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Silent reflux in big baby?

(17 Posts)
lemontop Fri 28-Dec-12 21:22:38

My dd is 5months old and I think she could have silent reflux but GP says it's highly unlikely because 'most reflux babies are skinny'. My daughter is a very big baby, born on 98th centile and has just gone off the scale for weight. HV wasn't concerned as she is also very tall and reckons she will burn it off when she starts moving etc..but I am wondering if part of her weight gain could be due to comfort feeding. She is EBF.

She has never been a good sleeper, but from about 3.5 months her sleep has been terrible. I first thought this might be due to the 4 month sleep regression, then she got a tooth so we reckoned she must be teething, then another tooth came along... but she's getting worse and I'm sure it's reflux related. She wakes up almost every 45mins through the night. If I put her in bed with me she might sleep longer, but never more than an hour and a half. Often when I go in she is coughing and has stuff in her mouth. During the day about half an hour after she feeds she coughs and gags and sounds like she is growling. She is such a happy baby otherwise and is obviously in pain when this is happening and it seems like it's getting worse.

I went to see the doc today and he basically said 'she's too fat, don't feed her at night.' and disregarded any thought about reflux and told me we would just keep an eye on it for 2-3 weeks. I am really not the sort of person to rush to the doctors so was annoyed he wouldn't even consider it, especially as it'd been going on for well over a month. So I am no better off and still have no solution to helping my dd.

Does anyone have any experience of silent reflux and if so does this sound typical? Is there anything I can do to help her before going back to docs? I have been reading around and all the advice seems so contradictory. Should I feed her little and often and if so does this include through the night? Will weaning help? Was planning to do BLW as it worked so well with my son but happy to do whatever really. Should I eliminate stuff from my diet just in case? I am going to try and change her routine so I am not feeding her to sleep for naps etc. Does that sound right?

Sorry for ridiculously long post. Any advice would be much appreciated!

BrainGoneAwol Sat 29-Dec-12 10:09:47

Hi Lemon. I'm afraid I don't know enough to advise, except to say that your gp sounds ridiculous. Both with the skinny babies comment and telling you not to feed at night.
I'd speak to your hv or get a second opinion from elsewhere.
Sorry I can't be more helpful.

lemontop Sat 29-Dec-12 11:01:20

Thanks. It's a help to know I am not alone in thinking his comments odd. He has got me doubting how to feed my baby. Will try to get a second opinion.

Satine5 Sat 29-Dec-12 13:36:59

Hi lemontop. Our DD had silent reflux and she was always a comfort feeder, 75th centile and above. We got her diagnosed at 4 months, but that was because I was very desperate and persistent and visited 5 GPs until I go her on meds. She was much better once she could sit and stand and at about 7 months we weaned her off meds. She still has a lot of gastric issues (trapped gas and is a horrible sleeper) but she is a happy baby now, she used to be so miserable due to her reflux. I did go down BLW route and I am pleased we did because she was able to control how much she had.
I still bf her and we are both on dairy and soya free is worth giving it a go for 2 weeks to see if it makes any difference. I used to carry her a lot in the carrier, she hated prams and lying flat (mind you, she still hates them now!).
I am not sure about comfort feeding, I just went (and still go) with the flow, that includes comfort feeding.
I did buy a wedge for her cot, not sure if it made much difference but could be worth trying?
This was very helpful as well

I am happy to help anyway I can, if ou have any more questions. It was sooo hard to go through the reflux, because dd was so bonny and healthy looking nobody believed she was actually uncomfortable and in pain from reflux. I feel for you and hope you get some help. PM me if you like!

RowanTheRedNosedMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 29-Dec-12 14:19:42


We've moved this to Breast and Bottle Feeding at the OP's request.


DewDr0p Sun 30-Dec-12 14:55:02

Ds had silent reflux and was on 90th %

With him it was evident something was up from birth. He was very unsettled after every single feed, worse at night, so he cried almost all the time. If you listened carefully you could hear it coming up in his throat and going back down again sad and he would arch his back a lot too.

What does your HV think? I think they are often better at this kind of thing than GPs. For us infant gaviscon was a huge help as was keeping him upright as much as poss (sling, baby nest, propped up cot) infacol can aggravate it so avoid that. Weaning and learning to sit both helped massively too. A dummy may also help.

Good luck - hope you get to the bottom of this very soon. I also had a HP tell me he was gaining too much weight to have reflux angry which is a load of bollocks.

bytheseaside Sun 30-Dec-12 19:17:12

hi there, my dd is 14 weeks, 7 weeks prem and Im fairly sure she has this. although only little, she is putting on weight consistently so we had the same response as you from hv when i asked about silent reflux. bf adviser and osteopath both said she most likely had it though, and that with on demand bf babies comfort feeding often masks silent reflux.
GP agreed, prescribed gaviscon, but I'm struggling to use it with bf - she feeds so often, and either cries or falls asleep after, so in no mood to be taking medicine at this point, even if i could figure out which the big feeds were. anyone have any tips?
I'm thinking of trying an anti-colic / reflux diet, i could do with some non-dairy etc. recipes really.
The crying is just awful, isnt it - breaks my heart ...

DewDr0p Sun 30-Dec-12 20:31:18

I found giving the Gaviscon a bit of a nightmare to start with. I remember us both in floods of tears and dh at a loss at to what to do.

