Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How We Survived Reflux/Colic

As I realize that some may land here to find “answers” to dealing with colic, I thought I’d give the top things that helped the most in our situation.

(Besides Zoloft for me)

Our son was diagnosed with infant reflux at three weeks old. He had eczema. Chronic constipation started at one month. He was identified as having milk allergy at one month. Other food allergies started showing themselves with the introduction of solid foods around four months. Once the reflux was managed with medication, he still demonstrated classic “colic” for months (crying for no apparent reason for a prolonged period at a specific time of day).

Holy shit, right? Right.

So, here’s my list:

1. I stopped doing what all the different books said I should do and did what felt right for our family for the moment. This is what I call “mothering from your own heart.” For example, I threw away the book that had told me to never let my baby sleep with me, to be careful not to overfeed the recommended ounces per bottle, and to breastfeed at all costs. I’m not saying my way is the right way. You may throw away the book that is the opposite of all that because it works for you. Do what preserves sanity for you and your family. The reason this helps you survive reflux/colic is because it gives you permission to do what helps you survive for now, rather than judging yourself for not doing things “by the book.”

This book is shit.

2. We were blessed with an awesome pediatrician and pediatric gastro-intestinal specialist who were with us every step of the way, willing to try different approaches.

3. PREVACID. Prevacid was a God-send. Parker was prescribed the solu-tab. He would get a half dose in the morning and a half dose 12 hours later. We had some hoops to jump through to get this covered by insurance, but it was worth it. Parker took this for about one year. We tried to take him off at six and nine months, but in both instances, the reflux came right back and he aspirated (choked on the reflux and stopped breathing for a moment). The Prevacid relieved the arching, the pain, and decreased the screaming.

Thank you, God, for Prevacid.

4. Elecare – A “superhypoallergenic” formula. I had a prescription for this and eventually got the right person on the phone at my insurance company and got it covered by insurance. Thank goodness because otherwise, it cost $50 per can. PER CAN. Roughly $600 a month. With insurance, it cost me about $100 a month. With Elecare, my baby could finally feed without it bringing him pain. Previously, I had the defeating experience of breastfeeding my baby, only to have him scream in pain afterward and choke on reflux. I was even on an extremely strict diet (white rice, broth, apples, water, and plain white meat chicken). I was losing weight rapidly. I breastfed for three weeks and pumped for an additional week after that. By the time we gave up on it, I was relieved and my son could finally feed and be…content.

WHY is some greedy asshole making MILLIONS from selling this to desperate mothers for $50 a can???

5. Miralax for constipation. We tried every remedy out there. Every remedy. That only brought us to eventually having to do an infant enema. Not fun for anyone, especially the baby. Miralax kept my son pooping for three years, and let me tell you, that was relief for all!
Oh yeah, the BIG bottle.

6. Thickening the bottle, especially for the night-time bottle. This helped to keep things down. Sometimes it’s a necessary thing for reflux kiddos, even though nutritionists warn against thickening bottles (your baby won’t learn his own “fullness signals” or gain too much). My boy has never been a chubby baby, and I think that refluxing up all of your food is hard enough on a digestive system without worrying about a “fullness signal.”

For crying out loud, KEEP IT DOWN!
7. Keeping his bed at a 45 degree angle – My husband installed a piece of wood under my son’s crib mattress that kept my boy at an angle for years. When he outgrew the reflux, we kept it like that since it helped with all the, seemingly, constant colds two year olds get. My son slept with us for the first six months of life. We created this angled spot for him with blankets to have this angle going on.

Get the damn purple sex pillow out and make it useful! (I am not saying I have one of these, but I have heard of it.)

8. AAT – Advanced Allergy Therapeutics - This is an emerging, alternative approach to treating allergies. There are not many people who can do it, so you’d have to Google it to find someone near you or in your region. Let me start by saying that after the first treatment, my son’s eczema was mostly gone. He’s now had three different treatments and is finally able to eat most things. We still avoid things that we haven’t treated that he is allergic to. We took him to a chiropractor 40 miles away who has had training in it. I was referred by the pharmacist at the Medicine Shoppe where I used to fill his Elecare formula.

