A recent post on our Facebook page revealed that too many parents are feeling desperate and ignored because their baby has reflux but they struggle to get a diagnosis and support. It can be heartbreaking if your baby cries unconsolably. If you ask for help and feel dismissed, it is harder still.
I asked for help but was ignored
“One midwife told me I just had an ‘irritable baby’ and that I was ‘tired’. Another health visitor over the telephone told us to try her back on normal formula and plough on through.”
These are the words from one mum in a BBC report on reflux diagnosis in babies.
Another reported a paediatrician suggesting her baby was crying all the time because she was “bored”.
Becky Palmer, who graduated from Aberystwyth Law School, and was inspired by her own experiences with baby reflux to give up her job as a solicitor and start a reflux and colic support group for parents, Colic SOS, commented in the BBC report: “Some health visitors are very much on board with it and will push GPs to help, but then you hear stories of parents really having to fight to be heard.”
Mum’s battles to get a reflux diagnosis
We asked mums to share their own experiences and their replies are eye-opening.
Here are just a few of their stories:
“Silent reflux was something that I really think contributed to my PND. I barely had any sleep for months. My baby cried and screamed so much that it was exhausting.”
“I was told my babies reflux was a ‘laundry problem not a medical problem’. Every time I asked for help they asked me if I was a first time mum, which suggested they thought I was just fussing and somehow making it up. It was heart breaking seeing her in pain and so, so tiring”
“Being ignored and dismissed whenever we asked for help was such a cause of stress and anxiety. All we could do was keep on going back to the GP and insisting that my baby’s symptoms be reviewed to finally get a diagnosis and support”
The signs and symptoms of reflux in babies
How do you know if your baby might have reflux? Here are some of the signs to look out for. If you notice any and are worried, ask your GP about reflux and ask for advice and help:
- Your baby might fuss over feeds or avoid feeding
- They might bring up sick during or shortly after a feed
- They may choke, cough or hiccup during feeds
- You might notice their back arching and their head turning
- Your baby might stretch out flat – this reduces pain. Instead of snuggling up to you they may stretch out flat after a feed
- They might cry for long periods and be irritable during and after feeds
- Their cries might sound hoarse
- Your baby might be slow gaining weight
- They might not be sick after feeds but you still might notice some of the symptoms above – this could be silent reflux
Persevere to get a reflux diagnosis
One of the things our post about reflux highlighted was the importance of getting a diagnosis for reflux. If your baby has any of the symptoms and signs above and if, in your gut, you just feel that something is not right then seek medical advice. And, if you feel like you are not being listened to – ask again!
How to help your baby if they have reflux
Your GP or health visitor will be able to advise you as to the best things to try to soothe your baby and help with relflux. This might include the best positions for feeding. Or giving shorter and more frequent feeds. If you find that nothing you have been advised is working then do go back to your GP for further help.
If you find yourself struggling with depression on anxiety then visit our PND page for advice and places to go to get help.
Disclaimer: We have researched and included robust sources to provide information in this article. However, we are not health or medical professionals and you should always seek medical advice if you are worried about your baby’s health.