If you’re reading this post, you’re either interested in all things Ryleigh or you’re struggling with a reflux baby yourself. If its the latter, know that this is a safe space and I see you. While I’m going to share a few things that helped me during my experience, this is more of a ‘you’re not alone’/’it’ll get better’ post because every baby is different.
Of all the newness that came along with welcoming our little bundle into this world (diaper changes, lack of sleep, messy house, etc), the reflux was the A B S O L U T E worst. And don’t get me wrong, she still spits up frequently, BUT we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we used to be.
I’ll never forget the first time I realized I had a ‘reflux baby.’ We had my brother and sister in law in town to meet Ryleigh for the first time when she was maybe a month old. They had only been at our house for a few hours and she had thrown up at least ten times. They were shocked. They have two boys and said they maybe spit up once. LIKE EVER. I was shocked. Is that even possible? I thought maybe they had these golden babies until I talked to our pediatrician who said some babies just don’t spit up and then some babies (aka ‘reflux babies’) spit up 24/7. We were the proud parents of the latter.
This was so tough. I could never get ready prior to feeding her because I’d be covered in throw up during each feeding. So I was always feeding her half naked or in a spit up covered top until she was done. Then I’d spend a quick 5 minutes getting myself together before being able to leave the house. I CONSTANTLY smelled like throw up. As soon as I’d shower, I’d be thrown up on again. I was either neck deep in laundry or wearing the same disgusting clothes over and over. I never put Ryleigh in anything cute because I had fear she’d ruin it (this is why she didn’t wear 3/4 of her 3-6 month clothes). I never wanted to leave the house with her when I thought I’d have to feed her out because I knew I’d be covered in public or my car would be covered, that didn’t sound fun at all. So in the house I stayed. I was MISERABLE. I remember breaking down A LOT telling Will we had to do something because not only was this incredibly annoying but she was also in so much pain. She was constantly screaming (even while feeding) and pulling her legs up.
I remember the day someone suggested that maybe I should switch to formula because she might not be able to digest my milk. I sobbed. I felt like I wasn’t able to provide for my baby (which is totally ludacris, but hello hormones). I never actually supplemented with formula, I wanted to try a few other things out first. I tried removing certain things from my diet. Dairy. Raw veggies. Meat. I didn’t notice a difference and honestly, it was hard to maintain when I was also using frozen milk that I pumped when I wasn’t eliminating foods, so I never quite knew what she was ingesting.
My growing concern led our pediatrician to prescribe Zantac. I thought ‘this is wonderful! she’ll get some relief, which will in turn provide relief to us as well!’ WRONG. The first time we tried Zantac, she threw up more than I’d ever seen her. She then went on to scream in pain more than I’d seen her. As directed by our pediatrician, we kept with it for the week, but received the same result. Will and I finally decided that Zantac was not the answer. The pediatrician mentioned another medicine, but at this point I wanted to give her a break and try a few things I had googled. We ended up not trying any additional medicine.
Up until this point, Ryleigh was nursing for 15-20 minutes a clip and throwing up 5-6 times per feeding (during and after), it was like the flood gates opened and her and I were covered. Google taught me to break the feeding up into 3 minute intervals. This was a game changer. While this seems so obvious now, I hadn’t even thought of it back then. My let down was likely so forceful that she was taking so much in so quickly that she couldn’t help spitting it back up. So I instantly started removing her from the boob every three minutes to give her a good burp and let her digest. If you haven’t tried this, I definitely recommend giving it a shot. But honestly, that was the only real ‘trick’ that seemed to work.
The only other thing that seemed to work is time. I know its not what you want to hear. But around 5-6 months, her digestion just got better. Like I said, we’re still spitting up here and there, but we sometimes go hours and maybe even a day without.
Get yourself a mama to talk to who’s gone through it. While I could obviously talk to Will (and he did get thrown up on his fair share of times), its just a lot harder as a mom, especially if you’re trying to nurse because you are the only one who can feed him/her. Whether its a friend, neighbor, facebook group, whatever it may be (I did all three). They get it. They will make you feel at ease that it will get better.
I mean she’s lucky shes cute.
Our biggest struggle now is that on occasion she will eat so fast (usually after first waking up – because shes basically in starvation mode after not eating for 12-13 hours) that she will spit up so violently that it will come out of her nose. I just give her a minute to catch her breath and she usually does just fine. However, its one of the most terrifying sights to watch your babe choking on their own spit up and feeling helpless.
I honestly feel like we have such a better connection now that this one issue has improved. She’s in less pain. I’m less annoyed. We’re so much happier.
So while this may not be the most informative posts, it is one of the most raw and I hope that helps you on another level. If you have any additional questions or just want to talk/vent, shoot me an email, DM, comment etc.