Steven’s Story

This story is a member’s personal experience and opinion, and is part of their healing process. Please be aware that some of the stories on Crying Over Spilt Milk are of more severe or complicated cases of Gastric Reflux. Serious or complicated cases of Gastric Reflux are rare. If you think you may be disturbed by some content, please visit this page before deciding to read further: Infant Gastric Reflux Stories

My son, Steven, is 10 months old and has reflux. He too started with symptoms of throwing up every feed and screaming in pain when he should have been sleeping. The symptoms then changed to throwing up every third feed (and still screaming constantly). Luckily my doctor identified what was happening by the time he was six weeks and she put him on to Losec straight away. Her theory was that if reflux was the cause then we would see an improvement within four days – if we didn’t see an improvement within one week then we would discontinue Losec and look for another cause. On day four there was a remarkable improvement. We still ended up going to the Mothercraft unit in Hamilton so that we could get Steven into a proper sleeping routine (this involved letting him cry it out – sometimes from one feed to the next – just until he got over his overtiredness). I’m glad we were at the Mothercraft unit for this, as I would not have been able to do this on my own.

When Steven turned four months and we started on solids, he stopped throwing up but became more and more irritable (silent reflux), and we reviewed his medications and he went from half a capsule Losec morning and night to one capsule in the morning and half at night. This still didn’t get on top of it, so we upped it to one capsule morning and night. We haven’t had any trouble with reflux symptoms since.

However, Steven has had trouble with constipation and even though I made sure he had prunes and silverbeet in his diet every day, he still ended up with an anal fissure. The Dr prescribed Lactulose syrup and I had to increase the dosage up to 5mls morning and night initially to get his bowel motions loose enough to let his poor bottom heal. The fissure seems to have healed up now, but I still give Steven 5mls Lactulose syrup nightly and ensure he has fruit and silverbeet each day.

At nine months my Plunket Nurse seemed quite concerned that Steven’s weight had dropped into the lower 25th percentile for his age. I was having a horrendous time feeding Steven and really dreaded each meal time. I have since read the 2nd Babywise book and realised that I was letting him get away with bad behaviour and have since insisted that he sit upright in his chair and don’t allow him to play with his food or throw it around anymore. My sister-in-law lent me two videos – Baby Mozart and Baby Bach and suggested I sit him in front of the TV to watch these while I fed him. This has worked a treat. Now at ten months feeding time is not such a battle and he is gradually starting to put on the weight.

When I saw my doctor last I asked her if the constipation was caused by Steven’s digestive system being slowed down by the Losec and she said it was entirely possible and that constipation was a known side effect of Losec in adults. I take it from that, that his poor eating habits may also be caused from his digestive system being slowed down. If his tummy is still digesting food from the last meal then it is likely he wouldn’t be hungry for the next. I try to get his solids and milk into him within one hour and don’t give him anything until his next meal (so that he is hungry). This seems to be working really well. He has three meals a day – 6.30, 11.30 and 5.30 and his appetite is getting better.

I have had PND as a result of sleep deprivation and the constant screaming in the early days. As a first time Mum I wondered what the hell had hit me. It didn’t help that plunket, my midwife and even some friends made judgements about my capability as a mother. Thanks to my wonderful doctor and the incredible team at the Mothercraft Unit in Hamilton, Steven is very manageable and is now a very happy and chatty boy. I now love being a Mum and will consider having a second baby. After all – if I coped with a refluxer first time round, then second baby is bound to be a breeze (even if he/she turns out to be a refluxer, at least I will recognise it and get on to Losec pronto).

Man, I really have prattled on here – but it feels good to be able to tell my story. I hope it helps someone else out there.

Cheers, Anne-Marie.

I do have some concerns about Babywise. I wouldn’t personally recommend it’s methods. See: Babycenter information on the Babywise method for more information as to why. I’m sure Anne-Marie is a responsible mother, and took out the bits that were useful and left the rest behind. My major concern is that the author has no medical background, and that some babies have had their health put at risk due to strict following of this method.

I have included my comment with this page as Anne-Marie is aware of my concern and said I could edit out any mention of babywise in Steven’s story. However, I feel that it is important to include it as part of his story.

Roslyn  Ballantyne (RN), National Coordinator, Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust

© Anne-Marie and Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust 10/02/2003.