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Managing reflux without medication

(36 Posts)
MisselthwaiteManor Mon 08-Jul-13 15:38:40

We took DD to the doctor at 1 week because she was throwing up full feeds for two days and wasn't settling. They said she has reflux and told us to try infant gaviscon mixed into a bottle of expressed milk. I only managed to give her the gaviscon once or twice a day, and I hate it, it doesn't appear to ease her discomfort at all or stop her from being sick. It makes her vomit so thick that she chokes sad and makes her constipated and uncomfortable.

Shes 3 weeks now and I've stopped the gaviscon and I'm using upright feeding positions and holding her upright for ages after a feed, letting her have small and often feeds and pretty much never lay her down. Also winding her a lot (midwife in hospital told me BF babies dont need winding but her latch is bad because of lip tie so she gulps air, Ive only just realised this so shes been left in pain with wind up till now!) it's exhausting but she's been sick a lot less and I thought we'd cracked it.

Yesterday she was sick after every feed again. Would you go back to the gaviscon, do we need to be giving it at every feed in order for it to work? Or do we need to go back to the doctor for something else? Or is it normal to have a bad day and just ride it out?

If I can do without meds I would prefer to.

stargirl1701 Mon 08-Jul-13 15:51:22

DD has silent reflux and it got worse as time went by. It peaked at 4/5 months when she would sleep 40 min max then scream incessantly for 8-13 hours before collapsing into another 40 min sleep.

We found Ranitidine helped in the early stages. There are 3 dosing levels (we went through them all). It is far less faffy than Gaviscon. Maybe you could try the lowest dose?

MisselthwaiteManor Mon 08-Jul-13 15:55:41

Did you find there were any side effects with the ranitidine?

noblegiraffe Mon 08-Jul-13 23:26:58

Is your DD actually in any pain/discomfort from the reflux or experiencing problems with weight gain? If yes, then you need to consider medication.

My DS was a prolific vomiter but as it never bothered him our GP said it was just a laundry problem. We just propped up his cot, kept him upright and fed him little and often (one side only every 2 hours). He grew out of it at around 4-5 months.

stargirl1701 Tue 09-Jul-13 07:04:07

No, we didn't notice any side effects.

Bunbaker Tue 09-Jul-13 07:08:40

OH has had acid reflux for years and, stupidly, left it untreated. It damages the oesophagus if left untreated and he has since had surgery on it and needs to have an endoscopy every year to check that it hasn't turned cancerous..

Please don't withhold treatment for your baby. Go back to the GP and ask for advice.

Sunnysummer Tue 09-Jul-13 07:37:44

The real question is probably about how much pain she experiences. If she's a fairly 'happy spitter' then is may be fine without meds, otherwise I'd second noblegiraffe's advice above - we were also very hesitant about medication, but as our doctor pointed out, if an adult was experiencing agony after every meal and was unable to sleep properly due to pain, we would consider it cruelty to withhold helpful medication.

As for previous posters, DS's reflux has also continued to get worse, so it's worth nipping in the bud ASAP. Holding all the time can work for the first few weeks, but gets progressively more exhausting as your baby gets bigger and sicker.

That said, medication has really not been a silver bullet for us - but there are plenty of people around who will tell you that going on ranatidine or particularly on omeprazole led to a complete turnaround, and that suddenly the baby they thought was naturally serious or grumpy became totally sunshiny!

Of the non-medical interventions, it sounds like you're already doing most of them - the one thing that you don't mention specifically is a sling, which is brilliant as your baby gets bigger and less inclined to nap on you. We have the ergobaby and a moby wrap, but anything that allows an upright position and is newborn-friendly can work. Good luck! smile

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Jul-13 07:44:16

Most babies are sick to some extent (posseting) because the valve between the stomach and oesophagus is weak and it is something they grow out of. It's not the same thing as acid reflux in adults.

If your baby is happy and gaining weight, you really don't want to mess around with medication that can make them constipated.

This might be useful to decide if you need to worry about your baby being sick:

MisselthwaiteManor Tue 09-Jul-13 09:48:58

Thanks everyone.

She's gaining plenty of weight and having lots of wet and dirty nappies so she's definitely getting enough and keeping enough down. She does seem in pain still occasionally, then she will have one or two days where she seems fine. The vomiting itself doesn't seem to bother her, she doesn't cry or squirm until later on.

I'm not withholding treatment sad I hate seeing her distressed. I just wondered if there was anything we could do without medication (or specifically gaviscon) because it causes her other problems and pains so it's only replacing one problem with another and didnt even seem to have any effect.

I'll take her back to the GP and ask to try ranitidine.

PK1975 Tue 09-Jul-13 14:16:30

Our dd is 21 weeks and was initially a very unhappy, unsettled baby. Gaviscon didn't work for us but ranitadine has made a big difference. She no longer arches her back in pain.

She's mainly bf ( throws most of it up) but we introduced reflux forumula to give her a bit of respite from the vomit - we had to wait for a referral to the hospital as our gp couldn't prescribe ranitadine and we needed to do something as she was so unsettled and unhappy. She's now a very happy baby grin

lotsofcheese Tue 09-Jul-13 19:41:19

Gaviscon only works in mild cases, however if your dd wasn't getting the full dose it can't be concluded that it was ineffective.

As others have said, it is important to treat reflux as it can cause damage to the oesophagus; also it can lead to negative associations with food & eating at a later stage.

We used omeprazole (adult dose) to treat DS's severe reflux. We decided the side-effects of reflux were worse than any potential effects of the medication.

MisselthwaiteManor Tue 09-Jul-13 20:10:09

I've been using the gaviscon today but all it does is make her choke on her vomit. It's horrible, I don't know what to do for the best. Will hopefully be able to get a docs appointment tomorrow.

