While I have heard of other mothers telling me of their child having the reflux in the past, I don’t think I realize how much pain in the butt this reflux thing can be. I mean, before Squirt, at least 2 in 3 mothers I met told me that their child has some form of reflux. I try to be understandingly sympathetic at their predicament, but I heard about it so much that it was so easy then to think that reflux is such a common occurrence and it is almost seen as ‘normal’, perhaps even insignificant.
I don’t think I actually understood the full extent of having a child with reflux and the way it can consume your life – not until we have been blessed with Squirt (and his on-going acid reflux condition).
As cliché as it sounds, the truth is, only those who have experienced it for themselves could really understand how it impacts the child’s eating, sleeping, behaviour or quality of life; not to mention the parents – in this case, us – as well as on the overall family’s relationship and well-being.
Citing from one of the many sites which I came across, reflux is not just “a bit of vomiting” or “baby is just being fussy” issue or “just gas and it will pass”. If only it is THAT simple. Rather, there are more serious side to reflux in infants where it can cause complications or long-term problems otherwise labeled as a Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux DISEASE (GORD/GERD) and different from a Gastro-Oesophagael Reflux (GOR/GER).
Definition of the 2 are as follows:
Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) occurs normally in all infants, children and adults during and immediately after meals. GOR refers to the contents of the stomach washing back up from the stomach into the oesophagus. It can wash up to the throat, and even be ejected out of the mouth; in otherwise healthy infants, this can be normal occurrence for a period of time
Gasto-oesophageal reflux (GORD) is present when there are symptoms or signs that are troublesome, or severe, or chronic, or when complications are present. The most common complication is damage to the oesophagus (oesphagitis).
As it stands, reflux in infants is known to be hereditary. While Squirt’s reflux condition is certainly not as severe and how much worse it could have been based on what I have read on the Internet, it is bad enough to warrant medical intervention. Left untreated at such a tender age, it could lead to a serious medical problem with dire consequences.
Overall, Squirt just ain’t a very happy baby – which makes my job as a mother even harder than it already is. When not sleeping, he is most of the time screaming his guts off. Squirt seems to be in constant pain for most of his waking hours; especially during and after a feed, even in spite of the Air-X medication we got earlier. If you are a heart-burn sufferer, you would have an idea what an acid reflux is – and imagine that happening to an infant.
Some of the signs which Squirt has been showing that is typical of a GORD are:
Appearing to be in pain
Lousy, lousy burper
Retching, Re-swallowing while feeding
Comfort feed (used to be every half hourly, now on a strict 2-our schedule)
Pulling away and arching back while feeding
Frequent night waking (Every 2 hours, sometimes less)
These last few weeks have been a really steep learning curve for us. My only consolation at this point in time is that Squirt is still gaining weight and from the onset, his reflux seems to be a rather uncomplicated one. It is also reassuring to know that most infants will outgrow GOR by one year of age – albeit a very long time from now!
I’m hoping and wishing and praying that it stays that way (i.e uncomplicated). Right now, Squirt’s on another medication called Antacil, which helps calm him down right after he takes it. The effect, however, seems to be only temporary before the screaming starts all over again.
The nights are still rough and I’m trying to find the strength to psyche myself up that this is going to continue for the next 11 months of our lives. Every day is a battle, and it pains me to hear his inconsolable cries after every feeding and each burping session which could take up to half an hour! Until we get the doctor to prescribe him something that has a longer effect. It makes me want to feed him the Antacil at every feeding (right now, the recommended dosage is 1 mil every 6 hours)
You know, when I said in my previous post that I would rather Squirt have Silver Bullet’s (personality) traits rather mine, I did not mean for him to inherit his father’s heartburn condition as well!
Such is the story of our life. I’ll post more stories on how we are coping/managing our reflux baby situation.