Reflux and breastfeeding- what can i do?

(72 Posts)
plusonemore Tue 03-Feb-09 16:11:29

Took DS (17 wks) to docs today as I suspect he has reflux and also because he is still struggling with his breathing since first getting a cold at 2wks and then bronchiolitis. She thinks his chest is a bit wheezy and has prescribed an inhaler to see if that helps. She hasn’t prescribed anything for the reflux as she says best to treat one thing at a time. She also says it’s hard to treat as he is breastfed. Is there is anything I can do to help reduce the amount of sick? Does it make a difference what I eat for example? So frustrating when I spend ages feeding, he sicks it all up and then wakes in the night cos he is hungry!!!

PinkTulips Tue 03-Feb-09 16:29:32

i found dd's reflux started to ease a bit when she started solids (proper solids, not the purrees as they just came up like milk but more interesting colours sad)

between 6/7 months and a year she got sick alot less and after about a year she hardly did at all.

i know that probably seems miles away to you now but i just wanted you to know it does ease in time.

one thing that i realised later on was that she's cow's milk and wheat intolerant so i don't know for sure but imagine it was possibly the food i was eating that was causing it.... you could try cutting out certain common allergans yourself and seeing of there's any improvement as a result.

OUt of my three dcs, the two who had reflux turned out to be dairy-intolerant. I wish I had known about the link between reflux and dairy intolerance then. But because I myself am lactose-intolerant, and so wasn't drinking mik, it didn't occur to me that they might be reacting to the cheese and yogurt that I was eating. Solids helped a bit, they sicked-up less, but still enough!

It may be worthwhile cutting out all dairy produce from your diet for a while. Take a good calcium supplement while you do so - as a lactating mother you cannot afford to go short of calcium.

plusonemore Tue 03-Feb-09 16:40:20

thanks both, i have just been reading the laleche advice which suggests cutting out dairy. Calcium supplements sounds like a good idea too. Can they outgrow a dairy intolerance?

PinkTulips Tue 03-Feb-09 16:48:20

my ds has grown out of his at 2.5 and dd is gradually getting better, she can tolerate butter and small amounts of cheese in food now at 4.

I b elieve so. We only realised dd's dairy intolerance last year, when she was 5y. We avoid dairy for 6m, and since then she hasn't reacted to it. Though she only gets the tiniest amounts. Ds2, OTOH, has also avoided it for 6m, yet still reacts. He is 2y.

Yes, they grow out of milk intolerance, about 80% by 3 years old. Dd outgrew hers around 20 months. Ds only 16 weeks so hasn't outgrown his yet!

Presume you are already keeping him upright for half an hour after a feed, and feeding little and often?

You can give gaviscon, but would need to mix and give with syringe or bottle after a feed, which is not always the easiest.

PinkTulips Tue 03-Feb-09 17:13:22

i did find if i let dd fall asleep upright against my chest after a feed she'd keep the milk down and sleep for a nice long stretch, unfortunately this isn't exactly the most practical solution, especially if you have older kids, and it doesn't alleviate the stress during the night as you can't really sit up all night to help the baby sleep!

tomate Tue 03-Feb-09 17:24:54

I'm not sure why they said it was harder to treat when b'fed - I know there are special milks you can by for bottle feeding but still. ds was given antacids in teeny doses with a syringe and baby gaviscon, which you mix up and give with a bottle. A real hassle but it did definitely help him.

we did prop his mattress up so he wasn't flat, but that didn't seem to help, and I'm afraid he slept quite a few times in his car seat but he really needed to be in that upright position.

I did try the cutting out dairy thing too - had to be extremely strict for it to have a chance of working apprently, read every ingredients list etc. But it didn't work for me anyway. If it's reflux it's the oesophagous being not quite formed (wrong sp I know) rather than diet, I think.

For ds it ended when he was able to sit up and when he was on solids. It feels like a very long time though.

weepootleflump Tue 03-Feb-09 17:28:45

Because dd2 is breastfed, my consultant just skipped the gaviscon and prescribed Ranitidene.

chandellina Tue 03-Feb-09 17:52:58

it is possible to use gaviscon and breastfeed. We gave it mixed with water in a little cup from about 15 weeks. He's now on solids - still spits up a fair bit but nothing I can't live with.

