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Gaviscon making reflux worse?

(9 Posts)
Stacks Thu 02-May-13 10:06:41

I have an 18w DS who has been sleeping poorly for weeks now. He's also had a cough and sniffly nose overnight, but rarely in the daytime.

His usual behaviour was generally just waking gently, making enough noise and movement to wake me, then taking a feed and going back to sleep. The only problem with this was he could be waking me every hour or more. His daytime naps are fine, settling in his pram sleeping for an hour or so, then waking for a feed and play.

All through the day he'll have periods of reflux, with acid coming into his mouth/throat which he swallows back down with a shudder and grimace. The doctor has suggested he could have reflux over night causing the wake ups and prescribed gaviscon.

I've given it to him twice at night at his feed before bed. These have been the two worst nights we've ever had. Waking with a pained wail, refusing to feed, arching his back and only settling with me sitting up to feed him. His cough has got worse, now sounding very congested and his throat sounding sore. Much more mucousy and visible signs of reflux with him obviously grimacing and swallowing before and after waking.
Last night we had hours of screaming, two lots of large volume projectile vomiting, and lots of obvious discomfort through the night even when sleeping. Every time he cleared his nose he'd cough and grimace sometimes waking, sometimes managing to stay asleep. He only managed two hours undisturbed sleep - the first two after going down.

Is this all coincidence? Can the gaviscon be making it worse? Has anyone else ever seen this? Thanks.

SweetPea91 Thu 02-May-13 12:54:03

My DS had this problem and it was awful, he was constantly being sick, it was worse during the night. I really sympathise with you. Have you tried giving him anti reflux milk? I gave it to my DS at 13 weeks after visiting a nurse, she suggested it and within hours I had a different child, he started sleeping better at night. All the vomiting had stopped (apart from the usual little bit of spit up with wind). My DS has Aptamil Anti Reflux now.

Stacks Thu 02-May-13 13:07:05

We're exclusive breast feeding. I'm trying out going dairy free to see if it helps, but could take up to 2 weeks to see.

It's just bizzare that the gaviscon seems to be making things worse. I can't find anything online about others experiencing this. So, just coincidence?

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Thu 02-May-13 13:17:15

Is he gaining weight? My ds1 was much worse with gaviscon and he turned out to have pyloric stenosis. he was much younger than your ds though and became seriously ill veru quickly. Not suggesting it's that but may be worth taking him to the gp.

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Thu 02-May-13 13:19:36

sorry just realised my post is a bit worry inducing! very unlikely for an 18 week old to have pyloric stenosis, I just meant that it may not be reflux so worth mentioning to a gp.

HollyMadison Thu 02-May-13 13:39:32

Gaviscon didn't work for us, although I'm not sure if it made it worse. Apart from not actually working, it wasn't a good thing for us as it apparently just thickens feeds, meaning they take in less calories, and my DS struggled with weight.

I do remember that the 5 month mark was the worst for screaming, back arching etc. If you are confident in your GP you could go back and discuss getting some more powerful reflux meds. If you're not confident, bypass the GP and go straight to a gastro-enterologist pediatrician. We ended up going privately.

You could also ask your doctor and HV for advice on weaning. Lots of people (not me unfortunately) experience marked reflux improvement when weaning starts. If I had my time again I would wean earlier than I did (6 months) as by that time DS was old enough to make the connection between pain and feeding and consequently we have had real troubles with eating (still do at 2.2). Good luck - it will improve x

Stacks Thu 02-May-13 17:24:19

Thanks for the replies. My DS has progressed into a cold today, so I think it probably has been a coincidence the gaviscon with the bad nights. Now, should I persist with the gaviscon for a miserable, coldy baby?

mummy2benji Thu 02-May-13 19:13:52

Hey there, my ds1 suffered with severe reflux as a baby and feeding phobia and was in and out of hospital for refusing to drink milk - I'm also a GP so because of ds1 I have a particular interest in infant feeding problems. In my experience gaviscon works in about 50% of babies with reflux. It does sound like the sudden worsening of symptoms was probably set off by a cold so it is probably worth giving it a little longer to see if the gaviscon helps - it may be hard to tell until the cold is improving. Just watch the dirty nappies to check he isn't getting constipated on it. If gaviscon doesn't help then the next treatment is ranitidine. My dd2 is now on that as gavison didn't work for her, and she has been better on the ranitidine. Your GP should hopefully be able to prescribe it but it depends how used they are to managing reflux in babies. My GP was reluctant to give it to dd2 despite ds1's history, the fact that I have reflux too so there is a strong family history, and I am a GP... hmm So I went to see a different GP who would give it. Dd2 was also referred to paediatrics, mostly due to the severity of ds1's condition - thankfully she has been nothing like him - and if you have concerns abou your lo's weight gain, or if things aren't improving, it would be worth asking your GP for a referral. Hope that helps. x

MiaowTheCat Fri 03-May-13 08:42:00

We've just swapped from using carobel to gaviscon. At the moment I'm finding the amount of sick is slightly worse (but more predictable in timings if that makes sense - I can tell when she's going to blow... must... resist... temptation to load the puke cannon up and hand her to MIL...), but her squirming and feeling uncomfortable seems to be easing slightly... but that's only after a few days and I'll give it a couple of weeks to see how things go (I've googled a lot and some people say it takes a bit of time to start working) before I start bugging the GP for the next attempt to win the battle.

I'm up against the whole "oh well she's gaining weight so it's fine" thing - having to use the fact I have a history of mental health depression/anxiety to get them to treat her to make my life easier so to speak... it's not actually affecting my mental health but if that's the angle I've got to push to get them to do something - I'll play that card shamelessly.

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