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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.