WOW! 260 people have responded to my survey about Reflux, Silent Reflux, Colic and food intolerances and allergies so far! THANK YOU!
If you haven't completed this questionnaire but would like to contribute to the conversation, then please do so right here!
What makes me truly sad is that my experience is 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 tell 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.
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 feel the need to get my book written, to have it out there so that we can really push the conversation forward, so that we can create a better support framework for newborn babies and their mums, earlier. Earlier intervention will result in happier babies, happier mums and happier families
Checklist for Settling an Unsettled Baby
Reflux is normal. What you need to ask yourself “is baby in pain because of reflux or something else”. 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’.
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)
Complete a food & symptom diary for a few days so that you can see and measure any changes that might happen. I cannot stress the importance of doing this first - if you're a tired mum, making reasonably judgements from a week ago are really difficult!
You can download a free food & symptom diary template here.
If baby is more than 2 weeks old, bring him / her to see a craniosacral osteopath. 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.
Establish the non-medical things you can do first to rule out other issues that might be going on:
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
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
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.
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. 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.
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.
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!
I would love to hear your comments on other things to help. There are loads that I have not listed right now!
Please share this blog with any mum you think might be struggling with a newborn baba.