As I have mentioned before my son Hudson was born six weeks early. Since his sucking reflex wasn’t developed he had a feeding tube when he was in the special care nursery.
A few weeks after he was born he came home from the hospital and was breastfed and bottle fed as he got quite tired from breastfeeding alone. After about a week at home we noticed he was crying a lot. Especially after feeds. I mentioned it to my health nurse, she asked if her was vomiting (he wasn’t) she said it was normal newborn behaviour and I didn’t think much of it.
That was until my darling newborn began to scream all day and all night. Going anywhere in the car was like a screaming marathon and I was at my wits end. I mentioned it to people and everyone said ‘babies cry you know’, ‘he is a newborn’. I think they assumed I was over exaggerating, just a new mum who was freaking out when my baby cried or I was unable to settle my child. The third statement was true. Neither myself or my husband could settle Hudson and this screaming went on for a few weeks as we had no idea what was wrong. Looking back now I have had a second baby, it was clear something was wrong. But as new, very sleep deprived parents and no normal signs of reflux (projectile vomiting etc). We just thought we had a difficult baby and I thought I wasn’t cut out for the whole motherhood gig. One of the most hurtful things that was said to me when I was describing that I was unable to settle Hudson to another mother and she said ‘ohhh really, well I’m sure I could settle him’. I felt helpless, I was loosing my mind and the constant screaming was awful. We tried a number of different settling techniques, placing the cot on an angle, colic remedy and nothing worked. He was gaining weight and still no projectile vomitting so my health nurse said there was no worry. She suggested he may have had days and nights confused?? If that was the case he never thought it was night time!
One day I was on the phone to my mum and she could hear Hudson screaming his lungs out. She said it definitely sounded like a pain cry and I should go to the doctor. That evening Hudson was still going at 11pm, we packed up and went straight to the Children’s Hospital. A doctor took one look at him crying, red in the face, wriggling around and said it was silent reflux (basically severe heartburn). He didn’t vomit but the acid was causing incredible pain. That week we were referred to a pediatrician and he was put on Losec and thickened formula. It took a few days to start working but the difference in Hudson was amazing. The crying stopped and for the first time since he was home we slept for longer than half an hour straight. The dosage was increased as he gained weight, there wasn’t any further reflux problems and we weaned him off Losec just before his first birthday.
Apparently reflux is common with prem babies because of the feeding tube, no one had mentioned this and I had never even heard of ‘silent reflux’. Let me tell you, it was the opposite of silent, they need to rethink the name.
From the start my instinct told me something was wrong. Yet, I doubted myself. Never doubt, if you think something is wrong, follow it up. Get a second opinion and never let anyone put you down for doing it. If I didn’t listen to everyone just making me feel I was a silly new mum I could have got Hudson help earlier and saved a lot of sleepless nights and heartache.
Hudson with his feeding tube. Getting cuddles from dad.
** As featured on www.mytinywardrobe.com.au **