J was diagnosed with silent reflux yesterday at the pediatrician’s. We got a prescription for a baby dose of antacid and he has been a happier, more comfortable baby ever since we got home and gave him his first dose.
I was thinking about the whole thing a bit later. Silent reflux isn’t like regular reflux. It doesn’t have the obvious excessive spitting up that is typical of regular reflux. Instead, babies swallow the spit up again, so it does double damage to their esophagus- both on the way up and the way back down. You can imagine how that would feel… ouch!
He didn’t have really obvious symptoms… just a gurgle to his grunts sometimes and would choke out of nowhere on seemingly nothing. But the biggest symptom was that he would fuss when he was laying down and wanted to nurse constantly. He had all but completely stopped sleeping at night because he just fussed and nursed the whole time… talk about exhausting! As soon as I would pick him up or nurse him, he was fine, and it seemed like he could nurse forever (I later learned that breastmilk is a natural antacid, so babies will nurse constantly to relieve the burning pain, and of course sitting upright is better at keeping the stomach acids down).
Then I thought about how many loving, well-meaning parents there are out there who buy into the whole “you’ll spoil him if you hold him too much” (or worse, the “he’s just crying to manipulate you”) mentality. And how if we had bought into that mentality toward his fussing and crying and endless nursing, we probably would have completely missed that he was fussing and crying because he was really hurting… anybody who has had bad heartburn (which is the same thing as reflux, just the adult name for it) knows that.
I guess I just felt like writing about this as a reminder to all of us with babies to check our attitudes toward our children’s cries. Fussing and crying is their only way of communicating their needs, and it breaks my heart to think about the pain that J would have had to endure if we’d assumed that he was fake crying to manipulate us. 😦