If you call the helpline number on the box they should confirm whether it's still considered ok to mix it up with half the amount of water stated on the box. Hope it is as this helped enormously, it's so much thicker and hence easier to get in. I found it helped not to feed D's too often so tried as far as poss to feed every 3 hours. Nighttime was worst for us so we prioritised those and the first morning feed. I gave the gaviscon halfway through the feed, after a lot of trial and error I used a spoon and measured it out in one of those tiny plastic measuring cups. (Again check this is ok but I used to sterilise a small baby bottle, use that to mix up a day's worth with hot water cool it and keep in the fridge. Then measure out as needed. I kept sterilised spoons/cups in a second sterilised bottle.


DewDr0p Sun 30-Dec-12 20:35:09

PS hugs seaside, hang on in there, it will get better. Look after yourself as much as you can, it is such hard work.

YeahThatsTheBadger Sun 30-Dec-12 20:45:38

My GP was useless when I went. I had no real idea what was up with DS2 but a friend suggested silent reflux. The GP said he was constipated because he didn't poo everyday and said water between feeds and prune juice. hmm.

I went to speak to a breastfeeding counsellor and she suggested reflux, advised me to speak to HV who backed her diagnosis. I went back to the GP and asked for gaviscon. She reluctantly gave me a prescription but it made an immediate difference although as a pp has said, it is a bugger to give.

Maybe try other avenues of support, like breastfeeding support worker/counsellor and see if they can help convince the doctor/hv

Good luck. I hope you get something sorted soon.

bytheseaside Mon 31-Dec-12 03:18:27

thanks so much for advice dewdrop, will give gaviscon another go with your method i think. last night was dreadful, tonight has been fine touch wood. who knows what makes the difference... think i will try dairy free and see. good luck op, sorry to hijack

RunningOutOfIdeas Mon 31-Dec-12 05:04:50

Both my DDs have reflux. DD1 was more silent reflux while DD2 vomits more. They are both big babies.

My way of giving gaviscon is to express about 20mls, add the gaviscon to this and give it to DD at the start of the feed. As soon as the bottle is finished I switch her to bf.

Your LO sounds exactly like DS at the same age. He was never diagnosed with silent reflux as the GP said the same as yours, I felt like I was wasting her time so I never went back.

I am convinced though that that's what he has, he was very uncomfortable after every feed, had hiccups frequently (still does if he laughs a lot but they don't seem to bother him now) cried all the time, was a nightmare to get to sleep, arched his back and I could hear his tummy sort of retching, it was horrible sad

If I were you I'd persevere with trying to get a diagnosis, change GP if you need to, don't be fobbed off.

It might be worth changing your diet a bit, I decided to eliminate things one at a time and got lucky, turned out it was made 100 times worse when I had caffeine and when I gave it up it stopped almost completely (on the odd occasion I had it by accident we had an awful night Where he was obviously in a lot of pain) So it might be worth cutting something out for a week or two just in case.

With regard to feeding, I think it comforts them to feed (hence not being skinny) So I continued to feed on demand for as long as DS wanted and BLW was just a continuation of this. I did try and hold him upright after feeds, change his nappy before so it didn't put pressure on his tummy from being too tight, only rubbed his back to wind him and carried him in the sling a lot. I think as a mother you often have instincts and if so you should go with them. I hope you find some kind of solution or relief soon smile

lemontop Mon 31-Dec-12 15:08:24

Thanks for all your comments. They are really helpful and seaside don't worry hope this thread can help you too. I honestly don't think I am overfeeding her as she refuses the breast when she doesn't want it and has always been big. My son was exactly the same on the growth chart and now age 3 is still tall but pretty skinny. I'm really pleased to hear some of you went down the BLW route to weaning as that worked so well with my son that I really wanted to do it again. I just hope whatever it is can be sorted out. She's so happy and the change in her is awful when she is in pain.

Does anyone know if teething can aggravate it at all? I'm trying to pinpoint what is making her particularly bad at the moment. I have an awful feeling it's dairy or chocolate in particular as don't normally have a lot of caffeine and have had a fair few Christmas chocs. Tried to go dairy and soya free but going to have to plan ahead as soya in bread and stuff makes it hard.

RunningOutOfIdeas Mon 31-Dec-12 23:21:11

Teething definitely made DD1's reflux worse.

DewDr0p Tue 01-Jan-13 17:17:54

Running just to let you know the Gaviscon helpline stressed it was important for them to only take the Gaviscon with plenty of milk. They said halfway through feed was fine but not to give it at the start as it needs to be mixed into lots of milk. Hope that's useful info for you.

funchum8am Tue 01-Jan-13 17:37:33

My DD is 12 weeks and had many of the same symptoms but with lots of vomiting and far, far worse at night as she was mainly upright during the day (I love having her in a sling and she is very happy with this, presumably because of the reflux!). We finally got Gaviscon on 2nd GP visit, having been advised to try tilting cot, cutting out cow's milk from my diet etc fist time round. Gaviscon has fixed it pretty much, though when on the full 2 sachet dose she became constipated. GP said it is fine to give less, so through trial and error I have found giving only about a third of the recommended dose keeps her from regurgitating and stops her being in pain, but isn't enough to cause constipation either. I only give it after bigger feeds and I find if I give it to her warm she is a lot happier to take it. It was really hard to get her to have it at first but now I am giving so much less, and giving it warm, it is much easier and we are getting far more sleep...most importantly we have a much much happier little girl! Best of luck, it is so so hard when you have reflux on top of all the challenges of a baby plus a crap GP. I would definitely change GP if you have to, it will be worth it if you can get a solution.

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