Don't Lie Down to Reflux
Reflux, silent or otherwise is a bitch. As if watching your mini in pain and feeling helpless in your attempts to soothe isn’t bad enough you are subjected to two ‘gold standard’ torture techniques; sleep deprivation and incessant crying.
Recognising reflux, particularly silent reflux, is a great start. Keep your eyes peeled, probably the best way to keep them from closing anyway, for these signs:
· Forceful vomiting
· Vomiting several hours after feeding
· Persistent crying
· Persistent refusal to feed
· Weight loss or poor weight gain
· Choking, coughing or gaging
· Crying, irritability, arching back during or after feeds
· Congestion, breathing difficulties
Raise any concerns with your health visitor and/or GP. There are a range of medical treatments that may help. Food sensitivity, particularly dairy may also be at play. Watch this space for our tips on being a dairy free milk maid coming soon.
As for tackling reflux back on home turf, here are my tips.
Sleep: don’t lie your mini down to sleep, you need gravity on your side here. Neither of my minis managed to fall asleep on their back and placing them down once asleep resulted in instant crying and/or vomiting. The Cocoonababy Nest by Redcastle, was an investment that paid off with my first. But with my second, respite required a wrap, a dummy and motion. A stretchy wrap will provide your new-born with an upright position and you the use of both hands for a much-needed cuppa.
Feeding: set up a feeding station, Dexter style preparation will reduce the clean-up job after. Cover your chair or sofa with a washable blanket or throw, and have muslins to hand. Feed with mini in an upright position and maintain after the feed for at least 30 minutes. With my daughter, particularly in the early days, she needed to be upright for at least two hours which pretty much coincided with her next feed. You’ll be able to figure out your own minis threshold. Again the wrap can be used for this. My top tip would be to do the nappy change before a feed rather than straight after.
Vomit: best tackled by organising your small’s smalls. Like Christian Grey, you’re looking for clothes that are easily removed and machine washable. Avoid anything with a tight waistband, your mini doesn’t need any extra pressure round the middle. Your change bag will require enough wardrobe changes as nappy changes, including a spare top for yourself. Light colours best camouflage anything that doesn’t require a full wardrobe change, that goes for your own tops too. And if you can, invest in some nice printed muslins, a go to accessory for the foreseeable future.
Travel: a buggy with a lie flat seat, suitable from birth, is great option for getting out and about, allowing you to create a 30 degree angle and easily lower if/when your mini can tolerate lying flat. We had the Baby Jogger City Mini but there are lots of options out there. Get a couple of liners for your buggy so you can have one on the buggy and one in the wash. The buggy can also provide a useful angled nappy change surface when out and about. Mountain Buggy are the only buggy I am aware of that have a carrycot with a nifty incline setting to help with reflux.
Play: baby massage didn’t work for us, but I have heard stories of it working wonders. We couldn’t get past the first hurdle of lying flat on the floor, but it might be worth a bash for you. My second loved some tummy time but my first couldn’t tolerate it at all until we got her reflux under control. Experiment with what works for you and please let me know!
My final bit of advice involves some branding. Undiagnosed my boy was labelled ‘fussy’ and ‘clingy’. Calling my mini ‘fussy’ only served to channel my frustration with the situation towards him. Rebrand that baby as ‘cuddly’. Keep calm and carry on, most minis will grow out of their reflux by around 12 months and hopefully far earlier than they grow out of those cuddles.
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