Acid Reflux, Happy Spitters and Our Story

Up until she was 13 months, she always had a bib on. Usually wet, smelly and discolored. I'm glad this phase is over!

Warning... this is long. 

I am writing this post not to complain or come across as negative. I try to keep things light and happy on this blog! However, I feel compelled to write about my experience with acid reflux and a happy spitter. I'm writing this in case someone out there stumbles across this post and needs some reassurance. I endlessly searched for answers online and in books, but never really came across any information about my particular situation. My new mother instinct said there had to be someway to help my little baby. And even though the books and websites said non-stop spitting up doesn't bother babies and is more difficult for a parent to see, I felt like I had to try.

Again, please know that I am incredibly grateful for a healthy, happy baby. More than you know. She could have had much more serious issues and I pray for those mothers and families who have a much tougher reality. Nonetheless, this was my reality (no matter how small) and I thought I'd share... just in case someone out there is looking for others going through the same thing.

Also, I'm not going to lie. She's a great baby - slept through the night since six weeks old, eats well, smiles and laughs a ton. She is NOT a reflux baby who screams and screams. She's a "happy spitter" as they say. So I know .. again... it could be worse. But, spit is spit.

Spitting up consumed the past year of our lives. In fact, it only really reduced around 13 months. Even still today at 16 months we still have bouts of spit up. And although our pediatrician said it wasn't a major medical problem, it was a major laundry and social problem. She spit up for the first 10-11 months of her life about 40+ times per day. Finally, at around 11 months it went down to about 15-20 times per day, and like I said now at 16 months its basically gone. We have truly been consumed by bibs and burp rags! :)

Nina's reflux started from day one. Actually, even before she was born Mr. Evans and I joked we'd be doomed (he was a projectile vomiter and I was a spitter). Less than two weeks after she was born, I knew something more serious was up. I took her to our pediatrician and based on her symptoms she was prescribed Axid. I was reluctant to put her on a drug so early in life, but was reassured by the fact we could wean her quite easily when she was ready (or she'd wean herself based on her weight/dosage).

Eventually, after a few months I noticed the medicine wasn't really doing any good, so we stopped using it. Our pediatrician (who is great and who we trust) said that eventually she'd grow out of spitting by 6 months when she'd start to be upright more. After that didn't help, he said crawling or walking would help. Not so much. It is very rare that severe spitting up like this lasts as long as it did in Nina. She was happy and not a colicky baby, but would spit up large amounts of food/formula more than 40 times per day. Not kidding.

Over the course of the year, here's what we all tried. None of these things really helped.

1. Axid
2. Gripe water (great product, it helped a bit with other symptoms (gas, irritability) but not the amounts of spitting)
3. Propping the crib at an angle (put a pillow under the mattress to keep her on an incline when sleeping... however she NEVER spit up at night or in the car seat?!)
4. Gas drops
5. Chiropractor
6. Different formulas (We used Similac soy, spit up, sensitive, etc...but nothing seemed to help. FYI, she was formula fed from day 1... but breastfeeding moms also have reflux issues with babies!)
7. Using a Moby or Baby Bjorn (tried both, but I usually just ended up with spit up down the front of my shirt)
8. Made sure she was not overfed (they say overfeeding can contribute, but she had a healthy weight gain despite all of the spit up)
9. Extra burping
10. Adjusting the nipple sizes in her bottle
11. Different brands of bottles (we settled on Dr. Brown's)

When Nina crawled, our reality became puddles of spit up on the floor... wherever she went! When Nina switched to solid food, we got used to chunks and colored spit up stains! Puddles and spit up over me and over everything was quite the norm.

One more thing. I don't believe Nina has a milk or dairy allergy. I questioned that a lot. How could I not? I myself don't drink milk. However, she didn't have the tried and true medical symptoms of an allergy. Maybe an intolerance?  Maybe it was just that her little esophageal sphincter wasn't developed? Nonetheless, we switched to cow's milk around 11 months. However, today at 16 months we give her rice milk. I also watch the dairy (yogurt, cheese, etc). It seems to help a lot!

In the end, it was just time. As a mother, all I wanted to do was be able to fix it. Unfortunately, time was the answer. And for an impatient person like me, that was rarely the answer I was willing to accept. Thank God it wasn't anything more serious. If you're reading this and you have a baby with similar symptoms, just know that I know what you're going through. And, if you have questions leave a comment.

Was this a challenge? For sure. Many things as a parent are a challenge (sleep training, potty training, getting kids to sleep in their own bed, discipline, etc). However, the blessings FAR outweigh the bad. Like they say - too blessed to be stressed! I always remember I am not managing an inconvenience, but raising a child! :)


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