Coping with Baby’s Reflux

Drink a glass of wine and pray to reflux gods. The end. 

If only it were that easy… 😉

Miss p

The Emotional Side of Reflux

One of the questions I’ve received quite a bit lately on our journey with P’s reflux has to do with the emotional side of the situation. It’s usually a variation of the following:

“How are you coping with it?”

“Do you have any tips for the emotional side of reflux?”

SO many moms have told me that they are, or have experienced, something similar, and it breaks my heart for them because it’s hard. It’s emotional and stressful. It’s one of those things I had heard about, but I had no idea how daunting and scary it could be until we were IN IT. In the past, I would think “Oh reflux, that sounds terrible. I’m glad Liv doesn’t have that.” I didn’t know how horrifying it could be, especially pacing around the room in the middle of the night with a vomiting, screaming baby, and not knowing what to do to make her feel better… or even worse, seeing your baby choking, and unable to catch their breath.

To be totally honest, I would say that “coping” has been challenging with everything going on. I’m good at looking at the positive side of the situation and doing everything I need to do during the day, but by the end of many nights, I have to remind myself to take deep breaths. It’s definitely taken a toll on me, especially since it’s been ongoing for 10+ weeks now, but I have found some things that have helped.

Tips for Coping with Baby’s Reflux

Coping with Baby's Reflux

Remember it’s temporary. Everyone I know who had a baby with reflux, even with severe cases, said that it will one day be only a memory. I can’t wait for that day to be here, but at the same time, I don’t want to “wish away” P’s infant stage. I think I feel extra guilty because she’s our last, and I really want to savor as much as possible. But, you never expect to see your baby in pain. Which brings me to the next point,

It can be fixed. I am so thankful that she’s otherwise very healthy and this is something that can be managed and eventually remedied. Some parents are not as fortunate, and I try to maintain this perspective even in the muck of it. It doesn’t make it easier, but it is a reminder that even when it’s hard, there’s still a lot to be thankful for. 

Do your research, but don’t drive yourself crazy Googling. Initially, I Googled EVERYTHING. This is how I educate myself on possible causes, symptoms and treatment options. I feel like once I have a handle on actions I can take and questions to ask the doctor, I need to stop Googling. Otherwise, it becomes too much! Dr. Google can be helpful if it’s used in small amounts and just to the point of education. After that, it’s best to leave it to the real-life medical professionals and specialists. 😉

Be flexible. Of course, I never imagined having to give our baby prescription medication on a daily basis. (First it was Zantac, now Prilosec.) I didn’t think she’d have to have a special elemental formula, which I’m still going back and forth with insurance to help out. It’s $40 a can (for a 2 1/2 day supply) and OOF. We tried everything we could think of, including chiropractic treatment, an elimination diet, trying different formulas, angling the head of the bassinet, smaller feeds, frequent burping, and holding upright after feeds. When the doctor suggested medicine, I was like “let’s do it.” Anything we could try to get her feeling better, I was down for it. I’ve found that with reflux it’s a lot of experimentation until you find the right combination of treatment options for your baby.

Breastfeeding helped me a ton. For a long time, breastfeeding was one of the few things that helped me take a deep breath and stay in the present moment during the initial craziness. My mind would be frantic trying to think of solutions, I was wrought with anxiety, and I’d have to stop, snuggle with P, and stay still for a while. It was honestly a godsend, which is why I was pretty sad when I needed to give it up. When I bottle feed P, I treat it the same way and snuggle up with her and just enjoy. It helps a ton, but I do think the oxytocin flow of breastfeeding helped me significantly. (As we know, I’m a huge supporter of breastmilk and formula, as both of our babies have had both. Do what you can, want, and need to do!) 

Talk to someone. I am so grateful for the amazing therapists I’ve had at my side the last 11 weeks. I went to see someone in Maternal Mental Health, and also went back to my previous therapist whom I’d stopped seeing before I became pregnant. It can be cathartic to get everything out, and have an outsider provide you with action plans and perspective. When I feel sad or anxious, I can pinpoint it to the exact cause, which helps me to do what’s in my control to feel better. Whatever isn’t in my control, I have to accept that, and take comfort in the fact that it will pass.

