Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dx: GERD (reflux)

So, imagine that you have terrible reflux--particularly when you eat a certain food.  Now, imagine that your doctor is ordering you to eat more of that offensive food.  This is the exact scenario that I am facing with my newborn son.

Yesterday was his one month follow-up appointment with his pediatrician.  At the weigh-in we learned that Declan had lost even more weight.  He is now under 7 pounds.  He was born at over 8.  Declan's doctor ordered us to increase Declan's calorie intake by mixing up a concentrated formula (the food that causes the most flare-ups for the little guy) and supplementing it after every feeding.

We explained to the doctor that Declan spit ups much more after formula, and that after two days of almost nothing but breastmilk he hardly spit up at all.  My husband and I had just assumed that Declan was allergic or sensitive to the formula, but the doctor disagreed.  Based on several symptoms, the pediatrician diagnosed Declan with reflux.

The doctor gave us a prescription for the reflux, but we've also been asked to increase supplementation as noted above.  We're scheduled to return to the doctor in two weeks.

Well, after one full day of the doctor's plan--we're all miserable.  Poor Declan has been spitting up copiously after each supplementation.  In addition, he has been crying all day.  It's obvious that the reflux is causing him pain and it's to the point where he is even struggling to breastfeed.  It's just that uncomfortable for him--even when we trying reclining feeding.  Poor little man.

As for me, my nerves are shot.  Declan hasn't been the only one crying today as I am going mad at not being able to soothe his tears.  I just do not know if I can take another full day of this.

Well-meaning friends and relations have all weighed in with their suggestions.  I should just start giving him honey water.  Or goat's milk.  Or rice.  I've even been told to just give him whole milk.  Or just formula.  I've been told that he should be on cereal.  In short--everyone has their own bit of advice.  All anecdotal, none scientific, but all also very well-meaning.

For now, we're going to give Declan an ultrasound tomorrow (just one advantage of having a husband who works in medical imaging--the scan will be at his work and cost us nothing) to rule out pyloric stenosis, and will otherwise continue as directed by the doctor.  But if by late afternoon I'm spied picking up goat's milk from Whole Foods, don't judge.  It'll likely be in an attempt to save all our sanities.


  1. Sending so much love to you. You are such a loving and compassionate mother and so dedicated what is best for Declan! I have been really concerned that this must be frazzling your nerves to say the least.

    I know that I already contacted you earlier to offer help, but if you need help with errands or anything else, let me know!

  2. I am SO sorry you are going through this!!!
    But I have to tell you my story, and I hope you take what you can from it.
    When Owen was 4 months old, he had spent most of his life crying, with hives, swollen eyes, eczema that would get infected, scabbed over, etc. And the final kicker was consistently finding blood in his stool.
    Our doctors assistant told us that there is NO WAY it could be blood, and that I must have cracked nipples and Owen was ingesting blood. After they did further testing low and behold, he did have blood in his diapers from his intestines.
    We were sent to UCSF and they told me to cut out all dairy and soy. I did this, and my baby was STILL sick. And believe me it was brutal. But he was still suffering. By the time we got to UCSF the doctor quite simply said that I needed to keep the soy and dairy out, but to also cut out all nuts, and eggs. Or....... to give Owen a prescription formula. Being that Owen had never once had a bottle at 4 months this wasn't an option. So I did the impossible really. No soy. No dairy. No nuts. I chose to keep eggs as part of my diet to see if it would affect Owen, and in the end it did not.
    What I am getting at is, the formula is most likely causing more harm than good. But the diet you are eating is probably also part of the problem. With Marcus, I have given up all dairy, soy and nuts again, this time with no prompting. The problem is if I slip on something Marcus is spitting up constantly. And not just once. It is happening through out the day and doesn't stop until my diet gets back under wraps.
    I highly encourage you to look into a second opinion. Keep going until you find a doctor that will have answers. I hope you don't mind me saying, but I really think there has to be another way besides formula. Also when I went to UCSF the pediatric gastro doc told us that my changing of diet was the best option in her opinion.
    Either way Lily it is brutal to go through this!! Know that you aren't alone, and that Declan is going to get better. xoxox

  3. I should've mentioned that the initial order to supplement with formula did not come from the pediatrician. Rather, the lactation consultant suggested it. The doctor would prefer supplementation with breastmilk, but I've not been able to express enough--so formula it is when we don't have enough breastmilk in the fridge.

  4. So sorry to hear of your troubles, Lily. I would also strongly encourage looking into a second opinion. Having been raised by a doctor, I can tell you that, just like any other profession, all doctors are not created equal. And they all tend to have blind spots. Sometimes one doctor just cannot (or will not) see options that another has had great experience with. You can always stick with the first guy if the second one is no better, but it's possible a second one may have some experience that helps in your case. Hope things start to improve soon!

  5. Kristine has good points. I went through a similar issue with both kids (spitting up and blood in stool) and had to cut out all milk, soy and nuts too and it helped.



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