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My 6wks old has reflux, should I give up breastfeeding?

(16 Posts)
M78 Mon 19-Oct-09 14:47:45

Went to the doctor today as my 6wks DD2 has been really unsettle and unhappy after feeds, leaving me so sleep deprived that I can hardly function, the doctor said that she has silent reflux and told me to add instant Carobel powder to her feeds to thicken the milk. When I told her that I am breastfeeding she said that maybe I should give her formula otherwise if I really want to breastfeed to express and add the powder to my milk. I really want to breastfeed her, my DD1 was premature and did not manage to breastfeed and I would like to do it for at least 6 months this time. Would it be possible and reasonably easy to express every feed or should I just give up breastfeeding instead of driving myself mad? Also has anyone used milk thickeners and do they work with reflux? I really want my baby to be better as at the moment she is so uncomfortable all the time....

haventsleptforayear Mon 19-Oct-09 14:51:32

I think your doctor should be offering you another solution.

DS2 had bad reflux and I bf him.

I won't hide that it was v. hard, he was screaming after every feed and the nights were hell for a year plus (see name!).

However, my SIL's baby had reflux too, and was so much worse on formula because she had nothing to comfort her baby with and the formula made things worse (she initially expressed but then gave up and saw a big difference).

I don't think expressing is the answer.

You will also need the antibodies in bm if yours is anything like DS2 - v. prone to ear infections.

!good luck

ib Mon 19-Oct-09 15:01:22

Absolutely not. Ds had very, very severe reflux and it was made very much worse by formula - it is harder to digest and gives more acid, even with thickeners.

I used thickeners while bf. What I did was to express a very small amount (1oz. or so) and mix it with the thickener, then give it to ds with a spoon. Then I would bf ds normally. A paediatric gastro told me this was just as good as mixing it and giving it in a bottle.

However, there are much better solutions to reflux (particularly the silent type) than thickening the feeds - have you even tried Gaviscon? It will neutralise the acid which is what is making your dd miserable. It doesn't work for everyone (didn't work for ds) but it sometimes really helps and is quite inoccuous.

Are you also keeping her upright for 30 mins after feeds? That helps more than anything else (except heavy duty drugs) ime.

It's really hard dealing with reflux, but honestly bfing is absolutely the best thing you can do - bm is a natural mild antacid, apart from anything else.

It's shocking some of the things doctors come out with sometimes. We saw 10 (yes, 10) HCPs before going to the specialist and they all seemed dead set on stopping me bfing. I don't know why they hate it so much.

M78 Mon 19-Oct-09 15:07:51

That's exactly the impression my doctor gave me, she seemed mildly annoyed by the fact that I didn't agree and decided to switch to formula there and then! I am going to try and add the thickener to a small amount of breast milk and see if it helps, otherwise I'll go back and ask for Gaviscon.

Beveridge Mon 19-Oct-09 15:20:18

<puzzled as to why doctor should instantly assume you are FF at 6 weeks old and not first of all ask how your baby is fed>

DD was prescribed Infant Gaviscon for reflux and I was advised to mix it with a little expressed milk and give half the dose by spoon at the beginning of the feed and the rest at the end. DISCLAIMER - this was advice from a HV, not a GP.I was worried about giving too concentrated a dose as you don't know what volume of milk they get if you're bfing but its an option you could discuss with another doctor at your practice or a useful HV(if you are lucky enough to have a useful one)?

(I also didn't try gaviscon because I wasn't convinced DD had reflux and it turned out she didnt.She was just so greedy she ate until she burst and when I stopped offering her seconds, she stopped throwing up like Mr Creosote. Your DD's symptoms sound very different and it sounds awful for both of you.)

Expressing for all feeds can knock your supply and there's always the risk that they won't go back to the breast easily. However, I would think that because bmilk is more easily digested than formula it would be easier on tummies with reflux??So i would strive to preserve bfing at all costs(along with the other advantages).

