Is it possible to teach a refluxy, BF baby to self-settle?

(11 Posts)
FaithTheVampireSlayer Mon 28-Oct-13 09:43:31

I'm wondering if anyone has any advice. DD is 6.5 months old. She was diagnosed with reflux at 6 weeks. At the time she was EBF. Sleep has been a nightmare challenge from day 1. She would prefer to sleep upright and ideally on me. In the hospital the midwives took her off me just so I could sleep.

We have worked round this til now - naps in the car/pushchair, used to be swinging chair but that's lost its magic and she's too good at sitting. It was be brilliant if she could settle in her cot in the day. So far I've had limited success with this (longest nap 50 minutes). Problem is both for day time naps and bedtime she only settles if she BF to sleep and then often she's quite sicky when she's put down! If she's not really sleepy at night she cries when she's put down, I pick her up and she's sick all over me! She has a bottle of formula before bath then feeds with me to settle. This means only I can ever settle her. I've left her in the evening twice, once we went out for dinner at 8.30 (she settled at 7,45. Once I left her with DH but it took him til 10.30 to settle her and it was really difficult. She can self settle because she does it overnight - stirs, grizzles, goes back to sleep. But how do I get her to that tired and will just snuggle down in the cot point without feeding?

We need to crack this because I go back to work on shifts in January and won't be home at bed time. DH wants to try CC but I'm not keen because I hate her crying and worry she's crying because she's in pain from the reflux. Sorry it's long I just needed to put it all down.

SurvivalOfTheUnfittest Mon 28-Oct-13 09:57:39

I didn't want to read and run, but my memory of reflux is thankfully fading (after 2 dc with it). I would say that you have two issues here. The reflux makes for long evenings and often long nights (and I'm afraid my two didn't sleep through until 2 and 3 respectively). However, they didn't feed to sleep so I think that might be a separate issue. They did, however, need to be held upright for 90 minutes after a feed so went to sleep in our arms for months. Putting them down was futile - they either woke within ten minutes from the discomfort or threw up as soon as they lay down. If they were napping in the day as they got older and hadn't just been fed, then they would self-settle in the cot.

On a separate note, if you are on Facebook, there is a reflux page on the cows milk protein allergy support group (CMPA support). Have you looked into the cause of the reflux? I didn't know until my eldest was 2 that both dc were intolerant to CMP. When we removed it from their diet, the reflux greatly improved. They both still get it at times now, but it is much more controlled.

I guess to solve the feeding to sleep, you might need to try feeding, rousing her (or stopping feeding whilst still asleep) and then get her to settle in yours or dh's arms until she is comfortable to lie down.

FaithTheVampireSlayer Mon 28-Oct-13 13:23:52

Thanks for replying. I've joined the FB group and will have a look. Her reflux has only been treated for symptoms rather than looking at the cause. It was definitely made worse by my caffeine intake when BF so I cut right down. I haven't seen a clear pattern to when she's worse. She was put on gaviscon at 6 weeks which helped for a while but the reflux seems much worse since we started weaning. She started on ranitidine 2 weeks ago which has helped but not completely resolved the issue. I'm back to the GP with her tomorrow so will see what she says (last time I went a paediatric referral was mentioned).

With feeding to sleep, I am doing the Pantley pull off from The no cry sleep solution. It helps (it's shaved probably an hour off bedtime) but we often have several false starts at putting her down. I might suggest to DH that we try him holding her again (tried it a while ago). Thanks smile

watfordmummy Mon 28-Oct-13 13:31:35

Ok, as an adult with reflux, wantgrins to say how painful it is. Avoid any tomato products, any acidicy foods, black pepper. It can help to change diet, but also to leave as much time after feeding before sleeping. Sorry not much help xxsmile

Patilla Mon 28-Oct-13 15:53:46

Def get her meds checked.

DD is same age and has been on Domperidone since about two months in addition to ranitidine and it has really helped.

Solids are starting to help things we have found but they made her older brother worse as a baby so don't hold out for that.

SurvivalOfTheUnfittest Mon 28-Oct-13 20:29:48

I think I added you to the group today smile. They have been a lifesaver and a brilliant resource for me.
I made a mistake in my post above - I was suggesting stopping while still awake obviously, not asleep and I think that is what the Pantley pull off is (I remember knowing about it, but mine are now 3 and 5!)
Ranitidine dose has to be carefully adjusted with weight gain or loses its effectiveness. Domperidone helped one of mine but the other was fine with just ranitidine. My three year old is still on lanzoprazole which we reached after ranitidine, domperidone and omeprazole!! If your GP seems knowledgeable and happy, you may not need a paeds referral but many GPs are neither with reflux and prefer to refer on. My GP has been an absolute shining star for us. Let us know what tomorrow brings.

FaithTheVampireSlayer Mon 28-Oct-13 20:30:51

Yeah solids seem to have made her worse. Well we tried a slightly different approach tonight - usually we do half bottle, bath, bottle, then BF. Tonight we did BF, bath, bottle, BF. Got her down without her puking on me (woo!). She didn't feed for very long either so that's encouraging.

FaithTheVampireSlayer Tue 29-Oct-13 19:12:59

Well...last night she went down at 7.45 with both sides. Tonight we did early bath because she was rubbing her eyes. Down at 6.30 with only one side of boob. Starting to think the ranitidine is really making a difference!

SteamWisher Tue 29-Oct-13 20:32:32

I would drop the formula because that could be making it worse as could dairy via you (both of mine had reflux). Once I cut all dairy and other foods from my and their diets things got better. They started self settling from 6 months, stopped a bit, started again etc etc etc depending on illness, teething etc. I stopped the ranitidine at 9 months.

SurvivalOfTheUnfittest Wed 30-Oct-13 22:52:04

Excellent! Long may it last!

FaithTheVampireSlayer Thu 31-Oct-13 20:59:48

Well, well....the sickness has been bad today but the naps have been good - 40 minutes early morning, 1h 50 minutes at lunchtime and a 30 minute cat nap in the afternoon. I agreed to try controlled crying because last night she fed but kept throwing up. Basically it was a nightmare! Tonight we had 2 minutes crying (he settled her), another 4 minutes crying and then some grizzling but not proper crying and she fell asleep within an hour! I'm really positive that we may have turned a corner smile

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