It gives me hope that there’s an end point, even though we don’t know when that will be. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later for this little lady.

Miss P

Thank you again to all of you who have provided tips, support and prayers for little P along the way. I’m so thankful to all of you. <3


P’s birth story part 1 and part 2

Adjusting as a family of 4

First post about reflux

1 month update

2 month update

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  1. Amanda on January 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Hi there, what a touching post. I think you’re doing such a wonderful job, Mama. And I am praying that the day this whole thing is a distant memory comes quickly. Lots and lots of hugs <3


    • Fitnessista on January 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      thank you so much for the hugs <3

  2. Priya on January 12, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    well, i’m on Prilosec now too, but i’m a bit older! hah. in all seriousness though, that’s a lot to go through. hoping the reflux passes soon <3 think of the good days! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 12, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      haha i wouldn’t think twice about taking it myself 😉 she’s just so little, ya know? thank you for the good vibes. xoxo

  3. Robin R on January 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    My daughter – now 15 months – went through reflux. We too tried Zantac & then Prilosec. Our daughter ended up with a helmet since we failed utterly at tummy time. PT did help too. Just know that this will pass. It’s super horrible but you’ll get through it. Our Dr said the goal is to make her a happy spitter & the drugs really reduce the acidity & burn as it goes up. But the laundry!! For me & her. Good grief. But now we have a normal walking getting into everything baby. It gets better. Truly. Everything is better with more sleep.

    • Fitnessista on January 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      oh man. so much laundry, but i’ll do it all day as long as she’s happy and not in pain. so happy to hear it got better for you. i’m definitely ready for it <3 xoxo

  4. JenniferP on January 12, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Breaks my heart that something as basic and necessary as eating can cause a baby such pain. But I can tell from the pics that there are tons of happy moments in between! Has her reflux affected her growth curve at all?

    • Fitnessista on January 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      yes, thankfully she’s so happy when she’s not refluxing. i’m also glad that she was so big to start off with so that when she started to drop weight, the doctor wasn’t as concerned as they would have been if she started off smaller. she went from the 95% to 71%. we go back for a weight check tomorrow so fingers crossed she gained this week.

  5. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on January 12, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I hope Miss P feels better soon!! <3

  6. Erin on January 13, 2016 at 5:03 am

    My Liv (now 26 months) threw up no joke over 30 times a day and screamed in pain every feed. I can relate to everything you wrote in this blog thank you so much. She never vomited her solids started at 5 Months but continued to spit up her milk until about a year (but got better and better)…. Prevacid helped for sure!

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2016 at 9:43 am

      that is so tough. we’ll see if prevacid is the next step for us! we’re back to the peds today.

  7. Cara on January 13, 2016 at 5:55 am

    P (and Livi) are so incredibly lucky to have you as their mom! You have made every effort to remedy things, and sometimes it is simply out of our control. I pray that sweet P will feel better and start to grow out of it. My middle daughter had it but grew out of it by around 10 months. I remember the laundry and the extra outfits I would have to pack for her and I!!

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2016 at 9:42 am

      thank you so much- i really appreciate it. so much laundry! i’ll wash clothes all day though- i just want the pain to be totally gone for her

  8. B on January 13, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Reflux in babies is horrible. Our 2nd daughter had it badly, no weight gain, lots of spit up and even more SCREAMING ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT. It put a huge stress on everyone who came in the house bc there was always a crying baby! Lots of extra doctor trips, tons of medications several hospital stays and our daughter refused anything being put in her mouth until she was 18 months old and I mean ANYTHING except mom:) But happy to say it is a distant memory now. Our sweet girl is now happy, almost 2 and eats everything. But those days of ER trips and blue babies – they were the scariest days of my life! As we prepare to welcome our third – I PRAY we dont have to deal withe reflux again!

  9. Sabrina on January 13, 2016 at 7:44 am

    V was so difficult the first four months. I’m pretty sure in her case her nasal passages were too narrow, making it hard for her to breathe, and crying helped her breathe better. I was a mess during that time, and the only thing that helped was keeping busy. That’s why I was SO on the go. Anyway, while I can’t relate to your reflux issues I can relate to having a difficult baby. Hang tight – when things change life will be such a piece of cake! V is such a pleasure now and is so easy, esp. when comparing now to those first few months.