What about phoning to speak to a breastfeeding specialist? e.g. NCT, La Leche League websites will give numbers of helplines.

Beveridge Mon 19-Oct-09 15:21:55

Aha! X-posting has occured while DD decided to wake up and shout at me!grin

M78 Mon 19-Oct-09 15:57:53

I have just tried to express for the first time and the result was really disappointing, about 1/2 oz sad... I will try and see if I can get to talk to somebody else at my practice, I really wanted to get this sorted out as next week we are supposed to go on holiday and at the moment I am planning on cancelling the all thing as it would not be very enjoyable with an unhappy baby...

Poohbearsmom Mon 19-Oct-09 16:26:38

Im sorry ur little one is sickly and im sorry ur g.p was quite crap... My DS1 had reflux and it was very hard he only ever slept while being help upright, untill he was 6months old! But i breastfed him till he was 14months, only stopped because i was preg wit his little brother, but his reflux really settled the older he got, by 6 months he was fine... I hope u continue feedin him urself it will benefit him n so many ways and comfort him too... Good luck

olivo Mon 19-Oct-09 16:56:15

hi m78. my dd has reflux, she is nearly 9 weeks. i am excl bf and used gaviscon, dissolving it in cooled boiled water and giving it before a feed with a syringe. it seemed to stop the vomiting after feeds but not the acid in between so she is now on domperidone.

you really dont need to stop bf but it can be hit and miss finding out what works for your dc. good luck.

roslily Mon 19-Oct-09 18:19:30

I did give up, now I realise my doctor was talking out his arse. However my ds is much better, he wouldn't take any medication in syringe so it is now mixed in. He is much more settled and we don't have the screaming every time he feeds, which was upsetting for me.

However I hope there is a solution that doesn't involve you giving up. I am cross with my doctor.

Longtalljosie Mon 19-Oct-09 18:22:27

I exclusively breastfeed and give my 8 week old DD infant Gaviscon in the same way Olivo does, halfway through a feed. She has also just started on Ranitidine.

As well as being an antacid, Gaviscon thickens breastmilk as well. Your doctor doesn't sound very supportive. You do not need to express all your feeds, honestly you don't.

LeninGhoul Mon 19-Oct-09 18:33:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

M78 Mon 19-Oct-09 20:31:48

Thanks for all your messages, I have decided to get a second opinion and made an appointment with a pediatrician for Wednesday, hopefully he is going to be a bit more helpful and pro breastfeeding! I decided not to add any milk thickeners to her feeds and wait until after my appointment to see what alternatives I have.

ib Mon 19-Oct-09 20:40:33

Good for you.
Here's some medical reassurance for you:

An article written by Laura Barmby in New Beginnings magazine states,

"Breastfed babies seem to cope better with GER than artificially fed babies. During breastfeeding the motion of the baby's tongue triggers peristaltic waves along the gastrointestinal tract (Lawrence 1994). These muscular contractions help to move the food down into the stomach and on to the small intestine. Human milk digests more completely and almost twice as fast as formula. The less time the milk spends in the stomach, the less opportunity there is for it to back up into the esophagus. In addition, breastfed babies are generally fed in a more upright position than artificially fed babies, and gravity may help to keep the milk and gastric acid in the stomach where they belong."

In the meantime, there are a number of measures you can take to help with reflux

see 17 ways to treat reflux

Hope it gets better soon!

M78 Mon 19-Oct-09 20:57:43

ib, thank you very much for the information, I wish I had known all of this this morning when I went to see my doctor... The list of ways to treat reflux is very useful as well, will put some of them into practice tonight!

Discodolly100 Fri 30-Oct-09 11:51:09

Good for you for sticking with the breastfeeding. Also, just a tip that I found helped for my son - don't lay your baby down flat after a feed - prop her up for at least half and hour after a feed to give her a chance to digest it. This can make night feeds very long and drawn out, but it does help. Also, prop her cot up on a couple of blocks at one end. Hope this helps a bit for you!

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