Sympathy for Reflux

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When I am pregnant, I get really bad heartburn. As most know, I am pregnant right now so I am “enjoying” the sensation once again. I seem to get heartburn worse with boys than I do girls (I don’t know for sure that I am having a boy, but it seems like it), so it has been a while since I had the extremely bad heartburn. I remember with Brayden it got so bad in my third trimester that I just couldn’t sleep at night. I am not really a person who likes to take medicine, so Mylanta is as far as I go. It just didn’t help.

The other night I had heartburn really bad. As I got in bed to go to sleep, it was painful for me. I tried laying on each side, but to no avail. It hurt. My husband offered to rub my back because that helps relax me to fall asleep. I can still lay on my tummy for short periods, so I lay on my tummy. Immediately my heartburn was relieved.

As I lay there trying to fall asleep, I had even more sympathy, and moving into empathy, for those little babies with reflux. It is hard to sleep if your esophagus is burning. I know that many parents who have babies with reflux get discouraged because their little one takes longer to be able to sleep long for naps, sleep through the night, and move to a 4 hour schedule. Kaitlyn certainly took longer than average to sleep through the night and to move to a 4 hour schedule (she had reflux).

Take heart and have patience. Your baby will get there when it becomes possible. Have sympathy and know your little one is in pain. Do research to find out what you can do to help ease that pain. Try different things; remedies are different for every baby. Your baby will get there and you aren’t a failure if it takes extra time. See also this post on reflux:

Babywise and Reflux:

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. G-Man's Mama
    November 24, 2008 / 6:50 PM

    I also had really bad reflux with pregnancy. I found that papaya enzymes really helped. You can get them at any health food store and you can take as many as you need. They also taste really good. Hope that helps, I know how uncomfortable the reflux can be.

  2. Elizabeth
    November 24, 2008 / 6:56 PM

    We just discovered that our 9 week old daughter has reflux this week, so your post was perfect timing. I needed some encouragement! We go to the doctor next week and hopefully he will be able to help. We have been unable to do CIO with her. We tried and tried and she would get so upset she would vomit in her crib and only occasionally actually be able fall asleep on her own. Now I just wait until I can tell she is really ready to fall asleep and we rock in the rocking chair for a couple minutes until she drifts off. Sometimes she will wake up mid-nap and I just go in and rock her for a couple more minutes and she’s back asleep. We do have her crib mattress at an incline now which seems to help some too.She is still struggling to STTN. I dream feed at 10 and she will sometimes only need one more feeding before 7 am, but often wants two. I’m trying not to get frustrated with the delayed milestones, but I am really anxious to get that full night of sleep sometime soon!

  3. Heather
    November 24, 2008 / 9:56 PM

    My twins, now 4 months, both have reflux. At about a month old their doctor suggested putting them on a formula with rice to help keep the milk down. This worked out OK, but they got constipated. He next suggested SIMPLY THICK. This thickening agent that you buy on the internet did the trick in one day! They are spitting up less and no more constipation!!

