If you have followed William’s journey, you will know that soon after coming home from the hospital he began to suffer from colic and reflux. Jake never had these problems so everything I was seeing and experiencing was all completely new to me. I had heard of parents pacing the floor all night but until I had William I honestly never had a clue how bad things could be. I was shattered. I felt defeated by the lack of sleep and the endless crying and being told by doctors that ‘it’s just colic’ wasn’t enough for me. I’m not one to sit back and wait for things to work themselves out, especially when it comes to health. I need to be actively finding a solution, looking for tips, doing anything to help my children and just waiting for him to grow out of it all was never an option.
He was put on Ranitidine for the reflux but it took me a while to discover that this doesn’t actually stop the sickness. No one (I mean doctors!) explained this to me. This medication is simply a soother. It works like a heartburn tablet would for you, it takes away that awful burn but the sickness will continue. We were lucky that William wasn’t losing weight and because he was breastfed (and still is) he could just feed on demand, so as soon as he brought a feed up and he felt hungry again, he could just latch back on and try again with no hassle.
However, as he grew, the dosage wasn’t enough to combat the pain and then I had the not so fun battle of trying to get his medication increased. After phone calls, a visit to the GP and then finally to the hospital they agreed he could have it upped (that took a week!) But of course, very quickly I was going through the exact same process again and then again… I’d had enough. I hated giving him medicine three times a day, I was in despair having to hear him scream in pain and not being able to help and I was sick of the sick.
So, what did I do?…
I tried the usual Infacol, leg peddling, Colief, raising his bed and having him sleep on my chest. No results.
I then visited a Cranial Osteopath who worked wonders. She discovered tight areas on his head and by working on these by applying pressure, she alleviated a lot of his tummy issues. She also carried out baby massage to get his bowels working more regularly and after 6 sessions, William was most definitely more relaxed and his constipation issues disappeared.
She also recommended that I drank fennel tea, just one cup a day. Fennel is a natural remedy which aids in relaxing the gastrointestinal tract and releases gas. As I was breastfeeding the tea would go through my milk to William. However, I discovered that 1 cup a day wasn’t quite enough to help him so I tried having one cup in the morning and another in the evening and suddenly I saw results! It may not taste great at first but I found that I quickly got used to it and because it helped him I persevered. You can actually buy baby fennel tea if you really can’t get on with the tea yourself or if you use formula.
As I say, we saw some results but there were still reflux issues and sleeping was still difficult and he was still co-sleeping for the comfort.
I joined a colic and reflux Facebook group and one day somebody posted about the wonders of probiotics. She said how her baby had gone from being in awful pain, not sleeping and displaying all the other usual colicky symptoms to being calm and sleeping within days. I’m not usually one for jumping on a bandwagon and am usually very sceptical but by this point I had tried everything and I loved the fact that this advice was coming from another parent who had been through what everyone else was going through. I am all for firsthand tips from one parent to another.
These are what she recommended and what I went out and immediately ordered:
(click the image or text to purchase)
I started William on this as soon as it arrived. I expressed a small amount of breastmilk and mixed 1/2 teaspoon of the powder in, as per the instructions. You can do this several times a day and it can be added to formula or to other drinks for older children. I decided to see how we got on with the one dose a day just to test how he reacted, to see whether there was a change and to gauge whether or not he would require more.
Well… I was amazed! Within probably around 2 days I had a different baby. This was a baby that could never be put down, who would be up all night, who would struggle to pass wind and scream in pain. I now had a baby who I could place down in a Moses basket (asleep!) so I could have a shower (not every time but that’s to be expected with a baby anyway), I had a baby who could feed from me without becoming fussy, I had a baby who could sleep at night and I had a baby out of pain. It sounds like a miracle cure, I know, but for us, this worked.
Why did it work?…
After doing some more research, I discovered that the probiotics worked for us because William was given antibiotics at birth. I had Group B Strep in my pregnancy which meant I needed to have IV antibiotics during labour BUT because my labour was very fast the antibiotics only just finished as he was born. I was also displaying signs of another infection (hence his premature exit) so they decided to be cautious and gave him a further dose of IV antibiotics after birth. All these antibiotics do a great job at killing the bad bacteria but what we fail to think about is the fact that they also kill off all the good bacteria too! William began his life receiving a lot of medical attention and his little gut was immediately wiped of all the good stuff which I believe led to his already undeveloped system being put under extra strain. Once the probiotics balanced him out all his issues began to disappear and I can now happily tell you that he has been off Ranitidine and all of the colic medicines for months. If somebody had just explained the effects that these antibiotics may have had on him, I could have helped him sooner. Unfortunately, probiotics are still not widely talked about and I don’t think enough research has been carried out for doctors to be able to recommend their use.
Now, obviously, I am not a medical professional and my baby’s start in life may be very different to yours and I am not able to say this will work for everybody, it may not. Your baby may have other issues which have led to their colic and reflux, all I can do is tell you that this is what worked for us and it has also worked for some other parents in the group. All any parent can do is try. We all want our babies to be happy and healthy and out of pain.
I am so glad that we found this solution and if this information can help you too, that will be amazing.
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