Silent reflux = screaming baby

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 he 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.

Rachelle xx


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  1. This almost made me cry! My boy wasn’t prem but almost every other thing you wrote here was exactly what we went throgh. Especially the part about no one believing how bad it is because you’re a first time parent. I also think some people think I exaggerate how bad he was because no one hears about silent reflux. Thanks for sharing’


    • No thank you! Reflux babies are extremely hard work. I just wanted other mums to know they aren’t alone with their feelings and hopefully people may also think twice before making silly comments to new mums. Feel free to share and thank you so much for your feedback xx


  2. so good to see a story like this and it actually being put out there i went through the same thing but mine was with my second so i knew something wasnt right was constantly going to doctors and baby clinics being told nothing was wrong wasnt till my boy was hopitilsed for other reasons that it was picked up even though it was awful seeing my baby in hospital and sick i thank my lucky stars he was addmitted and it was finally picked u and treated

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We went through (and still are) going through a similar thing. We tried to tell the doctors that we understood newborns cry and scream, but not to the extent that it was happening. She was diagnosed after changing doctors surgery with a milk allergy and reflux. We’re still having to persevere with it now as she could be fine on a certain prescription milk for 10 weeks, for it to them flare up and us having to change her milk again. Very tiring. I told the doctors I want a skin prick test as it will solve a lot of problems (we’ll know what her allergy is for starters). I explained how stressed I am with it all and he said ‘oh, you don’t look very stressed’


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