If, like me, you have struggled to care for a baby with infant reflux, you may be interested to know that there is a new support group in Worthing.
Infant Reflux, or Gastro-oesophageal reflux, to give it its proper name, is a condition where milk and gastric fluids are regurgitated into the oesophagus. It is normal for all babies to experience a degree of reflux but in some cases (some sources suggest around 40% of infants) it causes pain, vomiting, feeding problems, and can contribute to other health problems. It often clears up around the time babies become more active, and start eating solids, but some children suffer for much longer than others. Reflux is generally associated with projectile vomiting but there is a condition known as Silent Reflux, where the sufferer experiences severe pain without vomiting.
I found breast feeding difficult. My baby fed continuously, never stopped crying and sometimes screamed with pain mid-feed. I was told she had tongue-tie, but when I took her to a tongue-tie clinic, they said this was wrong – I wasn’t feeding her correctly and I needed to find a breast feeding group where I could learn better techniques (apparently it would be a good a idea if I travelled 25 miles to attend a group). I’d had enough and gave up breast feeding immediately.
The only thing that improved with bottle feeding was my sanity; at least other people could feed her now. She was still taking tiny, frequent feeds, and screaming afterwards. I eventually went to my GP, who diagnosed reflux, a condition I had never associated with babies. She prescribed Gaviscon but it didn’t seem to help much. We switched to a dairy-free prescription formula. This helped, but wasn’t enough. The helpful GP went on holiday and I saw another doctor who told me that I should carry on with the formula and not worry since my baby was gaining weight, and he had “never heard of Silent Reflux”. I knew something wasn’t right but didn’t know who to turn to.
I felt completely alone. Although I had met other mums whose babies had reflux, their children had responded to treatment. The only online support group that I could find was based in Australia! I did eventually go back to the helpful GP, who referred me to a paediatrician. By the time we saw the paediatrician, my daughter had more or less grown out of reflux. With the right support, we would have got there much sooner and been a happier mother and baby.
The kind of support I’m talking about is now available in Worthing. With help from the charity, Living with Reflux, local mum Karen has set up a group to help the families of children with reflux.
After a short break, Karen is looking to re-start group meetings. If you would like to meet other reflux parents, she can be contacted through her Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/LWIRworthing/.
The opinions in this blog are my own. If you think your child is suffering from Gastro-oesophageal reflux, you should speak to a doctor.
For more information on the Living with Reflux, Worthing Support Group, visit Karen’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/Livingwithinfantrefluxworthing/. Living with Reflux’s website is www.livingwithreflux.org. The Australian support group that I found helpful is Reflux Infants Support Association www.reflux.org.au.