I mentioned for-evah ago that Ms. Lainey has reflux. She was initially pluggin’ along like a happy little baby until the end of March when #commencereguritate officially began. She was 9 weeks old and it was awful. Miserable. Many days, we would ALL go through three-four shirts. Burp rags? Nah. We moved up to dish towels and bath towels at times. We began weighing her weekly on our UPS scale and quickly discovered she was falling on the growth chart, which gave Lainey this face:
We began doing all the things we should….keeping her upright after feedings, being sure to burp her every 1/2oz, not over-feeding, etc. She had an ultrasound done of her abdomen to rule out pyloric stenosis-thankfully negative. The possibility of MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance) was discussed…..heavily. The question was if we were dealing with reflux vs. MSPI. We always felt it was reflux but question was if it was acid-related reflux or true anatomic type reflux, where the little valve just hadn’t finished tightening up yet. This is the most common type and usually improves by 4-6 months of age. To treat this type the first thing to try is to thicken their milk. The idea is that when thicker, it will hopefully not reflux up as easily. We tried oatmeal in her bottles. (Word to all you wise mama’s out there: always use oatmeal cereral for your babe’s. Not rice. Oatmeal is a whole grain and is healthier for them. Think of it as us eating whole grain vs white bread!). All this did was make all of our shirts crusty and make her constipated. Great fun.
The next thing recommended was to try an antacid in case it was, well….the acid-type of reflux. We started her on Zantac twice per day and she has been on it since. I’d like to say it doesn’t do much but if we miss a dose we do believe that she is more spitty. We do feel it helps.
On to the hot debate of MSPI. This is a hot topic it seems as is all food allergies in kids. Really, the best way to determine if an infant has MSPI is to remove the offending ingredients from their diet. This can be very tough on an exclusively breast-fed baby, especially in our case. Lainey was still exclusively on breast milk. While we have wonderful milk buddies, we cannot know for sure what they eat each day plus as no one person is able to meet all of Lainey’s milk needs. She has many milk buddies. I will never say it would be impossible but it would be very unlikely for us to find enough donors that were not consuming any soy, dairy, casein, whey, etc. Because of this, it was recommended that we try her on a formula for infants with MSPI. We drug our feet like no other until a Sunday night after a miserable weekend. In fact, on the Saturday night before she actually woke up during the night to feed she was so hungry, something she has not done since she was five weeks old. After a long day of all three of us being covered in milk and Lainey seeming like she was starving we gave in. I went to the clinic and grabbed a sample of Alimentum for her to eat and cried the whole way home. It smelled like an ethanol plant while we were mixing it up! It stunk, it looked gross and we really had to work with her to eat it.
We prayed that night and decided that we were going to try to keep moving forward with what we believed was best for her…breast milk. The next four weeks were still rough. Knowing what the recommended weekly weight gain was for her age I was obsessing over the scale. I found myself having to step back and look at the bigger picture just like I tell parents in the clinic to do. Was she thriving? Was she happy? Was she developing on track? Check, check and check. And, she wasn’t falling off the growth chart any further either which helped reassure us as well.
It has been 14 weeks since this all started and while I am not 100% positive, I am pretty sure we are actually back to where she was at eight weeks on the growth chart! It was just like the books tell us…as soon as she hit four months, things started to improve ever so slightly. I think back to the times we almost switched to different formulas and am so glad we kept pushing forward with the breast milk. We are so lucky it worked for us as I know so many littles have no choice but to switch to formula! We are beyond blessed by our awesome milk buddies. I will certainly share more about our breast milk journey someday soon.
Lainey is still on Zantac twice per day and we do still think it makes a difference. Her reflux is still highly positional, especially when she is put in a car seat or her stroller so I know there is still improvement to come (I hope!). I am very thankful for now, though to be able to feed her and love on her over my noon hour without feeling like I need to be wearing a poncho before going back to the clinic!
And, for an even happier ending…