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2016 at 9:41 am

      oh man that sounds tough. that’s what i’m hopeful for! when all of this is over, i know p will be such a happy little thing 🙂

  10. Cassie on January 13, 2016 at 8:24 am

    That sounds so hard. As a first time mom, I found it astounding how overwhelming it was at first, and M is relatively healthy. And nap time is over! Hope P finds relief soon, but I know the love and snuggles you give her are going to be the lasting impression she has from this time.

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2016 at 9:40 am

      i hope so <3

  11. Ali on January 13, 2016 at 10:02 am

    All my prayers and love your way mama and P <3 <3 <3 This too will be a memory one day <3

  12. Dietitian Jess on January 13, 2016 at 10:31 am

    So so sorry to hear about P’s reflux issues- I can’t imagine 🙁 Wishing you both well-physically and mentally <3 Thanks for sharing and keeping us posted on your sweet little one- she's so cute and looks so happy!

  13. J on January 13, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I have 4 babes under age 5 my youngest was born in may and i never expected the acid reflux. I hav cried and wept and cried and felt manic and everything else u can feel all while being so in love and feeling blessed. This baby was up 8-10 times a night the crying the throwing up even his diaper situation as a newborn he was allergic to wipes and would poop 7-9 times an hour (squirts) just when i change him he would vomit or poop again. I was covered in it for mths 24/7. And his vomit ws jot like my other children it was a thick chewed marshmellow like stuff tht would come out and i ws scared of choking. He is 8 mths and better it finally got easier. But i am a mom that celebrates when my babe only wakes 3-4 times a night = success.. My baby wouldnt nap during day for longer then 10 min or sleep. This went on for at least 5-6 mths. I was ragged now at 8 mths he is better he now naps and sleeps n 3-4 hr blocks. I still dont give any dairy or eat it myself with nursing when i do i can plan to be up all night. So it gets easier or in my case it has hang in there and everything is temporary. Sending you all the best good vibes and healing ones.

  14. angie kilar on January 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    I may have missed a part of it, but has P been tested to see if she aspirates?? Has she had a swallow study done?

    My daughter has horrible reflux too since birth. They had us do a swallow study and come to find out some of her breastmilk/formula was going down her wind pipe.

  15. Lisa on January 13, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I’m really sorry about your baby girl and hope her reflux resolves!
    I’ve been a long time reader and I just wanted say that something you say often offends me. What you said in this post, about when Your daughter is having troubles at night and you remind yourself that she is otherwise healthy and that other families are not as fortunate as you, offended me. My second child was born with a rare condition and is expected to have severe disabilities. I understand that all parents want a healthy child but coming from my perspective, I sure don’t feel unfortunate. He’s an amazing child and I feel like I’m the lucky one to experience love at an indescribable level. All children should be appreciated and loved.

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      You’re right. I phrased that incorrectly and I’m terribly sorry. All children are amazing miracles.

  16. Courtney on January 14, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks for posting about the emotional toll of reflux. My little guy (8 months now) had silent reflux and it was HORRIBLE. He is our first and I’m scared to have another one because I don’t know if I could handle it again. He’s been on Neocate and Prevacid since 2.5 mos. The good news is it is so much better now. It got worse around 4 months and then by 6 months he was like a different baby. Hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel!!

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2016 at 9:07 am

      oh man. so sorry to hear you’ve been through it, too. i think if we would have dealt with this the first time around, i may have waited even longer to have another. it is rough, but at the same time, you know what to expect if it happens again. thank you for the light at the end of the tunnel! 6 months is our major milestone. once we make it to six months, i feel (and hope!) that things will become a lot better for her

  17. Shannon Tierney on February 9, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Gina, I am a Registered dietitian and have recently been doing a lot of research on gut health. One thing that you could discuss with your MD is starting her on a probitoic supplement. There is research that probitoic supplements can decrease reflux in infants. Just another route to consider!

    • Fitnessista on February 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      thank you! she’s been on one since the early days (klaire labs). we’ve been really happy with it but i didn’t find it to make a significant difference.

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