The following is created from a thread during National Infant and Child Gastric Reflux Awareness Week on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/nationalinfantandchildgastricrefluxawarenessweek
There were 38 comments with advice or tips on how parents coped with infants or children with gastric reflux and I’ve included some of these below:
- Always have a cloth on hand when breastfeeding to stem the flow of milk when baby starts spluttering with reflux, and never look flustered when this happens in public or you may end up not going anywhere.
- Forget all the things you said you would never do when you were a parent…..a reflux baby is a whole new ball game & you just need to do whatever works at the time. What works one day may not work the next so be prepared to follow what your baby needs at the time. Don’t listen to all the advice you are given by parents who haven’t had a reflux baby & be confident in yourself that YOU know your baby better than anyone else, & you need to do what works for you & your baby, not what worked for someone else
- Remember there is no one correct way to treat or parent our infants and children with gastric reflux so remain flexible, but keep safety first.
- When the screaming just seems to get too much, go for a walk and a cuddle with your little one even around the garden. Being trapped in the house with only the screaming in your ear is not good for the soul. At least outside there are distractions for both of you and the screaming is not so loud.
- My children are four-and-a half and almost six. I did have to LOL at the question how did you cope. I still don’t know how I got through it. My children both had milk protein allergies so reflux was secondary. I had always said I would never use a dummy, but when my son was about three days and had screamed since the second he was born, I was like please take the dummy. Had heaps of bibs; I had to layer three at a time and when feeding I would use a towel then layers of old style cloth nappies and have face cloths on hand. It’s really important to have support. When my second child was two I discovered playcentre and I so wish I had known about it during that critical time when I struggled to get till lunch time let alone till the end of the day. I wish I had been at playcentre and had half a dozen people there who would love to hold my baby for me while I could just breathe and have a break.
- Cloth nappies are a necessity (and they aren’t for the bottom) and a pushchair is also not just a necessity but a life saver!!! When things get bad go for a walk; if they won’t sleep a foot pushing the pushchair wheel back and forwards at least gives you a little time to do something else with your hands!
- My husband and I shared 15 minutes each of screaming, and on nice nights would walk outside with the baby so the person inside got a break. If husband not there, and you really need a break, ask someone else. People want to help when they see the pain for baby and you! Short time in their lives.
- Remind yourself that this is not your baby’s personality. They are crying from discomfort and when things become better, which they will, you’ll see their delightful little personality shining through.
- Ignore the other (mostly well-meaning) parents that say ‘oh yeah, reflux, my baby has that’ when you know for sure that they have no idea what they’re talking about.
- To do whatever works. Relax your parenting ideas and learn to go with the flow. You’ll need to take babies lead a lot of the time rather than sticking to strict routines etc.
- Invest in good front pack…they are filled with magical sleepydust! Life saver for me. Absolute lifesaver. Yes! (x 5 comments combined)
- Oh, and invest in a bulk load of good carpet stain remover or your house will stink of vomit and curdled milk forever…
- The use of a dummy. Life/sanity saver for us.
- Feeding in the bath/shower helped me settle during the bad times.
- Pick your battles. For example if you wanted to use cloth nappies, but things are too hard and you are putting too much pressure on yourself, just use disposables. Be kind to yourself.
- It’s okay to ask for help and to accept the help.
- Dairy free diet!
- Determination. Always think that you will get through to the other side. By this I mean fight for your child as you are their voice. This was what kept me going.
- Remember it is not for forever.
- Find something that make you smile or laugh at least once a day. A good comedy show for the bad days.
- Bath Bub in a bucket (a cheap one works fine) so they are upright, nice and warm. This was the only time my Bub was happy. It seemed to help with any trapped wind.
- A moby wrap for my youngest was a lifesaver for me. For my eldest it was being correctly diagnosed and prescribed medication that worked in her case. I must say, not to be afraid to ask for help and have some time just for yourself as reflux babies can be so draining.
- Work out any intolerances, get support including for sleep, friends, family, home start, keep pestering for appointments with paediatricians, ask for any cancellations, go armed with information and nice guidelines to GP and paediatrician appointments, keep fighting, fresh air and walking, iPod with happy music to tone down the screams, helps calm you and then LO. This will pass! LO will not remember it (hopefully!)
- Use a dummy / tv / medication as recommended and prescribed, whatever worked to help you and bub get through and don’t feel guilty. I wish someone had told me that.
- Forget about any routine and just try to get through it as best as you can. Remember it won’t be this way forever and try to lower your expectations. Buy a sling and lots of muzzies x.
- The importance of optimum burping and techniques to do so. Changed our lives! Also my midwife constantly telling me I was a good Mum and that I was faced with these challenges because I was strong enough to overcome them.
- Getting a front pack that keeps Bub in an upright position was one of the best moves we made! And of course getting proper treatment prescribed by the GP.
- Prioritise something just for you, whether it’s a hot bath or a hot coffee sitting in the sun. It can be 10 minutes, but it helps you recharge your failing batteries to help care for your wee one. I know this sounds too hard, but try it if you are able to sneak it in.
- Follow your gut instinct when you know things are not right. Keep going back to GP, no matter how many times until you feel your wee one is getting the help/support needed. And be kind to yourself.
- Follow your instincts.
- Dummy & referral to Paeditrician.
- Ignore the know-it-all parents; just do what works for your baby.
- Definitely wear your baby.
- Wear your baby!!
- I bought a foldable wipeable playmat and took it with me to friends houses so he could puke on that instead of the carpet! Lifesaver! I think they appreciated it too.
Some comments have been edited.
© Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ Facebook Page Commenters and Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust (GRSNNZ) June 2015.