The doctor explained it yesterday, but I didn't completely follow what he was saying, probably because I'm exhausted from dealing with what the doctor was describing.
When we went to the pediatric G.I. doc, he said that our son wasn't sick enough to benefit from his expertise because he hadn't been plagued by multiple ear and sinus infections, or pneumonia. I think we just took him in too early. I'm not sure what the specialist could do anyway.
What I was really looking for, when I visited the specialist at the biggest hospital in our not so big city, was a plan. I didn't need a miracle cure. I didn't want surgery. And I'm incredibly thankful my son's major problem is reflux, instead of something like Hershprung's Disease or worse. But, I still needed help, something that doctor didn't give me.
So, over the month since I visited that specialist who offered me nothing, I've developed a plan of my own. It has come in fits and starts, and has been greatly aided along the way by precious friends who have shared my journey, even in the middle of the night. So, if you are a reflux mom, taking care of a precious baby who has health challenges that aren't severe enough to benefit from the expertise of a G.I. specialist, maybe what I've learned can help:
- Carry your baby in a carrier.
My personal favorite is a Moby Wrap, but any kind of carrier will do, as long as it keeps your baby upright. Gravity helps make the reflux easier.
- Consider caring for your baby your full-time job.
An old poem, with multiple lines, applies well here, though I only know one phrase and it says, "Babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow, so settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep." It is very true. You won't be sorry if you spend most of your time holding this precious gift, and your house can be cleaned later. I will be the first to admit, however, that surviving between now and later, when you can clean your house, is a bit of a trick. I'm not doing so hot right now, but I keep telling myself it will get better. Regardless, my son is by far more important than anything else.
- Keep your baby upright for an hour after nursing or giving a bottle.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help.
- Get support.
Ultimately, what parents of reflux babies (or "gerdlings" as some call them) need is hope; hope that their babies won't cry forever, hope that the pain will get better, hope that they will make it through the challenges, hope that there will be a life beyond the chaos and sleep deprivation of right now. I'm beginning to find glimmers of hope. By God's grace, you will to.