Not Just a Fussy Baby

If you read Quinn's most recent baby update post, you'll know that this last week has been particularly challenging, after she suddenly started to cry, a lot, during the day. Being the school Summer holidays, this whole episode was made even worse by the fact that I needed to care for, and entertain, her brother as well.
Quinn was waking at about 8.00am most mornings, feeding, and immediately crying for more - had the supply been there, she'd have happily fed continuously for the next 12 hours, but as this wasn't physically possible, she cried in between instead. I tried putting her in the baby carrier and various burping techniques, but nothing seemed to comfort her other than milk.
Eventually, a friend suggested that Quinn might be suffering from silent reflux - I was aware of reflux in babies, but had never even heard of silent reflux: and whilst being unhappy, Quinn was rarely sick.
So I did a quick bit of research, and it turned out that Quinn displayed every single one of the possible symptoms of silent reflux. For those who might be interested in that list, babies suffering with silent reflux often:
  • feed more than seems appropriate, often putting on extra weight as a result of the amount they're consuming.
  • are unsettled feeders, bobbing on and off the breast or bottle, moaning or fussing whilst feeding, and stopping intermittently during feeds to cry, they'll often be reluctant to latch whilst showing signs of hunger.
  • have particularly advanced head control and seem unusually alert for their young age.
  • are difficult to wind.
  • make lots of gulping, swallowing sounds, and often sound as though they're gagging.
  • scream every time they're laid down, even if they appear to be fast asleep in your arms.
  • have a gurgling tummy.
  • regularly adopt a frowning, serious expression.
  • are particularly prone to hiccups and sneezing outbursts.
Unlike babies suffering from reflux, babies with silent reflux bring up their acidic stomach contents to the back of their throat, and then swallow it again, as opposed to vomiting. It is caused by an underdeveloped valve at the opening to the stomach, which should prevent anything from travelling back up. Most babies grow out of silent reflux once the development of their stomach has time to catch up.
I read a lot online from Mums who'd found it really difficult to have their concerns taken seriously by a doctor, and were dismissed simply as having a demanding, or fussy, baby. I took Quinn along to our GP and thankfully, saw a wonderful doctor who listened to my self-diagnosis, was sympathetic to just how exhausting and emotionally draining looking after a baby with reflux can be (I was holding back tears describing Quinn's symptoms because I was entirely at the end of my tether with the constant crying), and immediately prescribed infant Gaviscon in the hope that it would ease things.
I am so pleased that it's made the world of difference, Quinn is a happy, contented baby again, which in turn, has pulled me out of a bit of an emotional black hole. She started taking the Gaviscon that evening, and by the following morning, she woke for a feed, and once satisfied, went back in to her hammock for a morning nap (you know, like a normal baby!). It was such a relief to be able to spend a couple of hours with Seb, get some washing up done, and wash my hair, without her shrieking in pain beside me.
The Gaviscon hasn't completely eradicated the reflux but has greatly improved things. She can still be a bit gurgly and grumbly, and you can see her obviously burping up something nasty now and again, which is clearly uncomfortable for her, but for the most part, she's a completely different baby. The only spell of uncontrollable crying that we get now is a 5pm-7pm window of misery - but it beats 12 hours throughout the day. The early evening thing that she's doing now makes me wonder if she's suffering from colic as well on top of the reflux, as colic tends to rear it's head at the end of the day. Despite that, I'm reluctant to get my poor baby diagnosed with a long list of possible ailments. We have to go back to the doctor to discuss her progress on the Gaviscon anyway, so I'll bring it up (no pun intended) then.
I'm so glad that someone made me aware of the possibility of silent reflux, and in a way, it's comforting to know that there's something physically wrong with Quinn, which we can treat and put right, rather than just feeling I have a fussy, unsettled, sad baby. She's an absolute joy again now and because her days are pleasant, I'm completely capable of managing that 2 hour spell in the evening with calm and confidence, because I haven't been beaten down by an unending onslaught of breastfeeding and screaming... so that helps.
Ideally I wouldn't want to medicate a four week old baby; but needs must and as a result of drug treatment she is happy, healthier and we're able to enjoy our days together again.


  1. I feel for you and can totally relate to this post. Our baby cried all of the time and hated being laid on her back, would always be swallowing back vomit in her crib etc. Unfortunately our doctor didn't take me seriously and it wasn't until a few months later when she was in hospital for something else and the doctors noticed her reflux and prescribed Gaviscon. What a lifesaver it is! Hope things get better for you x

  2. My son also has silent reflux - it took us about 6 six weeks from him been born to work out what was wrong and once we got the right medication like you, it was like having a different baby. I'm glad you managed to get an early diagnosis and hopefully the Gaviscon will be all you need. I now have a one week old baby as well and so far he doesn't seem to have any signs of reflux so I'm hoping we've avoided it this time.

  3. Anonymous24/8/15 11:33

    Both my sons had silent reflux, with my first it took a while to diagnose. The second was much easier as I knew what to look for. Hope that you can get the medicine right and it all settles down quickly.
    #maternitymonday #mummymondays

  4. So glad you've found something that has helped, you must be so relieved! Reading that list Parker does display many of these signs too, but doesn't scream constantly. I can see why it's so hard to confuse silent reflux with other things such as wind and colic which is what we're sure Parker has xx

  5. to be honest i nearly started crying reading this. It brings back so many memorys. We didnt get diagnosed untill 9 months and after a mixture of medication settled on Omneproazle (sp)

  6. I self diagnosed g with silent reflux. I couldn't breast feed in the end so changed his formula to comfort milk. Even now at 7 months he still eats much more than you would expect.
    I hope you get it sorted. Thanks for linking up with #maternitymondays