Postnatal Depression in Parents of Babies with Reflux: Caused By Doctors

 How Doctors Are Causing Postnatal Depression in Mums of Babies with Reflux


It might seem harsh, but it is true.

I've been told countless stories of parents with postnatal depression (PND) whose baby has reflux. Here are a few story excerpts that have been shared with me:

"Even though I’m a midwife, I was unprepared for the impact of colic and sleep problems. There seems to be a lot of sympathy out there but not a lot of practical help"

"There’s such a big push on postnatal depression, and yet reflux, silent reflux and CMPA symptoms can leave a parent distraught, and it’s being ignored; parents are palmed off with ‘cheaper’ solutions that will never work."

"Disregarding the damage to the patients after being made to feel neurotic and like we just aren’t coping when really our babies are ill."

"Depression can be due to a baby constantly crying. They try to medicate the parent rather than explore the possibility of silent reflux or CMPA. Not one professional offered this advice... If I was not as strong in character, I would have been brushed off and given something for my depression rather than examining the baby"

"I feel that the health professionals wouldn’t listen to my concerns..."

"Having a newborn baby was an awful experience; I cried and hated it every day and just survived it. I love my daughter beyond words, but I never got the special bonding moments people talk about when holding, feeding or seeing their babies for the first time. She screamed all night from the first night she was born, and within days, I was an emotional mess, an exhausted zombie who just tried to survive. I'd see parents with babies asleep in their prams at restaurants, shops, or cafes. I would feel overwhelmingly angry as [Baby] never went in her pram or the car seat or her bed or anywhere, not in my arms without screaming until she was taken out of the situation. It was torture for her and I."

Now, if those stories don't start to break your heart, nothing will.

In March 2018, a study from New South Wales, Australia, stated 

"Having a maternal admission with a mental health disorder increases the risk of a diagnosis in the infant by more than four times is a significant finding that has not previously been identified. Maternal anxiety appears to be the most influential factor." [Read the Full Paper here.]

When I read this, I immediately thought that this was completely backwards. Surely, the reason that parents had PND was because their baby had reflux. 

I understand and agree that there is a definite link between a parent's mental health and their baby. The bond is so close and so deep that it is sort of telepathic. So yes, the emotional state of a parent can influence the feelings of a baby. However, I do not believe that this is "the most influential factor" in a baby having reflux. 

What came first is almost certainly the reflux. Because reflux is a causative factor in PND. 100%. I know that I would not have had PND if my baby didn't have silent reflux. I know that. 


How do I know that?

Well, because Sunflower never slept more than 8 hours in any 24 (I tracked everything, so this is a fact) for the first six months or so.

And sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Fact. Sleep deprivation alone can cause depression. Put serious and ongoing sleep deprivation into the mix with postnatal hormonal imbalances and the biggest life change ever, and it's a recipe for depression.

So, reflux can cause depression. 


How do our doctors cause postnatal depression?

Very simply. 

Because they completely ignore us. Parents. We are totally and wholly ignored by our doctors, our health visitors and our midwives when we ask for their help and advice about our baby.

Every parent of a baby who has had reflux or colic will know that the cry of these children is not a typical baby cry. It cuts right through to your heart. It is a cry of pain. It is a cry of anguish. It is a cry for help. 

As new parents, we know that our sole purpose in life, in the first few months of this journey, is to protect and provide for our baby. So we know when something is wrong.

We know that we don't know everything, so we seek professional advice. And when the answers that come from that source are nothing more than

  • "all babies cry"

  • "crying is normal"

  • "your baby will grow out of it; it's colic"

  • "This is normal behaviour for a baby with reflux"

  • "your baby is gaining weight, so there's nothing to worry about"

Each and every one of these responses (amongst others) has the singular effect of undermining a parent's instincts, crippling their confidence and sabotaging their sanity because, in each case, our "carers" demonstrate that they:

  1. Are not listening

  2. Do not care

  3. Think that "it is in our head" (which has been said out loud to a number of people I've worked with).

That our doctor secretly thinks we are neurotic?... Maybe I am a bit paranoid... perhaps I am a bit neurotic, perhaps I am a bit paranoid. Maybe it is all me...

Until evening bears down, and it all starts again. There is no way on Earth that this crying and our baby's pain is normal!

And we feel the loneliness. We know the loneliness. Because by the 8th week, we are still up all night every night, and the rest of our antenatal group are asleep.

They've managed to meet up three times this week for coffee, and while you went to the first one, you spent the entire time walking around outside bouncing your little one so they wouldn't scream the cafe down. And they are not responding to WhatsApp messages now until 6 a.m. at the earliest. The nights are long and lonely. And this all causes depression. 

Because those you ask for help imply that you're crazy.

When you are not. You are not crazy. This is not in your head; this is in your reality.

It saddens me that there isn't the infrastructure and education there. I'm so passionate about it that I've started training people who believe that parents deserve better support and that babies deserve to be pain-free.

If you've been left feeling crazy, then please, PLEASE know that you are not. And your observations are everything when it comes to resolving your baby's colic, reflux and silent reflux. Because when we understand the cause, we can choose the proper course of action to essentially "cure" the reflux.

And I don't like the word "cure" because reflux is not a disease, despite what the medics say. It is a symptom. Always.


How can I help?

In the 'Reflux Free Baby' Workshop, I walk you through all the symptoms you need to observe and record for your baby, what they mean, and how to use them as clues. The course is suitable for both bottle-feeding and breastfed babies who are suffering from baby reflux.

I will tell you what the clues mean individually and when they occur with other groups of symptoms. Using this, we are then able to say what is causing each baby's reflux and what specific action to take.

To get your baby free from their reflux as quickly as possible, sign up now. You will have your answer within an hour.

If you want to learn how to read your baby's symptoms, my book walks you through it all step by step. Grab your copy today.



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