I tried cutting out dairy but it was hard to say if it made a difference. Probably because I wasn't totally strict, but just cut out obvious dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) for a few weeks.

plusonemore Tue 03-Feb-09 20:26:32

thanks for all the advice, I do keep him upright for a while but not half an hour. During this time he is often sick anyway! Tonight was much better as I tried to wind him in an upright position as usual but keeping his back quite straight with my hand on his back (sat him sideways on my knee) Much less sick. A couple of you have said about being really strict with the dairy thing, what if I cut out everything else but kept milk in my tea?

That just won't do pom! Even the minutest amount in my diet affects ds. You could pick from soya, rice, oat or almond milk for your tea though, or learn to love it black!

POM, can only second what everyone else has said. Reflux really strongly correlated with dairy intolerance. You need to cut it out for 3-7 days to see if it makes a difference and you have to cut it all out - means you need to read the packets of everything, e.g. Special K has skimmed milk powder in (just one example I know of). It really does make a difference - if you had heartburn in your pg you will know how uncomfortable it is and that is what it can be like for your DS. My DS had ranitidene and domperidone prescribed, but then he was losing weight from being sick. I've heard gaviscon is really good for this, but honestly, you may be surprised what a difference the no dairy can make - and you can get some good non dairy things in the free from aisle in any supermarket. If you really want to stick to bfing, I really recommend you cut dairy out and see what happens. Dairy can also cause wheezing and regularly occurring colds and chest infections because it contributes to phlegm, etc. You may find it helps his breathing as well to cut out dairy.

Normally takes longer than 3 days I believe. 7-10 is usually recommended. And don't be put off if you have really bad days during that. Day 4 was horrendous with both of mine for some reason!

POM, just to back up (yet again!) the advice to try cutting out dairy yourself for a couple of weeks.

We had a great early referral for DD's reflux, but then several really miserable months of progressively stronger medication which worked for a bit and then stopped working, before I finally gave up dairy - and the problem vanished in two days.

It may well be just an immature digestive system, but thought I'd post just to say that I really wish I'd tried stopping dairy first - I feel we lost a good few months which could've been much happier sad.

Oh, and just to say, about 60% of babies with dairy intolerance will also be intolerant of soya, so it's worth avoiding soya too - you can always experiment with reintroduction.

Ditto CSWS - even the tiniest amount of anything through my diet affected DD, unfortunately.

And to encourage you that, if it works for stopping the reflux, dairy-free BFing can be sustained. I finally stopped BFing this weekend, at 10 months, having been dairy and soya free for 5 months. And it was worth it smile.

I'll see your 5 months, and raise you to 16 months (went dairy free at 4 months, and dd outgrew at 20 months, still bf) grin. I didn't cut out soya after the first couple of weeks though, as she was fine with its reintroduction.

plusonemore Tue 03-Feb-09 21:36:07

right, I'm going to try it! Did anyone else take calcium supplements? I was reading that leafy greens are also good sources though. [wonders if those highlight drinks are dairy free]

Highlights not dairy free iirc, but twinings do a hot choc powder which is .

No calcium supplements here. Figs and sesame seeds are other good sources of calcium.

You'll want vitalite or pure sunflower as a butter substitute - both are soya free too.

plusonemore Tue 03-Feb-09 21:39:14

I'm wondering now if I should hold off beginning with the inhaler until I see if going dairy free makes a difference with the wheezing too?

plusonemore Tue 03-Feb-09 21:40:39

thanks csws, I can see I will be shopping tomorrow.

OMG I've just realised what I can't have- CHOCOLATE! Presumably the dairy free ones are nice (pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssse say they are)

'Divine' dark choc is dairy free, as is a lindt dark one. G&B used to be, but isn't any more.

plusonemore Tue 03-Feb-09 21:45:13

Oh thank god

plusonemore Tue 03-Feb-09 21:49:25

is this a stupid question- Do I need to avoid eggs too?

IlanaK Tue 03-Feb-09 21:52:03

I've been dairy free for the last 6 months due to ds3 having colicky and refluxy symptoms. It really is possible and makes a big difference.

As to chocolate, Green and Black's dark and Maya Gold are fine. I live on the Maya Gold grin

I stay off soya as babies can often react in a similar way to them as dairy. But I found soya milk yuck anyway. Oat milk is the most palatable to me and they do an oat cream too which Ihave in coffee. Oatley is the brand and my local Waitrose sell it. You can get a vegan brand of "Butter" called PURE available from almost any supermarket. One is soya based, but one is sunflower based and is nice.

You really do have to read ALL packets - skimmed milk powder is in so many things as a bulking agent and whey powder is also a dairy product and in many things.

The only thing I really miss and there is no substitue for is cheese.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now