As the title suggests this is the second part of the story, but you can read part 1 here.
At the end of part one we had bitten the bullet and given O a dummy. It was the only thing that settled him to sleep other than being on the boob. I had no issue with him nursing for comfort and breastmilk is a natural antacid, but of course the more he nursed, the more milk there was to slosh around in his tummy, the more he threw up. Some believe that the saliva produced when a baby sucks a dummy can also help neutralise the stomach acids too so that helped with the decision. Plus it meant someone other than me could comfort him!
For the next few weeks we soldiered on, the vomiting continued, the dummy helped with the settling to sleep but the screaming continued. O started gagging, he would spend half his day choking on the acid that had travelled up to the back of his throat. Another thing that started that still upsets me when he does it now at 7 months old is crying when he feeds. He will literally moan and whimper through the entire time he’s at the breast. He also fights and squirms, arching his back and trying to pull away. I do wonder what people think of it when I’m in public. I must look like I’m forcing him to breastfeed against his will, even though when I take him off the breast he will scream even more!
Until 16 weeks we hadn’t had an official diagnosis of infant reflux even though we had seen our GP, the health visitor and even the paediatrician for other issues. I had always brought it up, said how bad he was getting and they would just brush it off and our appointment would be over. It was a Wednesday when he was finally diagnosed. We were in clinic for his second injections and I begged the health visitor to get me in to see the dr. After much faffing from the receptionist and a 30 minute wait we were told that yes he did have reflux but being as he was under the consultant he wasn’t allowed to prescribe any medication. My heart Sank. Yes we had a hospital appointment only a week away but I wanted something there and then!!!
The doctor admitted that if O had been 17 weeks old he would have advised us to start weaning(in the UK sense of starting solids)with baby rice but instead prescribed a milk thickener called ‘Carobel’ I have seen something similar used in homes for the elderly to help swallowing issues. It is used to thicken the contents of babies stomachs so the milk doesn’t slosh around so much. It is a white powder that was originally made from carob bean gum but now uses locust bean gum.
I was so happy we had finally been given something, although the doctors advice on how to use it was incorrect. I was told I would have to stop feeding from the breast, only express my milk and feed O the thickened milk. I was quite taken aback by this, but didn’t protest. I was sure there was another way around it and there was! The advice on the back of the packet is as follows:
As A Spoonfeed or Paste:
This method is appropriate for breastfed infants and may be preferred method for bottlefed infants. It is also suitable for first weaning foods that have too liquid consistency and for older children and adults.
This is what we did. It also said that it could be made with water so if I couldn’t pump enough I had another option. This was all fantastic and could have been the answer to all our problems. In theory. The one issue that I hadn’t taken into consideration? It was like trying to feed my son spoonful’s of wallpaper paste. No matter how liquid I made it! O point blank refused to accept it willingly and if I did manage to get any in his mouth he would retch so much he would throw up, which was the opposite of what were going for!
I tried many variations of how to give it to him, with water, with expressed milk, thick, thin, cold, warm. I even tried a bottle. Through all of my breastfeeding experience I have never had much success at pumping and so it took my three attempts to make enough for one small bottle which he refused too although I did manage to cup feed him this. After 2 days I gave up. This was not going to work for us.
To be honest it was a relief to stop. We only had a few days left till O’s appointment with the consultant so what was the point of making a bad situation worse?
Please come back to read the next part when we finally start to see an improvement.
Feel free to ask me any questions you have about infant reflux. I’m not a medical expert but I can give you the knowledge of our experiences. Also if you have any advice for us, we are still dealing with this issue now and would gladly accept helpful comments 🙂