  4. Kristin
    November 24, 2008 / 11:30 PM

    Zantac never worked. (3x a day forcing it down his throat only to spit it all up)Omeprazole – is a miracle drug. 1x every morning wonderful tasting and works! I do not know why we didn’t start with this one.I can’t tell you how much i needed this article and the one linked to on reflux in babies. It was so refreshing for me to read! I’v struggled with my 2nd baby having reflux he is now 6.5 months old. Ive experienced it all, the blanket instead of the burp rag to now no burp rag at all, but still needing his medicine. this is what worked for me:STILL at 6 months maintaining a 3 hour feeding routine, sometimes 2.5 depending on his needs, woke early from a nap etc….he is a chronic 45min napper. and after pulling my hair out and trying almost everything i’ve decided to just let him be b/c sometimes he will sleep for up to 2 hours but i don’t count on it so i’m a much happier mom. and following the key patterns while still listening to my baby. when he was littler we could not even maintain a 3 hour cycle he was at 2.5 hour feeding cycle for a very long time. b/c he was just always hungry at that time even after a FULL feeding and me trying to stretch him.i’ve decided to just let go. do what i know to implement and not take the joy out of life with my baby. things are MUCH better than they would be if i tried to force the issue AND if i did nothing but let him lead the way.i only started solids once he was truly ready for it b/c i’ve heard that starting too soon can make the acid reflux worse. i knew he was ready when he stopped be satisfied after most feedings.the spit up i finally have under control by doing the following:1. nursing only on one side each feeding. 2. if i’m too full/just began one-side nursing/have recently dropped a feeding then: i take him off when i let down and put him back on once the milk has stopped letting down. (some babies acid reflux is worse b/c mom has an over active letdown)3. burp him thoroughly4. no dairy, nuts/nut butters or tomatoes for me – even just a little cheese takes him from not spitting up at all to everything surrounding him and me being drenched.6. and keep him doing light activities after a meal. Heartburn for when i was pregnant was eliminated with:1. no sugar, caffeine, acidic foods like soda and coffee, chocolate2. I took a multi-digestive enzyme tablet (the whole foods store brand was the best) with each meal3. Ate cultured foods (not yogurt though)4. Properly combined my food. (just one example: no starches and animal proteins together)5. tried to not over eat. (leave room for my food to digest)6. and always ate more vegetables than whatever startch/grain i was eating or animal proteinthe fact is i had zero heartburn after this, no bloating, no retaining of water and hardly no swelling, until the last week or so, do to properly digesting my food (most of the time, not always) (your digestiong slows down when you become pregnant at least initially, thus some of the nausea) my weight gain was right on course, i hardly looked pregnant until my 6th month, and lost the weight rather quickly due to me being able to properly assimilate my food and get the nutrients that i needed. i was so scared i would get the horrible heart burn i had with my first, but i didn’t. only 2 weeks ago did my husband and I let our son cry it out to drop his middle of the night feed. he was showing signs of still needing it believe it or not. i.e. you have to adapt “what is expected” but there ARE certain rules you should really try to stick to in my opinion. and that’s the sleep/feed/wake cycle for one. and THIS week with the dream feed i reduced his feeding by half 2 nights in a row and then have let him CIO, which only means he wakes around 1am or 3am and weakly cries for under and hour then goes back to sleep… andthen might wake up again to do the same, if we had tried it too early…it would have been a nightmareit had def been and up hill battle the whole way, MOSTLY but i’ve just FIANLLY decided to let it go…and do the best that i can

  5. Kristin
    November 24, 2008 / 11:36 PM

    oh yeah! i forgot to say that flour products specifically glutenous ones, white flour, wheat flour would do it too (create acid, and thus heartburn), i ate a gluten-free diet for the most part during my pregnancy and flow one to this day

  6. Kristin
    November 25, 2008 / 12:02 AM

    I apologize for posting AGAIN, but i do have to say that we didn’t officially do the CIO thing or attempt it until everything was worked out with his meds, b/c he was obviously in pain and we didn’t know everything going on b/c there were no clear patterns etc..just rocked him until he was drowsy, sometimes re pacified him esp at night in the early weeks when necessary, but now we just leave the passies in his crib for him to grab if he needs/wants them.i’m a firm believer of not just letting your baby CIO just b/c you think they should, i.e. don’t know what’s wrong. you have to figure it out, address the situation attend to your baby as needed and if you must THEN let them CIO. but it’s not all about letting them CIO. there is a balance in my opinion.

  7. usmcfamily04
    November 25, 2008 / 12:59 AM

    Great post! I, too, suffered from HORRIBLE heartburn during pregnancy…I was taking the daily acid reducer and eating tums like nobody’s business! On top of that, my son had/has reflux…so he is still in the swing…but we are getting ready to transition to the crib after the holiday season (get through one stressor at a time!).

  8. Shelia
    November 25, 2008 / 1:16 AM

    My reflux was somewhat “tolerable” while pregnant. But watching my baby girl experience it has been miserable. The Zantac doesn’t work well. She took it for three months to no availe. But the Prevacid is a gift from above! I immediately saw a change in her… though she’s still at times reluctant to eat and only weighs 17 lbs at nearly 14 months of age. The best advice I have is to get a referral to a Pediatric GI doctor if it continues very long. It turns out my daughter has a slight milk protein allergy that will just take a while for her body to “grow out of”. That was something that even shocked my pediatrician (who never even thought of the possibility). And… Get a good swing!