Believeitornot Tue 09-Jul-13 20:14:29

I stopped rantidine with dd quite early on. She had a tongue tie and lip tie so not convinced it worked (ds had ranitidine until 9 months). I got her tongue tie snipped and gave her a dummy - it was pretty rough until 5/6 months.

Poppet45 Wed 10-Jul-13 08:03:49

Would you go without medication for a massively painful condition that caused you to vomit up every meal could damage your voice for good, cause attachment disorders with caregivers and can cause lifelong damage to your gullet? Then why would you inflict this situation on dc? She's helpless and reliant on you to stop her discomfort. You might not want a dc with a medical condition but you have to get over it and get her help. If you're bfing cut out dairy - all dairy even traces - and soya for a 6 week trial as most reflux is due to a cows milk protein intolerance to foods in the mums diet. Then ask for ranitadine or omeprazole. And bin the gaviscon. I'm sorry if I sound harsh but I'm fed up of mums seemingly prepared to inflict pain rather than deal with a condition appropriately. If dd breaks her leg in future will she be banned from entonox?

MisselthwaiteManor Wed 10-Jul-13 08:43:29

Do you not think I feel guilty enough that she's in so much pain? I've said twice now that the gaviscon causes her more pain, and causes her to choke. I'm asking for help.

Sunnysummer Wed 10-Jul-13 08:45:22

That seems a little harsh, poppet, especially as OP didn't clarify whether the discomfort is manageable or extreme.

Also, while the dairy an soy free is worth trying, the 6 weeks sounds excessive - both DS's paediatrician and his gastroenterologist said that if that is the cause, you should see a significant change within 3-4 days or at most a week, though a full change will take 4 weeks (2 to get out of your system, 2 to get out of the baby's). Our little guy was even put onto fully hydrolysed formula (no allergens) for 2 weeks while I went to a full elimination diet for 2 more to see if this helped, but t did not. Our doctor said that he sees a lot of women unnecessarily taking things out of their diet because they read things about intolerances, it carries its own risks, such as low calcium intake, unless supported by a dietitian.

MisselthwaiteManor Wed 10-Jul-13 08:47:57

Posted too soon.

I asked if there was anything I could do other than use gaviscon because its hurting her! Yes I'm a shit mother because I can't help her and don't know what to do, but that's why I'm asking for help.

I've had no dairy since she was diagnosed. I'm trying everything I can. I'm not doing this to her on purpose.

KateCroydon Wed 10-Jul-13 08:55:21

You're not a shit mother.

Sunnysummer Wed 10-Jul-13 09:04:32

You're not a shit mother at all! You're doing your best and sounding very sensible, and reflux can make even very experienced mothers doubt themselves.

It sounds like there is no harm in ping back to the doctor, they can double check her weight gain and talk with you to understand whether the reflux is actually distressing her (in which case medication may be very necessary) or it is just a 'laundry problem' and you can manage it with positioning and strategically stashed spare clothes.

Some wind is often linked to reflux, but it could also be a separate issue that will get better with time - DS's improved a lot around 8 weeks which was a huge relief!

Give yourself a break, she's still only tiny and you're very new to one another. Also, don't worry too much about crying, if you're doing everything you can and are reassuring her, she'll be fine, like the millions of colicky, refluxy and otherwise hurting babies over time, who have made it through okay and bonded just fine with their parents.

Believeitornot Wed 10-Jul-13 10:41:05

Have you also stopped soya? This made dd even worse than dairy.

Believeitornot Wed 10-Jul-13 10:42:40

Also, and I remember the feelings of despair very well, I read up on the medications side effects - it does inhibit the absorption of certain minerals (which is why I stopped it quite early with dd, kept it up until 9 months with ds)

Woofers Wed 10-Jul-13 10:46:05

I have no idea about babies I'm afraid however, real licorrish (spelling?) helps with acid / reflux. And my friend had a VERY colicky baby and she went to see a homeopath. The results were amazing. Or another wholistic treatment might be a cranio-osteopath who specialises in digestion. They don't just do backs you know wink

Good luck and a speedy recovery for baby x

BobbinUp Wed 10-Jul-13 11:09:00

DS had silent reflux and it was like a crushing ball after a very 'easy' dd!
He and I didnt get on with gaviscon, agree with other posters that it doesnt help loads. He did do well on ranitidene and was on this for quite a while. It made a huge difference to him but he was a constant cryer, hated being in car, hated being in buggy, hated everything it felt like at the time and def needed meds. However, I have met a few reflux babies who are just happy chuckers and seemingly not affected. Gripe water may offer some help if she is windy as this could be problem rather than acid relflux? Also we had big success with cranio osteo although some people think this too woo.
Be kind to yourself too. I had dd who was 2 when ds arrived and had thought myself a pretty capable mum. I REALLY struggled with him and have memories of everyone crying a lot. It will pass like everything else.

MigGril Wed 10-Jul-13 11:23:27

Really if you can manage with medication that's great. There is little evidence that medication helps any more then simply keeping baby upright after every feed for 20-30 minutes at least. A sling would be good for this. So your not a bad mum if not medicating as there are always side effects with all medications.

Feeding little and often is also really helpful, so your doing all the right things.

kellymom website has more info on all things breastfeeding. Well worth reading there section on reflux.

ZolaBuddleia Wed 10-Jul-13 11:28:31

Yes, Ranitidine is easier to administer, as it's syringed in.

The only thing that cracked it for us was a combination of Carobel and Ranitidine. We FF though, I'd imagine expressing so you can add the Carobel would be a PITA.

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