If you find yourself here because you are struggling to settle your crying baby, firstly let me give you a massive virtual hug. I get it. I have been there. I know how hard it is. I promise you are in the right place now.
How many babies struggle with reflux?
What makes me truly sad is that my experience and yours are not uncommon. So many mums have felt like they did not get the support they wanted or needed when they first asked for help. 67%, in fact.
The statistics in the UK currently show that 40% of babies suffer from reflux of some sort of another. Then WHY is the support not there.
Why, when mums speak to more than one health visitor, do 64% experience inconsistent advice?
If reflux is so widespread, why do we not have a standard approach to diagnosing and dealing with it?
And WHY are there so many missed or wrong diagnoses? 61% of babies on medication still having symptoms. Clearly the medication isn’t working, but the answer seems to be try another medication with complete understanding of the consequences of long term medications for baby can be.
Think of the ongoing suffering of those mums who desperately want help but are not getting it?
To me, the numbers are reinforcing that the health system has a lot to do to improve. There is a lot to do to support mums.
Something had to change
I remember how I felt during the 5 months without any diagnosis. Being told that my baby was simply "a crier" and she would have to learn how to sleep the hard way. That really made me feel like I couldn’t trust the people I thought I could trust.
And with 40% of babies experiencing reflux what can we do NOW that supports them and their parents?
I felt the need to get my book written, to have it out there so that we can really push the conversation forward. I made it my mission to create a better support framework for newborn babies and their parents. To provide EARLY intervention to result in happier babies, happier parents and happier families.
Checklist for Settling an Unsettled Baby
If you are struggling with an unsettled baby and can resonate with the information above, start with my Free Symptoms Tracker. Document just how many behaviours and symptoms are directly related to your baby's reflux and how much discomfort you can expect to resolve, by addressing the root cause of their reflux.
Some important things to consider if you are struggling to settle a crying baby...
1. Learn to interpret your baby's cries
Remember that when born, crying is your baby’s way of communicating, and she does have different cries depending on what is going on for her. Listen carefully and patiently. See The Baby Whisperer Forum post for the different types of cries, this is such a fabulous explanation of how baby is communicating and I was able to tell at about 3 weeks old what baby was ‘saying’.
2. Does your baby suffer from any of the common symptoms?
These are the most common symptoms that reflux babies experience based on survey of 260 babies
3. Complete a food & symptom diary for a few days
This will allow you to see and measure any changes that might happen. I cannot stress the importance of doing this first - if you're a tired parent, making reasonable judgements from a week ago are really difficult! You can download my Free Symptoms Tracker here.
4. Consider seeing a craniosacral osteopath
If baby is more than 2 weeks old. We forget that the birthing process is a massive physical ordeal for baby’s body and it too, goes through some massive physical strains as well as mum. A talented cranial osteopath will realign baby and help baby’s body adjust to its new life. This alone can result in massive change for baby’s latch, sleep and digestive system function. Repeat treatments may be required as baby’s body goes through such rapid growth and development.
5. Has baby got a good sleep routine?
If not, spend a few days getting baby enough sleep, regardless of where this has to be, in the buggy, in a carrier, on your shoulder. Concentrate on ruling out any issues that might be due to over tiredness alone.
6. Have your baby checked for a tongue-tie.
If baby has a tongue tie, he will not be able to remove milk from the breast properly and will swallow air, as well as have long feeds, very frequent feeds. Consult ILBC lactation consultant to have a proper assessment. Read why I believe Every Baby Should be Assessed for Latch and Tongue-Tie.
7. Consult an ILBC certified lactation consultant to have your baby’s latch checked.
If baby is not latching perfectly, then she will be swallowing air as well as milk, and she will not be removing milk as effectively as possible from the breast.
8. If baby is bottle fed, is her latch on the teat perfect?
If you see spilling or dribbling from her mouth whilst feeding, then she isn’t forming a full seal and air will be getting in too. I recommend trying a range of bottle teats to minimise air intake. Pay attention to feeding all the time, but especially for night time feeds to really reduce air intake.
9. If you are breastfeeding, look at your diet
Your baby might be sensitive to something in your breastmilk. And contrary to medical opinion that your food doesn’t get into your breastmilk, I believe that anything you consume can get into your breastmilk. The medics know that cows milk proteins and sugars can irritate babies through breast milk, so why not other foods? The logic doesn’t stack up. So, if you’re breastfeeding, remove the biggest allergens from your diet for a week or two and see if they make a difference.
My top recommendations are all dairy products, all soy products (and this latter one even includes most dark chocolate as there is a soy derived emulsifier in them), eggs, wheat and nuts. This may sound like a big ask but eliminate these for 2 weeks and see if there is a difference. Then you can reintroduce one at a time. Believe me, you could save yourself 6 months of sleep and everything else that goes with it. A massive effort now could result in an amazing outcome much sooner.
You can read my blog on Elimination Diets for Infant Reflux here.
10. Try tummy massage
Give baby a fabulous tummy massage after bath and before bedtime to boost her little digestive system.
If these don't give any relief at all, then its time to see your GP and bring all the information with you of what you've tried.
This gives you a really strong basis to start from, PLUS, if you've got your food and symptom diary with you, you KNOW that you won't forget to describe exactly how much anguish you're going through!
Please share this blog with any mum or dad you think might be struggling with a newborn baby.
If you have done all the above and are still at your wits end, I am here for you.
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 with baby reflux.
I tell you what the clues mean individually and when they occur with other groups of symptoms.
And this leads us to being able to say what is causing each baby's reflux with much more confidence.
Based on this, I tell you what specific action to take for them.
To get your baby free from their reflux as quickly as possible, sign-up now. You will have your answer within an hour.
How to Cure Baby Reflux
The starting point for ALL babies and toddlers, regardless of their age, is to understand what symtpoms they are expericing that are connected to their reflux (this includes colic, silent reflux, CMPA and other allergies and intolerances as they all have cross-over symptoms).
Download your free Baby Reflux Sypmtoms Tracker right now and get started by understanding which of your baby's symptoms are related to their reflux.
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