Alternative treatments need to be talked about more!!
Google images

Anyone have other experiences to help with their child's reflux/allergy/gastro-intestinal issues? Do share! Share for the moms out there looking for a place to start!


Eva Gallant said...

God bless you for having the patience and perseverance to resolve the problem! Glad it's past!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that your first year was so rough...there is a dark side to motherhood that goes unexposed. I believe your blogs are making mothers every where feel human  and better about themselves.  I did have to laugh at the book you posted...as it actually saved my sanity and marriage two months after the twins were born..after 3 days of implementing its strategies (along with those also outlined in another book) they started taking better naps, sleeping more at night, and experiencing less colic and reflux, HOWEVER, we did not have near the severity of medical conditions that your little guy experienced. I honestly don't think it's possible for a baby to be "scheduled" with that level of medical need. Survival is crucial and we all just need to find what works best, wether it's by the book, by the heart, or even by a pill (mine was a stronger dose of Prozac).   Secretly, one of my greatest fears for having a third child is that he or she won't adhere to the principals we still so desperately cling to...as I know, in my heart, some kids just can't

P.S.. Did you ever get my other email?

jess said...

My son was diagnosed with a milk/soy protein allergy and reflux too. He had bloody stools which the GI doctor said was caused by "allergic colitis". Poor baby was in a lot of pain, and we didn't sleep much for the first several months.

We had to hold off on solids until the six-month mark, but I was able to go on a milk-free soy-free diet and keep breastfeeding. It was overwhelming at first (turns out soy is in just about EVERYTHING), but we made it through. By the time he turned one, my son had outgrown the allergy.

That propping the bed up trick worked wonders for us too. In fact, I'm probably due to treat my own reflux that way!

Tracy said...

Wow, I felt bad that mine spit up everytime she ate except if I put her in a rocker chair and watching Barney.

Nicole said...

Wow, you really did your homework! My son had a milk allergy so I was sent home with soy formula & a good luck. I had read about reflux but it didn't seem to fit Aidan. We would alternate holding him while he screamed & did have him sleep with us. The thing I regret was giving him a bottle to soothe him, now he's 14 months and needs a bottle sleep (I know, shame on me).

Jessica said...

I hope this post will help anyone that needs it.

Mom of 12 said...

Reflux is rough. I've had several kids with it. I didn't realize that reflux could be silent and that just gagging was still reflux. My sweetie has GERD, the adult form of reflux. It's not fun either.

Actually Mummy... said...

Both my babies had severe reflux. My first choked so badly at 3 weeks that she turned purple. No-one believed me. I say push, push, push and don't stop pushing until you get a good consultant. How I longed for Prevacid when I heard about it - we don't have it here. I had to crush pills and somehow get them in - inavariably they would gag and throw up anyway. I didn't sleep for months because I was so scared they would choke to death. (GG was asleep when she choked - I only knew because I was looking at her when it happened).
I would also say don't expect a cure. That only comes with age. We spent fortunes on 'miracles' that promised to help (hammocks, wedges, etc). A block under the cot, and a swing-seat for the day. And a good buggy that allows them to be raised, not flat. Yes I know that is bad for their backm, but my pediatrician told me to have her sleep in a car-seat all night to keep her upright. Such is the nightmare of reflux. You have to make choices and as you say, the best choice is the one that keeps you sane until it resolves.

championm2000 said...

Again, your post really takes me back!

You covered most of what we did (and more). Drew slept in a Fisher Price Rock and Play sleeper for 9 months because it was great for his reflux and was perfect for keeping right beside our bed. It is on an incline (although that purple pillow looks fun).

We took Drew to a neurologist because during the worst of it, he looked like he was having some kind of seizure. We had an EEG done that was normal (thank God), but during that visit, the neurologist suggested probiotics and even gave us a sample. He said there is a lot of research that points to colic having a gastrointestinal cause and that probiotics can help build the good bacteria that babies are missing, especially c-section babies.

We are had a lady come to our house and show us some baby massage techniques (did I mention we were desperate??)

Jen said...

