Acid Reflux. I never really understood much about this until my son was born with it. It was just something that I knew that was kind of like heart burn, except this acid like substance came up when you would burp. I know, it’s kind of gross.
When my son was born, he was born on a Tuesday. We left the hospital on that Thursday and we were at our pediatrician’s office on that Friday because he couldn’t keep his milk down. I remember calling the 24 hour nurse line at their office on Thursday night and telling them was what happening. I remember telling them that I knew babies spit up, but he’s spitting up more than what I would consider normal. We were at their office Friday morning and the pediatrician (whom I absolutely love) told us he was pretty sure he knew what was going on with him, but he needed to be positive. So he sent us home and told us to call him when he started refusing the bottle. That night, that started happening. We were back at the pediatrician’s office the next morning explaining what he was doing. He then started him on Zantac twice a day.
That seems pretty simple, right? For the most part, it was. But what made this even harder was when the Zantac stopped working. Then we had to start taking it three times a day. Then he grew a little bit, like all babies do, and the Zantac stopped working. We then had to swap over to Prilosec. Each time we changed dosage or medications we had to wait a week to see if it was working. Which was a nightmare. So I had to let my baby scream and cry when he would eat and burp until it had time to get into his system and work. Then, when he was around 3 months old, Prilosec didn’t work anymore. We actually only used it for a week and he was not any better. That’s when we swapped him over to Nexium. This was done by his GI doctor (who we saw for his formula sensitivity). This medicine has worked like a charm.
I wanted to tell that story to let parent’s out there know that I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. Besides the medicine changes, there were so many other things we had to do and still have to do with him, that work. Just small changes that are second nature to us now, but at the beginning, they were big changes. Things like after he ate, he had to sit up for 30 minutes at a vertical incline. Our pediatrician told us 15-30 minutes and sit at a 45 degree angle afterwards, so we could sit him in his car seat or his rock n’ play afterwards and that should suffice. Well, that didn’t work for our baby. He literally had to sit almost straight up for 30 minutes after, anything less made him spit up a ton.
Then there were sleeping arrangements. He had to not only sit up for 30 minutes, but then he had to sleep at about a 45 degree angle. All these things to new, first time parents were so overwhelming. So in the middle of the night for his feedings, when he was waking up every 3 hours to eat, he would wake up, eat, sit up for 30 minutes and then go to sleep. So a feedings that should take around 20-30 minutes took us that much time, plus an additional 30 minutes. So feedings for us took an hour. Then he was waking up 2 hours later to eat again. Talk about exhaustion!
So I wanted to share with the parents out there the things that we did that helped us so much with our baby’s acid reflux. I’m hoping that it may work and help some other babies out there, too.
- We held our babies almost completely straight up when he ate. We still do the same thing now, but he’s almost 6 months old so he can actually sit on our lap to eat, which makes it a little easier. We held him on our shoulder in the middle of the night. Or, when he got older, we would feed him and then sit him in a bouncy seat. Helps give you a little relief from constantly holding him all the time, because let’s be real, we all love holding our babies, but it’s exhausting!
- After he ate, we didn’t, and still don’t, burp him immediately. We let him sit and rest and burp on his own. Now, he does that so much easier than he did when he was a little bity guy. Back then, he would fall asleep before he would burp and if we didn’t get him to burp before that, he would be restless in his sleep. So back then, we would feed him and let him sit for a few minutes, but we would ALWAYS make sure he burped before we laid him down.
- Sleeping at an elevation was tricky. When he was a newborn, he slept in our room in his rock n’ play. That was easy. It was at the perfect elevation that he didn’t spit up once we laid him down. When he got a little bigger, we transitioned him into a bassinet. We stuck blankets under the mattress of the bassinet to elevate it. He slept in this bassinet until he outgrew it. Now, we finally have him in his crib. His crib was elevated on one end by putting pillows under the mattress. Now, my dad (love him for this) built a platform to raise the mattress up (we don’t have the kind of baby bed where you can move the mattress up and down for their age requirements) and when he made it, he made it at an angle so it automatically is elevated on one side. It’s the best thing ever!
- We changed our bottles until we found one that worked for him. He had a hard time latching to a bottle correctly (he left gaps on both sides of his mouth which made him suck in too much air). I know what you’re thinking, “did he have a lip tie”. But his ENT doctor said that it wasn’t bad enough to fix. He was eating and gaining weight so he wouldn’t correct it.
I hope some of those tips help.
One last thing I want to leave you guys with is this. Remember, it’s not about the amount that they spit up, it’s about whether or not they cry when it happens. As long as they’re gaining weight, let them spit up, if they do it without tears.
For me, that was a hard thing to get used to. And I know it was hard for his grandmother’s (they keep him during the while my husband and I work).
One more last thing… it does get better. I know you’ve probably heard that a million times for a million different things, because I remember feeling that way. But it really does get better. About 98% of babies grow out of it by the time they’re a year old. And once they hit about 5 months of age, it starts getting better from there on out. So you can do it!