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He still experiences pain particularly with rear wind and before a bowel movement

HI Glenda, I have a 5 weeks son who was diagnosed with Reflux 10 days ago. He has been taking Zantac since then. It is silent Reflux. He no longer reaches a level of pain where he arches his back with a sharp unrelenting scream, however he still experiences pain particularly with rear wind and before a bowel movement. Could he have reflux and colic?

He also has great trouble settling from early evening and then again in the middle of the night. Each time about 3 - 4 hours I know It is more than a "witching hour" or the first difficult 6 weeks of life. During the day he sleeps in a "pod" sling on me. I can`t get him to be in his pram for more than 10 minutes, I assume that he wants to be slightly upright or back next to me???? At night he sleeps next to me....I never planed on that. Do you have any suggestions on how to settle him better.

Answer: Hi, It sounds like you are doing all the right things, and it’s great to hear too, that you have been able to get your son diagnosed with reflux so early. It’s great too, to hear that the Zantac has helped. It does show you are on the right track. Don’t be too discouraged that things aren’t working perfectly just yet - it can take a lot of trial and error (and time) before you find the treatment that seems to work best. Even though the Zantac is helping, you may find the dose needs to be reviewed quite regularly (particularly as he puts on weight), or perhaps the medication needs to be reviewed. Babies are all different, and there is no one particular treatment that works for every baby, and keeping in touch with your doctor is important. Also, there are a lot of babies in our group who do suffer from both reflux and colic and so I do think that could be a possibility. Have you talked to your doctor or child health nurse about that? Don’t be afraid to go back to the doctor whenever you have concerns, it is important to keep in contact with them throughout this journey. There are some management tips that are listed on our website (at www.reflux.org.au) so they may give you a few ideas to try as well. Even though he is on medication, there are other strategies you can use which may help, such as keeping him upright for 30 minutes following meals, and keeping his body straight, not slumped; giving him tummy time before a feed rather than after, and avoiding the seated position immediately after a feed. You may already be aware, but settling issues are common with reflux – sometimes the settling issues do not disappear until the reflux is well controlled, no matter what you try. It may be appropriate to comfort him if you feel he is in pain, rather than continuing with the settling routine. I believe it is really important to trust your instincts here, and do what you feel is right for your baby (no matter what the books or family/friends have to say). A lot of reflux babies seem to want to be in a baby sling – it could be a combination of both things you mentioned – being upright and being held close to their mother. If you are happy to continue using the ‘pod’ and it is safe, then that may be a good option for you right now. Of course, if you do not want to do this, or it is causing problems for you, then you may want to explore other options. Some mothers nurse their baby until they are asleep and then settle them in their bed. Others find different ways that work for them. Please continue talking to your doctor so they know what is happening, and your child health nurse may also be able to offer some strategies that help overcome these issues. You don’t mention whether you are breast or bottle feeding, but have you considered whether there could be a possibility of food sensitivities? This seems to be quite common in reflux babies (and particularly foods such as cow’s milk protein and soy, although other foods can also be a factor) - and so you may want to look into that aspect at some stage. There is a great website at www.ozemail.com.au/~breakey that provides more information on that (follow the link to the information on babies). Please continue to trust your instincts, and keep looking for answers. Please don’t be afraid to go back to your doctor as well, whenever you have concerns. It is also important for you to get support through this, and also to look after yourself. You are important too, but on top of that, it is important for you to care for yourself so you are able to continue caring for your baby. Keep reminding yourself what a great job you are doing, and I hope you are able to find ways of helping him feel more comfortable soon. I hope that helps, Glenda RISA Inc
Answered: 01 Jun 2009