Reflux II: The Revenge

27 Apr

My second baby is now 3 weeks old and early this morning we did the sleep-deprived-new-parent dash to A&E. Following his pneumothorax and associated breathing problems at birth, some rapid and shallow breathing and grunting had me worried.

The baby, as is usual in these circumstances, seemed absolutely fine and dandy as he was examined by a health care assistant, then a nurse, a doctor and finally the paediatric registrar on duty.

His oxygen levels were good, he’s feeding, pooing, weeing, waking, all the things they ask for. No rash, no temperature, no turning blue. All good. The paediatrician quizzed me about his feeding behaviours and drops the bombshell I hadn’t been expecting.

It sounds like reflux.

Now, I know of this beast. My daughter suffered terribly with reflux for months. She was medicated and gavisconed. I spent weeks constantly smelling ever so slightly of vomit. The was vomit on my sofa, my carpet, in my shoes, on my cat. My washing machine and tumble drier were my greatest allies. And now we are here again.


Reflux, in an otherwise healthy, sturdy baby isn’t dangerous in any way, but it is bleak as bleak can be. Seeing your newborn in discomfort and pain is horrible. The 3 hour feeding schedule is gruelling. Refluxy babies benefit from a ‘little and often’ approach to milk. My (not so little) lad does not appreciate this at all. Hs used to demanding food and getting as much as he wants. The 90ml servings he’s now receiving are not hitting the spot. He’s miserable. I’m not far behind him. 😦

Although I suffered this fresh hell with my daughter, I’m not so anxious this time round. My girl was a scrawny little thing. My boy is 5kg at 3weeks old, and he should only have been born last Monday. He will cope, as will I. We both might get regurgitated milk in our ears and hair, but as with everything This Too Shall Pass. I’m never more than 50cm away from a packet of wet wipes.

I’m trying to look at the positives. His breathing is fine. He’s big and strong. I’ve done this before and I can do it again. We will survive.

The sleep deprivation is the biggest problem. At 3am everything seems so terrible, so hard to deal with. It’s easy to feel resentment, to feel helpless and hopeless, but with the early light of a new day I always realise I can do this. I have to.

I get up, get dressed, put laundry and eyeliner on and get on with my day. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. So I’m doing it.

I’m so glad I bought my husband a fancy coffee machine at Christmas.


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