Today Isabelle was diagnosed with reflux and was prescribed omeprazole. Lots of babies and even a higher percentage of omphalocele babies get reflux. Babies have reflux because the esophageal sphincter is not fully developed, so acid can get from the stomach into the esophagus. This usually gets better as baby gets older. Reflux issues typically peak at around 3-4 months. The main reason it took so long for Isabelle to be diagnosed is that she doesn’t spit up huge amounts very often. But last week the dietician had mentioned that Isabelle might have reflux because she was a bit fussy and seemed to be swallowing even though she wasn’t eating. We went into the doctor’s office today with a fussy baby and after seeing her the doctor is pretty confidant that the dietician was right. He started listing off some behaviours associated with reflux and Isabelle had all of them. He believes once we get the reflux under control Isabelle will feel better, eat better and start gaining weight. The medication she was prescribed takes about 2 weeks to really be effective.
This diagnosis bugs me a little because I feel like we may have been able to catch this sooner if we knew what we were looking for. Many of the behaviours and symptoms are also normal baby behaviors. I feel a bit like Isabelle’s low weight issue could have been avoided, and that my baby had been unnecessarily uncomfortable because no one asked the right questions. Hopefully we can now move forward. Doc says that many babies who have reflux worse than Isabelle bounce back weight wise once the meds are given, so fingers crossed Izzy will put on some weight now.
Anyway here are some symptoms to look for in your baby that might be signs of reflux. It might not be reflux, but after our experience I would say if your babe has a few of these symptoms, it doesn’t hurt to bring them up with the doc just to see what he thinks.
- Lip smacking/swallowing sounds when not drinking
- Dry cough/choking noise
- Excessive saliva/drooling not teething related
- Rejection of the bottle
- Rejection of the breast
- Fussy before meal time
- Fussy after meal time
- Slow weight gain
- Large regurgitation episodes (I would say if the spit up is larger than your palm, then classify it as large)
Also, here are things that you can try to help baby be a bit more comfortable if they have reflux
- Hold baby upright after feedings, feed with baby as upright as possible
- You can get special incline mattresses so that baby doesn’t have to lie completely flat
- In any type of chair, swing or car seat ensure that baby is as straight as possible and not scrunched up
- Baby tummy massage
- I think that it makes Isabelle feel better to suck on things. She has started to suck on her lips, fingers and pacifiers
Anyway now we move forward. Hopefully we will see some good weight gain now, and more importantly I hope this will make Izzy feel a bit better on a regular basis.