest job in the entire world as parents, even harder as parents of refluxers. Make sure you get some time out for yourselves. You’re all doing such great jobs – you deserve it!
© Rochelle Wilson (GRASP National Coordinator 1995 – 2001). Used with permission
Page may be printed or reproduced for personal use of families, as long as copyright and Crying Over Spilt Milk‘s url are included. It may not be copied to other websites or publications without permission and acknowledgement. This information (unedited) was also provided (by GRASP) to health professionals in New Zealand to use ” to continue to support and inform families with babies/children with Gastro-oesophageal Reflux.”
I don't know if any of you have noticed, but as the website is having a lot of updates at the moment, I have started adding a blog about it to the website. The posts appear on the home page, under the Facebook Preview. Roslyn, National Coordinator.
For infant and child gastric reflux support in New Zealand: Phone/Text 022 585 5935 Phone 0800 380 517 Contact GRSNNZ via email form Join Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust for access to our Newsletters and Private Local and National Support Networ…
Interesting article on dreamfeeds:
Will ‘dream feeds’ work for your baby? Dorothy Waide shares her insights on this late night option.
does a thickener help for Elecare formula? It seems to be so thin and my little granddaughter is spilling a lot with this formula.Would welcome your feedback thanks
Christchurch people - there is a new post from someone needing help finding Karicare Aptamil Food Thickener. If you know where to find it, can you please reply on their post?
Does anyone in CHCH know where to find the formula thickener for Elecare formula?? My wee one has just been put onto Elecare and I am finding it needs to be a bit thicker as she is bringing up a lot just like the breast milk. Not all pharmacies sell it
After some advice, I have a 10 week old with possible silent reflux ( just started gaviscon) we are wanting to progress to help him achieve self settling. Does anyone have any methods that worked? Absolutely no comfort in patting and shushing... Or am I asking too much from my little man that finds a lot of comfort in being rocked to sleep?
Hi all, Just wondering if someone could confirm for me that going dairy free means you can still have non cows milk products like sheep or goat products? I read the spilt milk site and seems to be a cows milk protein issues, not other types of animal products? I just ate sheeps feta then second guessed if it's OK.
My 16 month old just saw an allergist today and he told me it sounded like he had reflux. He had it as an infant but around 9 months he stopped needing meds and was fine, but now this winter he has stayed sick! So I'm really trying hard to wrap my head around this... I feel like my baby has been sick for months (stuffy, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, fever.. the list goes on and on) and it's just reflux! I mean if that's the case I guess I'm relieved because that seems like a simple fix. I just feel like he's really been suffering. His pedi was thinking he had asthma and sinus infections. The allergist did swab his nose to see if anything comes back on it but for now he is just taking nexxium(sp?) and a nasal spray.
Ignore my previous message (If you saw it), http://www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz is back!
For infant and child gastric reflux support in New Zealand: Phone/Text 022 585 5935 Phone 0800 380 517 Contact GRSNNZ via email form Join Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust for access to our Newsletters and Private Local and National Suppor…
I asked for a script for infant gaviscon and was given Acidex. Whats the difference?
Hoping for a bit of help/more advice. My now 8 week old baby has what we believe to be silent reflux, no one has actually diagnosed her with it, but have been given meds to help. She definitely regurgitates milk, and sometimes projectile vomits (she has only started doing this recently). I am getting so lost of what to do next, we have another appointment with the GP on Thursday, but in the mean time would love any advice on what I can do to help her.
We started out on Infant Gaviscon, which didn't help much at all. Then onto Ranitidine, which didn't help either. We got prescribed Losec by my GP to use with gaviscon. Which seemed to help for two weeks, but now she is back to being so unsettled and unhappy. From birth she could only ever drink a small amount before she got really uncomfortable and started screaming, I started expressing to get an idea of what she is really drinking, which turned out to be bugger all, this was why i was feeding her 20 odd ml every 1/2 hr to an hour. I'm doing everything I can to help her, have got the bassinet head raised, burp after what seems to be every mouthful! I wear her in my wrap a fair bit during the day for some of her naps.
I took her to the osteopath last week, and her said she was very sore and had a very tight diaphragm. Two nights later she slept 6 hours! But the next night she was back to a couple of hours at a time. I have another appointment on Thursday.
As I have a 20 1/2 month old toddler and, expressing got too much as I could never find the time to do it, so now have her on Karicare Formula, which i'm not 100% sure if this is upsetting her stomach aswell. She was induced at 38 weeks as they were concerned about her growth, she was 6lb 3 oz at birth.
What would be the best formula to have her on? She is still currently on losec and gaviscon. AND how can I ease the screaming after every feed? I'm really starting to stress alot about it and find myself getting pretty emotional.
Thanks and sorry for the long story!
