About 2 weeks after she was born, Baby Carrot began to cry hysterically after eating and spit up a significant quantity of her formula back out. After first establishing that she wasn’t actually throwing up (which could indicate intestinal blockages and other serious conditions) but rather spitting up (which is normal for the most part – unless it causes baby pain, like it did Baby C), we took note of other things, like her constant grunting and twisting while sleeping, her tight sleeping posture (kiddo refused swaddles but slept so curled up that she might as well have been swaddled) and coughing during feeding, we called her pediatrician and Baby C was diagnosed with reflux.
We were prescribed a baby dose of Zantac, the most common of reflux medicines, and a reflux-friendly formula that contained less milk than most. We also became religious about adjusting feeding and sleeping routines to help make Baby C more comfortable. While the Zantac and our new practices helped reduce some of Baby C’s discomfort, we still consulted with a well known pediatric gastroenterologist to learn about reflux in babies and how to manage it. I will forever credit this doctor with saving my sanity over our nearly 9 month struggle with reflux, and for all the invaluable knowledge we gained thanks to her. While I claim no medical expertise and encourage anyone who thinks their kiddo may have reflux to talk to a doctor, I wanted to share some tips, practices and items that we found incredibly helpful during this time.
1) Go slow and elevate. One of the biggest adjustments we had to make to Baby Carrot’s routine was to keep her upright after feeding for at least 20 minutes, pace her feeding, and let her sleep slightly elevated so that acid wouldn’t splash back while she slept. Baby C was always a fast and hungry drinker who would down a bottle in just a few minutes. This meant that she was swallowing a lot of air, which added to her discomfort, and she would cough and choke as her stomach reacted back to the food. We began giving her small doses, about an ounce at a time, and sat with her at least a half hour, with her sleeping upright on my or Mr. Carrot’s chest, before putting her down to sleep. This did make night feedings especially long, but it definitely made a difference. For sleep, we used a Rock n’ Play exclusively for the first 3 months, and when we moved Baby C to her crib, we used a thin pillow between the crib mattress and the crib frame to just slightly elevate her head.