Or to put it like all the pediatricians did to us: “up to you: reflux or constipation?”.
I must start by saying that we are so lucky that our girls only have (so far) what seem to be normal health issues for babies this age. Our main problem has been silent reflux the treatment of which has led to a whole lot of other gastric related issues. When your baby doesn’t eat or doesn’t poo right, it can take over the day and make it really difficult to train your baby to do anything (drinking, sleeping or playing more).
We first noticed Ana was making weird noises of nose congestion when eating, she was also turning her head violently to the side and arching her back. He voice sounded a bit harsh as well and had frequent hiccups between meals. She wasn’t throwing up so we didn’t put all the symptoms together. The pediatrician mentioned it could be silent reflux and to keep an eye on it. We were already with thickened milk since we left the hospital so she proposed to administer Gaviscon Baby. She also noticed her sisters had a red throat as well and said that if they started to show discomfort like Ana, to give it to them too. Sure enough, they did.
First of all, Gaviscon Baby is probably the thing the girls have foind more disgusting in their whole short life. They HATE it! we pushed through all the spitting and crying because it was for a good cause.
And secondly, Gaviscon made them SUPER constipated.
The pediatrician then suggested to keep the gaviscon and change the milk to non AR formula which would help them poo.
Not only it did not make them poo, it also made the reflux horrendous on the three of them. After I asked for a different solution, she proposed we start Ana with Omeprazol and continue Gaviscon with Laura and Alicia. Still hard as rock poos (size of golf balls) and still reflux.
We spoke with Ana’s Cardio Ped during one of the follow-up visits and she was very clear that 80% of reflux issues can only be treated with thickened milk and not only with antacid meds (like Omeprazol). So we decided to drop the Gaviscon for the other two and put the three under AR formula again. Sure enough, reflux was under control pretty quickly but the effects of Gaviscon remained (probably as preemies they have a more sensitive digestive system).
Having your girls screaming because they can’t poo is nearly as horrendous as seeing them trying to drink and not being able to because their throat hurts too much. So we had enough and went to the Gastro Ped who saw they had little tears in their bums because of the hard stools (and their size) and prescribed a laxtative (Lactulose) that didn’t really work for them and gave them terrible gas (and the pains associated with them). After a month he proposed to move on to a more aggressive one (Forlax) which, after a few days started to work. They are still struggling to poo but they do it on their own (no leg lifting for hours or temperature taking trying to get them to push), and they still cry a bit but more out of frustration than of pain. It seems like Alicia is starting reflux too so we’ll be adding Omeprazol to her list of meds. But we’re getting there and we’ll soon be introducing solids which is meant to help as well.
Two very difficult months because of bad proposed solutions by a pediatrician (should have never proposed to drop the thickened milk to begin with). And for me, the answer to the question in the title is “I want both” so don’t let the doctors make you choose. Babies that eat and poo are happy babies.