Infant reflux and how it is presented by families

Nadia Bartel shared her personal story of her child’s infant reflux overnight. A friend sent it to me as she knows my son Ripley has reflux disease. If you don’t know who she is, her husband is a former football player.

This is the comment I wrote on Nadia’s blog:

I don’t follow your blog regularly but a friend sent me your link as my son has severe reflux disease. I just want to say, I understand how tough it is and what you have been through. I do want to point out though that goats milk is actually still dairy and most babies that are sensitive to dairy, will react to soy and goats milk as well as the proteins are similar. I also want to say that sleep training does not work for reflux babies as they are in pain. A baby in pain needs love and cuddles and for parents to just surrender to its needs. There is a lot of evidence out there that goes against sleep training and I would ask anyone considering it to just read both sides of the argument. Sleeping through the night at a young age isn’t actually biologically normal for a baby, and while it sounds good (believe me I have a 23 month old who is still medicated for reflux and 6 food allergies and wakes 3+ times a night), it isn’t fair to expect babies to sleep all night at a young age and especially if they have food intolerances or any pain or medical condition. Thank you for sharing and I hope that your boy continues to improve and thrive.

I think it was respectful, and I hope she understands where I am coming from. I felt it necessary to point out the mistakes as so many women are still consuming soy or some forms of dairy thinking it is OK, but if your baby has a dairy allergy or intolerance, you need strict avoidance.

But this makes me angry! I am so fed up with a world that advocates for Tizzy Hall’s Save our Sleep and sleep training in general. I support my friend Carly who blogs about this topic a lot and has grown a considerable audience who support her.

I really feel for Nadia, I do, and I am the last person to say “oh my situation is worse” but unfortunately her account does trivialise what it is like for many other families who have children with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Her baby improved immediately on losec (a lot don’t), the reflux disappeared around 7-8 months of age (true reflux disease does not disappear this early). While I feel for her having the sleepness nights and screaming, and all of the other terrible symptoms, 7-8 months is a much shorter time period than many others who have children on reflux medication for years, and years.

I feel terrible for saying this, I don’t want to discount anyone’s feelings, not at all. But like people who choose to follow a gluten free diet when it suits them, and the impact this has on coeliac’s who don’t get taken seriously when we eat out, talking about infant reflux in terms of your personal story is fine. But when you are in a position of influence, as a well known and person, with an audience who listens intently to what you say, you have to be so careful.

I just hope that if a mother has a child with the symptoms Nadia describes, they will do a google search and find Reflux Infants Support Association – www.reflux.org.au – and join a wonderful and supportive group of parents who have been there, know what it is like, and can help navigate through the difficult times.

Despite my feelings about her comments on sleep training, I do feel for Nadia and I hope that this is clear. Having a baby that isn’t “normal”, screams all the time, and then having to fight for recognition of this, and overcome the mentality of hysterial first-time mother, is HARD. It’s almost impossible. If you know someone who has a baby like this, please reach out to them. There is a higher than average incidence of postnatal depression or anxiety in mothers of babies with infant reflux. Cook them a meal, do their washing, dishes, sweep the floor, listen, send them texts or make a phone call. Just reach out.

 

 

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