Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I've had a feeling for a few weeks now that Emily might have what they call "silent" reflux.  She never really spit up a whole lot but starting a couple weeks back she would frequently gag and make faces and noises like she had a hairball.  She would also arch her back when we picked her up after she'd wake up from sleeping.  I mentioned the behaviors and asked about the possibility of reflux to Emily's pediatrician at her well visit last month.  The pediatrician's response was that all newborns have reflux to a certain degree because their digestive systems aren't yet matured.  That made sense to me, and since the pediatrician wasn't concerned I tried to let it go.  I hate drugs -- I rarely even take Tylenol myself, so I certainly wouldn't want to give my baby any medicine that isn't necessary.  But, as time went on and I kept seeing her gag, it made me sad to think she might have acid in her throat that I don't know about or that we don't fix.  The pediatrician's view was that as long as she's eating well and gaining weight there is likely no need to do anything.  I accepted that response, but kept a close watch on her behaviors.

On July 9, there were 2 instances where she spit up while laying on her back and the milk came straight up into the air about an inch above her head, like a little geyser.  It wasn't an abundance of spit-up, but I did think it odd that it came straight up like that.  I mentioned it to the pediatrician, who advised that I keep an eye on things to see whether it would happen again.  On July 11, she was screaming randomly throughout the day for no apparent reason, she woke up crying from several naps, and was nursing a LOT... to the point where she actually did spit up a lot bc she ate so much and didn't have room for it in her tiny tummy.  Through my online research I discovered that breast milk can act as an antacid to babies, which I thought might possibly explain that day's behavior -- though such behavior could also be the result of a growth spurt.  On July 14, I was holding her upright near my shoulder when she spit up while looking at me.  Instead of going down her neck and short, her spit-up shot straight out and hit me in the neck, which was several inches away.  Again, it didn't seem like an exorbitant amount.

Beginning last Monday, Emily's nursing time dropped pretty drastically.  Though she would spend between 2.5-3 hours total nursing on a typical day, her nursing time last week was down to ~ 2 hours per day, and on certain days as low as 1.5 hours.  This didn't make sense to me, because as she grows and her tummy gets bigger, it would reason that she'd need MORE food to feel full, not less.  Additionally, it appeared she was spitting up a lot more than usual.  I checked her temperature, and kept a close eye on her wet and dirty diapers.  Though she was having fewer diaper changes, the numbers were still in the normal range.  On Saturday night after I fed her, I was holding her upright in front of me, facing me, when she vomited a thick stream of milk that came out of her mouth and propelled OVER MY SHOULDER.  The milk spew that ejected from her mouth looked about 1/2 inch in diameter and traveled at least 10 inches from her mouth over my shoulder, where it soaked my entire back, my pants, and the bed I was sitting on.  It honestly looked like the entire amount of milk that I'd guessed she just drank.  This was not normal baby spit-up.  This was projectile vomit.

Sunday she was acting okay, spitting up a lot but nothing projectile, thank goodness, and not too much crying.  I decided to take her into the doctor on Monday though just to be safe, and I'm glad I did.  By the time we got to the pediatrician's office a little after noon, she was very uncomfortable.  During the 1 mile walk from our apartment to the office, I had to stop 5 times to take her out of her stroller to hold her and pat her back, because she kept gagging and actually choking on what I imagine was spit coming up into her throat each time I placed her in the stroller -- and she hadn't even just eaten.  She was crying a painful cry and I was convinced it was reflux.  I explained all of her symptoms to her pediatrician, and the doctor agreed, so we've started her on a low dosage of Zantac.

Administering a liquid medicine to a newborn is challenging!  I was really nervous the first time I gave it to her, but she actually did pretty well.  Slow and steady was the key!  By the end of the dose, I actually had her laughing and smiling.  Maybe she realized that weird liquid Mommy was squirting into her mouth was going to help her.  :)

I feel so badly that little Em has acid reflux, and has been experiencing it for weeks!!!  On the one hand I wish I had pressed the pediatrician a bit more earlier; perhaps if we'd started the medicine sooner it wouldn't have gotten so painful for her.  On the other hand, if she was happy and not in pain, perhaps the medicine wasn't needed earlier on.  Either way, I'm glad she's got what she needs now and hope it helps her.... she seems to be in better spirits so far!


  1. Poor baby. I'm so glad that you pressed the doctor and that the medicine is making her feel better. There's no worse feeling than knowing your sweet little one is in pain and there's nothing you can do to make it better. XO

  2. Hey! First of all, Emily is SOOOO stinkin' cute! I love her pictures! She's getting so big! I'm sorry she's having such bad reflux issues....I'm really glad that you got the doctor to listen to you and were able to get your baby girl what she needs. Good instincts!! Nothing as bad as seeing your baby in pain :( I know what you're going through with the reflux...Avery has severe reflux, too. She was diagnosed while still in the NICU, and it ended up being the issue that delayed her being able to come home. When she was released, they sent her home on a monitor for her pulse oxygen levels because when she has a reflux event, it usually causes her to de-sat because she forgets to breathe (which is scary, especially since she had such serious breathing/lung issues to begin with!). We also have to thicken all of her milk/formula with a thickener (powder form) to help the liquid stay down rather than come right back up. She's not getting the hang of nursing just yet, so it's quite a process. She's on Prevacid, I have no idea if it's helping or not....but at least if she is getting acid coming up along with everything else, she's more comfortable. I hope that the Zantac does the trick for Emily and she doesn't have to deal with that nasty reflux anymore! (And you will be able to spend a lot less time cleaning up messes!) Take care!

    1. Hi!! So good to hear from you, and I'm glad both your babies are home now!!! How are you enjoying your family of 4?? :) I'd love to see a photo one day of your twins!!!! (My gmail is periwinklebride.)

      So sorry to hear that Avery has bad reflux too -- that stinks!! I am glad the Prevacid and thickened milk are helping her. Poor thing!! It is so stressful seeing yur baby feel sick, you're right!


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