So you have a baby who won’t stop screaming or won’t feed properly, or doesn’t seem to be able to calm down, or won’t sleep or is just generally unwell.
You look at your friends calm, relaxed babies and you wonder where you went wrong?
Take it from me, a mum who had a baby with acute reflux, colic and irritability. You are not doing anything wrong. You are coping the best way you can and, as I’m sure many people will tell you, this too soon shall pass.
If your baby is frequently spitting up/vomiting or looks like they are burping but can’t bring anything up (silent reflux), they may have GERD. Reflux is when the baby throws up quite a bit and silent reflux occurs when the stomach contents only go as far as the esophagus and are then re-swallowed, causing pain but no spitting up.
Your baby might also be very irritable and may not feed well on the boob or the bottle.
For us this was pure HELL. In fact, I got to a point where I often dreamed of throwing my baby out the window or hurting him. Of course I never did it but I was lucky to have a partner to help.
At first, the doctors didn’t listen to me and said it was normal. I didn’t feel like they quite got how bad it was. I mean my baby would scream for eight hours non stop and would never sleep. But try to explain that to a doctor. Or at least my doctor.
One afternoon, we had been trialing different formula types as we suspected my son was dairy intolerant. I was still breast feeding but it was quickly obvious that he would need formula too as he was constantly on the boob and I didn’t have the time or energy to get the breast pump out to make a bottle.
I put my son down after feeding him and then decided to pick him up and hold him while I did the dishes. Which was lucky. He had been projectile vomiting for a while and suddenly went limp in my arms.
We rushed him to the hospital and luckily he had woken up and was back to his screaming self. It was then that we were finally taken seriously and the doctors started to do tests on him and have him stay the night at the hospital. They quickly saw that I was not coping and got me some help with counselors, medication and help from home (I didn’t have family members or friends who would offer to take him so I was in a bit of a mess as my partner did shift work).
I ended up getting free child care as well and it wasn’t long before the lady who looked after him was also struggling to cope. She was just about to stop taking care of him when he hit eight months old and suddenly stopped screaming and became the loving, sweet boy he is now.
He still doesn’t sleep well and by the time he was old enough to be able to move himself around, I decided to put the cot next to the bed and co-sleep with him as I had enough of getting up 20 times a night.
No, I won’t be letting him cry it out. He’s my miracle child and he’s been through enough. He now sleeps most of the night and he sleeps most of it in his cot. We have done a great job and so have you (if you are reading this, I assume you are struggling with your own issues).
My suggestion is to get help. Harrass your doctor, ask for gaviscon or losec, ask about tongue tie, ask about lip tie. Find out if they are allergic to anything and check out your local reflux/colic support website. (google is great for this).
Best of all, pat yourself on the back. You don’t have an easy baby and no one else knows how much you are struggling except for you. Don’t listen to family, friends or associates who think they are parenting experts. We are all doing the best with what we have.