Hi everyone, my daughter had severe gerd up until about 9 months and was treated with losec and gaviscon and eurthymician (sp). Four about 3 months she was really good, not needing any meds at all so we weened her off them. She has been med free for about 6 months, but the past two months we are back to screaming and crying every hour each night ( was previously a good night sleeper!) very unsettled etc, but no vomit . My question is can reflux suddenly come back ?
Just popping in to clarify our website/forum guidelines.
Please see this page: http://www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/guidelines/
"As the moderators, GRSNNZ reserves the right to remove or edit any posts:
that recommend another medication as being better or to treat conditions that it is not indicated for
where dosages of medications are being compared (especially in an unsafe manner) as each child is an individual with differing needs
where personal advice is given on choosing a formula (sharing experiences is fine)
where volumes of fluid drunken are counted and compared
with personal attacks against other users including GRSNNZ staff
Medications and prescription foods and formula may not be offered for sale/give away on these forums."
"Please seek assistance from your Doctor, Midwife, Health Professional or Dietician about feeding your baby. "
We are getting a lot of requests for advice regarding choosing formulas over the phone, by email and on the forum. Members can tell you their experiences, but they are only their experiences and do not apply to your baby. Please contact your health professional for advice in the first instance or Nutricia also have qualified dieticians.
GRSNNZ supports the Baby Friendly Initiative and promotes Breastfeeding. GRSNNZ will not give personal advice on formula.
Site Guidelines Most of the information on Crying Over Spilt Milk is copyrighted and may not be reproduced on another site/publication without permission, but some may be printed for the personal use of families (and these pages will be clearly marked at the bottom with instructions.) Some material…
Please help i am desperate! My wee 9 week old is under a paediatrician forbreflux and a maybe dairy allergy. My milk supply is starring to drop and she has been given Elecare but she refuses to drink it. Have tried vanilla essence and mixing it with my breast milk but still no luck. Any help/advice will be greatly appreciated 😊
Hi. I am having real trouble settling my 9 week old baby, especially at night. I would like to wean her off me and have tried both pepti Jr and neocate but no luck. Also on ranitidine for refulx. Am i just best to breast feed or is there other options?
Sharing for your information. Please read the whole article - there are safe options.
A survey of portable cots for sale in New Zealand has uncovered potentially fatal safety defects - including folding mechanisms that could trap a child's neck. - New Zealand Herald
I don't know if this is the right site but my mum is being treated for reflux which has brought on burning mouth syndrome.
All her food tasted awful and was wondering if anyone has any tips if dealing or getting rid of this?
Thank you x
May your heart be warmed by the sweet magic that Christmas brings, and may all your dreams be fulfilled.
Christmas Greetings from the Trustees of the Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust.
The GRSNNZ 0800 number and mobile will not be answered or messages cleared between these dates: 25th to 28th December and then again from 1st January to 11th January. You are welcome to leave a message or text and we will respond as soon as we are able.
Please note, from this article that raising the head of the bed to reduce gastro-oesophageal reflux is NOT recommended and is shown to be ineffective.
I will edit http://www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz as soon as I am able to.
I'm hoping someone here can share their experience with me as I'm at my wits end. My daughter is nearly 11 months old and has had chronic vomiting since she was about 5-6 months old (full feed vomits till there was nothing left, gagging, up to 9 times in 24hrs). After no doctors taking me seriously, and seeing 3 different doctors we finally got a barium swallow test done after taking her to the hospital out of desperation and it showed that she has severe reflux. I have accidentally eliminated gluten which has helped immensely but we still get 2-3 vomits a day. I'm waiting to hear from a paediatric doctor at the hospital for a follow up after the test but I'm just curious if anyone else has experienced this and what eventually helped? Or was it a case of managing it until they grow out of it? She was given liquid omeprazole a week ago but that only made it worse so i stopped giving it to her. Thanks in advance x
My sons 3 months, we've been in hospital his whole life but hoping to go home in next couple of days. He has liquad omeprozol via NG, i've heard that you have to pick it up from the pharmacy really reguarly be because once made up it looses it effectiveness quickly. How often do i need to get it made up?
This may need adapting a bit for infants and of course remember to think about allergens but some great advice: http://www.drlibby.com/stress/nutrients-herbs-help-children-calm-relaxed/?utm_campaign=December+Newsletter&utm_content=control&utm_medium=email&utm_source=vero&utm_term=Newsletter&vero_conv=365086097
So often I hear parents exclaim that their children are wired and hyperactive, and it is usually late afternoon when parents are trying to run errands, cook dinner or get home from after-school activities. Quickly, wired children become grizzly and tired. Parents know the difference between when the…
can I please be added to the laryngomalacia page
My 7 week old has reflux. We went to see the paediatrician yesterday and he gave us Pepti Jr to try. Im dairy free as still partially breast feeding. He also prescribed neocate as a back up. Just wondering on anyone's thoughts about pepti jr as have heard alot of people haven't had any luck on it.