Every now and then a well meaning friend links me to an article that has been written on reflux. Usually the article is about how not many babies actually have reflux, and that we are over medicating our children. I am pretty sure the author of such articles never had a reflux baby of their own. Surely, that has to be it? Reflux mums will know.
Reflux mums will know that cry. That constant blood curdling scream that starts right down in the belly and sends a cold ball of dread into your soul. The scream that pierces your skin, shatters your bones and crushes your resolve.
Reflux mums will know the postures too. The back arched so far that your baby becomes impossible to hold. The stiffness of the arms and legs and neck so that your baby is more like a plank of distressed wood than a soft and loving infant. The knees drawn up to the chest and the squirm squirm squirm that never ends.
Reflux mums will know the loneliness. Being up hours beyond anyone else, clutching your baby to your body and waiting for morning. The cancelled baby groups and coffee mornings that are just too much work with a screaming ball of vomit for a baby. The rushed and fraught school runs that you just have to get through.
You have to get through.
Reflux mums know the difference between a baby with colic and a baby with reflux. Yes, they really do. Reflux mums know the difference between a reflux baby on meds and a reflux baby left in pain. And reflux mums know how hard it is to be heard.
How can I be his voice when nobody will listen? How can I be his advocate when nobody believes me? How can I be a good mum when I’m unable to take his pain away?
The feeding aversions
Because it is scary. There is always that niggle at the back of your mind that tells you it might be something more. What you’re going through isn’t normal.
So yes, we medicate our babies. We don’t choose this, it chooses us. We don’t want to carry medication with us wherever we go, but we know the alternative is much much worse. The alternative crushes our spirit just that little bit more. To see the baby you love- the baby you would move heaven and earn to protect!- in pain and crying to you to help…
So we medicate. But we do not do it lightly. Many of us have battled own our inner demons before we make the GP appointment. Many of us have tried a different milk, a different sleeping positron or a different method of winding. Many of us have done all that we can before the prescription is even considered.
Reflux mums will know. It’s hard. Really hard. But reflux is real. It does exist and we do need you to understand. I
will be my baby’s voice- will you listen?