Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eat, Play, {Pray}, Love

Declan is working on his first full day on Prevacid.  His balking at the breast has lessened lately with the use of the shield, so I'm hoping the medicine will help his gagging and spit up, although it's not really supposed to lessen the spit up (shame... my washing machine could use a small vacation).  This morning I found a list of symptoms associated with infant acid reflux on  I was wide-eyed.  Declan has all but two of these symptoms.  Had I found this before, may I have been convinced that it was acid reflux, the very first diagnosis we received?

  • Spitting up – common among most babies, spitting up does not always warrant a reflux diagnosis or require medication.  Your baby’s doctor will consider spitting up along with other symptoms when making a reflux diagnosis and determining if meds are needed for pain management.
  • Gagging and choking - during feeds or after
  • Vomiting – large amounts of spit-up or projectile in nature
  • Frequent or wet hiccups – while many babies get hiccups, it’s especially common in refluxers to have frequent and long-lasting hiccups; “wet” hiccups can be an indication of silent reflux
  • Abdominal pain – indicated by arching back, either during or after feeds or both
  • Bad breath – can occur any time of day but is often most apparent after waking from sleep
  • Poor sleep – inability to sleep soundly, frequent waking, and/or crying in sleep
  • Over or under eating – while most refluxers will under eat to avoid pain associated with feedings, many will comfort eat to soothe themselves
  • Unexplainable, inconsolable crying and/or fussy temperament – especially during or after feeding, while burping or hiccupping, and/or while arching their backs
  • Feeding aversions or refusals – usually related to bottle or breast due to the associating pain with feeding, although is not solely limited to formula or breast feedings
  • Swallowing or gulping – after a feeding or burping
  • Chronic cough – after a feeding or burps
  • Chronic congestion – rattling in the nasal passage or chest that does not appear to be related to illness and that doesn’t seem to clear up over time
  • Hoarse voice – especially when not related to illness
  • Gurgling sounds – during or after feeding
  • Back arching – especially during and after feeding
  • Apnea – trouble catching a breath or stops breathing
  • Wheezing – especially when not accompanied by illness
  • Clawing at breast or bottle or pulling off the nipple
  • Sandifer’s Syndrome – twitching, grimacing, arching, stiffening, and seizure-like symptoms
  • Poor weight gain or Failure To Thrive (FTT)

I would say many of the symptoms have not yet been taken care of with the Prevacid, but one very important one has.  SLEEP!  I don't know if it was a coincidence or the medicine helping to keep the heartburn from waking him, but he took a long morning nap.  Unfortunately, the apartment below us is being gutted this week so the noise ended up waking him after about an hour and a half.  I am looking forward to days ahead as my sweet boy suffers less and less.  I've only had heartburn a handful of times, but it was NOT fun!  And that Sandifer's Syndrome - I didn't know it had a name - that was killer to me.  It really felt like he was having a seizure as I was rocking him to sleep one night.

Some things that are strange:  everyone tells you to keep an acid reflux baby upright as much as possible.  During feedings, for at least 20 minutes after feedings, elevate the head of the crib, changing table, etc. so that he isn't flat on his back too much.  I have noticed that this helps his spitting up issues ZERO.  He can be sitting completely still and calm after a feeding.  I'll talk to him or let him play with my hand or we'll watch TV - whatever to keep him calm and still for as long as possible after his feeding.  Most times, that regurgitation comes right up no matter what.  No doubt he would spill his guts if we bounced him and spun him around like we only dare to do right before a feeding, but still, it doesn't help as much as you'd think.  So, if you've got a reflux baby and you've experienced this, know that you're not alone!

Another strange thing is that he seems to spit up less when I feed him a lot.  Like when I have given him a bottle.  I have read about other moms of 4 month olds feeding their babies about 4-5 ounces.  My kid doesn't stop til 6 or 7 ounces, and even then it's just sometimes that's because the bottle's empty.  The overfeeding may make his heartburn worse (haven't concluded this yet) like what happens when I myself eat too much, but for some odd reason, my husband and I agree: he doesn't spit up on a very full belly.

I am optimistic and relieved!  This beautiful, cool, drizzly day plus cup of coffe + chai frappe have me feeling good.  And Declan's taking another lengthy nap.  So glad he is sleeping better!  Must mean he's feeling good, too.

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