Unfortunately at about 2 weeks we noticed Hunter was really uncomfortable at feedings and anytime he was awake. He would even wake up suddenly from a deep sleep and he was visibly in pain. He would pull his little legs to his chest and turn red and scream. It was so hard to watch. We tried EVERYTHING to help him, I even eliminated dairy, chocolate, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, gassy foods etc from my diet for over a week and he was still having issues. Our doctor suggested we give him gas drops before each feeding. I was reluctant to do so because I don't like to "mask" the problems with medicine, I'd rather find the cause and help eliminate it. Unfortunately we didn't have any luck finding the cause, so the gas drops became a regular part of his diet. Thank God we agreed to do that because it has helped him tremendously! He rarely has gas pains any more and if he does they are short lived.
At around 4-5 weeks, Hunter started to have some trouble nursing. At first he would just seem uncomfortable, but that progressed as the days passed and he was in pain. Then the spit up started. At first it was a "normal" amount, that did not alarm me. And a few days later the spit up became more frequent, and finally he was spitting up on average 60 times per day. There was a good amount of spit up that came up each time too, it was not just little dribbles here and there. As the discomfort and spit up became more frequent, the nursing became more difficult. Hunter would nurse fine for the first few minutes and then like clock work around 7-8 minutes into nursing he would pull off the breast and start fussing. The fussing turned into screaming. He would frantically try to nurse again, pull off, and then start screaming. Getting a full feeding was so difficult. It would take about 45 minutes for me to get 15-20 minutes of actual feeding time done. Poor little guy. I knew something was not right and I suspected it was reflux.
We tried a few different soothing methods that our pediatrician suggested before automatically assuming it was reflux and getting him on medicine. First we tried to feed while I was laying down. This was to decrease the intensity of my flow and hopefully help Hunter not take in so much so quickly. We also tried to keep him upright for about 20 minutes after each feeding, while burping as frequently as possible. Trying to not let him get too hungry and also not over feeding him was suggested as well. We had been using the Gas drops which was another tip the pediatrician gave us, but all in all these things were not fixing the problem. That's when our pediatrician started Hunter on Zantac.
Zantac blocks acid production in the stomach. It was supposed to take 1.5 - 2 weeks to start working, which seemed like forever. The dosage was small, but we had to give to him twice a day. He HATES the taste of the medicine and tries to spit it out every time. He screams and spits every time! Why would they make such a gross tasting medicine for baby I mean come on there has to be a better way! We had the pharmacist add some grape flavoring to it, but it did not help he still hates it. So we have to give him very small drops each time and I try to drop them at the back of his throat so he doesn't have to taste it as much. Well, a few days later praise God we started seeing positive results! His spitting up started to lessen (though did not go away completely) and he started to be able to nurse without being uncomfortable. 2 weeks after we started the medicine, Hunter was like a new baby. We thought he might have colic before, but now he was such a happy little guy! What a blessing this was.
At about 9.5 weeks we started noticing some reflux signs popping up again. The doctor said that with his weight gain, we may have to increase his dosage as time passes if we start noticing he is going the wrong way. Well that was the case for Hunter. I first noticed that he would eat fine, but after when I was burping him in a seated position, he started straightening up and pushing back like he was uncomfortable. He would start fussing after mostly all his feedings. A couple days later the spit up started increasing with a good amount of force. The worst day was when he was inconsolable during one of his feedings, he just didn't even want to eat. So I called the doctor and we increased the dosage a tiny bit. It took about 36 hours and we started to see improvement again.
I am happy that this medicine is working so well for Hunter, but a little sad that we had to increase the dosage, as I thought by keeping that same low dose we would be essentially weaning him off of it! But I'd rather have a happy and healthy baby that is not in pain so at this point that means taking the medicine.
Ill post an update in a few weeks to let you all know if we had to increase again (hopefully not).
Thanks & keep the emails comin' with questions! xoxo-B