  9. Lorri
    November 25, 2008 / 9:24 AM

    Hey I can feel your pain, I had really bad reflux with Scooter too!!Try eating an apple whenever you feel the heartburn coming on. It doesn’t work for all but it did for me-and I mean worked as in it COMPLETELY got rid of any discomfort. I ate close to 6-7 apples a day because no matter what I ate, I seemed to get heartburn.For babies with reflux-our doctor told us we had a bad case baby. We had him on prevacid and would have to stay up with him for an hour after eating-and when he was first born and on a 2 hour schedule, believe me, no fun. Even with the prevacid he still complained-so we ended up giving up the prevacid since it wasn’t doing any good and tried to work through it with him.I can say the reflux improved at 4 months and now by 6 months he is doing great!There are lots of things to try with a baby who has reflux-you can try them all, but sometimes you just have to tough it up. I can give the advice that when someone asks when it will get better-I can honestly say 6 months is a magical transition!

  10. Christie
    November 25, 2008 / 4:19 PM

    I agree with Lorri, there is something about that 6 month transition that helps with the baby’s reflux so much! I think it is because they are sitting up on their own by then. Something that helped when I was nursing her, was for me to drink two cups of chamomile tea a day, it helped calm her stomach. It worked better than Zantac (which she was on for one week, and made her act funny, so I took her off of it!).

  11. Kristin
    November 25, 2008 / 4:23 PM

    But I also think that people should not be too discouraged if it does not clear up at 6 months because for others it doesn’t get better until 9 months or 12 months.

  12. Kara and Chris
    November 27, 2008 / 5:26 PM

    Our child was diagnosed with reflux at 2 months. He was immediatly put on zantac and enfamil nutramagin. We saw about 70% improvement. We elevated his bed with phone books and held him for 30min. after each feeding. Most of the terrible symptoms went away but he still had constant hiccups and refused to nap more than 20 min. at a time. We still haven’t managed the STTN, he is 14 wks this sunday, but I feel we are getting really close. Two weeks ago he seemed to go down hill fast! I was at wits end watching him suffer like this. That evening a friend of mine told me her child had reflux and lactose issuses. I asked her how she figured out the lactose part. She said it carried a few more symtoms than reflux such as, infant acne that doesn’t clear up (this should really start to disappeear after 2 months) constant bloated tummy, constant diarrhea like stools (they should start to get harder after 2 months if baby is not breast fed)and a stage of bluish poop for about a week. My child exibited all these signs. I rushed to get some soy formula figuring it couldn’t get any worse and after 2 bottles he was 100% better, no more zantac either! I wish my dr. would have caught this or atleast pointed me in this direction. This was a life saver for us.

  13. jessica babcock
    November 27, 2008 / 9:44 PM

    My son has reflux and it took us weeks to get the diognosis. in the mean time he was screaming thru every feeding no matter what we tried. my husbabd and I had to take turns feeding him and help eachother by watching close for eachothers frustration building. the honest truth is that there were times, esspecially in the middle of the night that both of us had to put him down and pace the room just to calm ourselves down. Your mind knows that something is very wrong and he’s not screaming to irritate you, but with sleep deprovation and the feeling that nothing or noone is helping its easy to loose your cool. I wanted to share this because i think its more common to feel this way that many want to admit. its important to recognise that you need help and find ways to cope that protect the baby as well as yourself. my son is now on zantac and everything has changed for the better!

  14. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:18 PM

    G-Man’s Mama, Thanks! I will definitely try that.

  15. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:19 PM

    Elizabeth, hang in there! It will come, but come later than for most.

  16. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:20 PM

    Heather, thanks for that tip! There are so many various solutions to help reflux babies so hearing all things that worked is helpful for moms trying to troubleshoot.

  17. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:22 PM

    Kristin, thanks for all of your thorough tips!

  18. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:23 PM

    Good luck with your transition usmfamily04!

  19. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:23 PM

    Good advice Shelia!

  20. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:26 PM

    Lorri, Thanks for your tips.

  21. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:26 PM

    Thanks to you too Christie!

  22. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:27 PM

    True Kristin. Kaitlyn wasn’t off meds until 12 months old. But a good friend of mine found her baby was fine at 4 months.

  23. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:31 PM

    Thanks for sharing that Kara. That will be helpful for other moms!

  24. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2008 / 6:32 PM

    Thanks for sharing Jessica! That must have been difficult, I am glad things have improved.

  25. Rachel Stella
    December 1, 2008 / 6:48 PM

    I wanted to mention that although I’m not a big fan of drugs, I think some situations like reflux call for them if they can’t be remedied by other ways like inclining the mattress etc. I try to always think of things from my baby’s perspective…if I was in pain, which was bad enough that I couldn’t even sleep or eat, I’d want something to help me out right?

  26. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 8:43 PM

    I totally agree Rachel. I avoid drugs for myself, but Kaitlyn was on Prevacid for 12 months.

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