Prevacid is a God send. 2 of my triplets were on it and it saved my sanity. It sucks all the hoops you have to jump through to get the medication but when you did, it is awesome.

Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM said...


I wish there were mom blogs like you 13 years ago when my son cried day in day out for 8 months. I'm sure a lot of that was "new nervous mom" syndrome but my poor little baby boy NEVER wanted me to put him down. I'm sure he was colicky. And I'm sure I was just a dumbass. And I'm sure I could have had help from my ever so absent family. And my husband was just as lost as me.

Well, my baby is 13 now and healthy, we got through it. Now he is just a butthead teenager, lol.


Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Amen sister. Prevacid saved our lives!!!! It absolutely changed our lives. Keegan threw up after every single meal, and then we put him on prevacid and all of the sudden he stopped puking. It was amazing. I mean, he's still a puker and everytime he smells something yucky or doesn't feel well it's booting time, but it really really works! Thanks for helping all those moms out there who need help...And the baby whisperer is shit for sure!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

Angelia Sims Hardy said...

Giggling over the sex pillow for your baby. Lol!

:-) P.S. I've never heard of that before!

P.S.S Still giggling...

And I am SO glad my baby didn't have reflux. You guys are troopers!

Anti-Supermom said...

You had me at the purple sex pillow, lol, what a fabulous idea for multi-purposing!

Glad that you survived one of the roughest parts of motherhood, or so I've heard.

Melissa said...

I absolutely LOVE that you can write about anything with a bit of humor. And totally random... I love the pill box graphic. :)

My Inner Chick said...

-----Fantastic Post.
I love your honesty & humor.
``was that book really SHIT?


Babes Mami said...

I have had several friends deal with this, it sounds awful. You amaze me that you made it thriugh, i dont know i could have.

Natalie said...

Wow talk about "welcome to motherhood!" Your son had it all...and you both survived. Thanks for sharing this...these are some great tips b/c I'm sure most of us would have been pulling out our hair trying to figure out how to cope.

The Pepperrific Life said...

I like that: "Mothering from your own heart". There really is no such thing as textbook mothering.

It's good your problem's resolved.

Cori said...

I was a colicky child - and now I suffer from lactose intolerance ... fun!!

The twins I used to nanny for, had it really bad and ended up getting the medical "wedge," similar to that pillow - except you strap them in. It looked like a torture device, but it worked wonders! The hardest part was weaning them off of it! The parents had to slowly got the wedge's foam to wean the twins off!

Julie said...

I am amazed by the no-nonsense way you've shared this information after SO much suffering...

You are honest, funny and very helpful - if I were a mother enduring these issues, I'd want to hug you hard.

(And not just because you talked about sex pillows...)

Cheers to answers, to hope and to generosity.

Katie said...

Thanks, Kristy. I will use all of your insightful, "super mom" experiences, suggestions and tales when my little miss baby j comes along.

Deb said...

My son had mild reflux, but it was resolved with sleeping upright and the second-hand Prilosec he got through breastmilk. I've unfortunately reached the point where the Prilosec no longer works for me, but that's another matter altogether.

I love your #1, in general. I spent so much time in the first 6 or so weeks fretting about my inability to get Li'l D breastfeeding that I thought I was a failure. Based on that one thing. I started letting up and trying alternatives and, lo! He was fine, I was fine, and everyone in the household was sane. Now I'd urge new parents to take your advice in #1 in general. Sanity is one of the most invaluable tools to have in those early days!

Date Girl said...

Oh my, that's overwhelming! My husband had colic as a baby, and if it's in any way hereditary, our future spawn may have the same issue. I'll definitely refer back to you for advice. I like your attitude-do what's best for your family. That's the way I deal with colds, etc in our house. What works for us may not work for everyone else.

Annette said...

My little boy had/has a milk allergy too. He had colic but thankfully outgrew it. I agree that it is up to us to mother with our hearts. I learned early on that books didn't help for me much either. Instead, it's been easier to look up different opinions on a topic online and then develop my own. Here's to, hopefully, easier days!

TV's Take said...

Wow, sounds like a rough couple of months. Great advice though.

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