Silent Reflux and Reflux in Babies - What Katy Said

Reflux and Silent Reflux in babies

I have experienced both silent reflux and reflux and neither are pleasant! Your poor little baby cries in pain and you have no idea why.

People tell you it is Colic and you believe them. You go on believing it is normal and that there isn’t anything wrong.

Well let me tell you now, Colic is a made-up term to basically say ‘there is nothing wrong with your baby. All babies cry. Get over it‘. In my opinion, babies do not cry for no reason and it is up to us as their parents to get to the bottom of it.

Of course, it may not be reflux, but the fact you are googling it right now tells me you have a suspicion that it may be. I hope this post will help you.

What is Reflux?

Reflux happens when a baby hasn’t fully formed it’s lower esophageal sphincter yet (the flap between the stomach and the esophagus). This causes milk to flow back up from the stomach, causing a burning in their throats and a hell of a mess when it all comes out of their mouth.

How is this different to silent reflux?

Silent reflux is exactly the same except the baby is not sick. It is much harder to diagnose because there is no ‘proof’ that they are bringing the milk back up again.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms for reflux are:

  • Projectile vomit straight after feeding
  • Sneezing
  • Hiccuping
  • Choking/ gasping type sound- best way to describe it is fighting for breath
  • Not wanting to be on their back
  • Not napping well.
  • Not gaining weight (although we found the opposite as Lily fed more as she was always hungry)

The symptoms for silent reflux are exactly the same minus the sick. We found that Grace never napped because she hated to be put down and the gasping and sneezing were real giveaways for us.

How can I ease reflux symptoms?

There are two ways of helping your baby before going down the medical route. First of all, a wedge and side support help elevate them to prevent the milk running down and burning their throats.

The side support helps them to remain on their side which also prevents the milk going up the wrong way.

Keeping them elevated during the day, through babywearing and bouncing chairs help them nap and stay happy too.

We managed Grace’s silent reflux through these techniques but with Lily we had to go to the doctors as the projectile vomit was too much.

Doctors will prescribe children’s Gaviscon which you administer before each feed. If you are breastfeeding, it is honestly the most irritating thing to try and do.

I know people who have successfully used a syringe to squirt it into their baby’s mouths but we never had to try because Lily was bottle fed.

When does reflux go away?

Most babies will grow out of it as their sphincter develops at around 18 months old. But mostly it improves by the time they learn to sit up as they are not spending so much time lying on their backs.

Weaning a reflux baby

We found weaning to be tricky. Doctors has assured us that solid food would bring weight to the stomach and stop the food coming up again.

However, we found weaning to be worse than milk and so gave up until she was 11 months old. You can read more about our reflux weaning journey here.

If you have any other questions about reflux or silent reflux, or simply need a listening ear, please do get in touch.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Baby Development- 8 months old
    September 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

    […] is doing so well with eating. Her reflux is very almost gone and she can eat most things without it causing a problem. She has developed her […]

  • Reply
    Weaning a reflux baby #01 - What Katy Said
    September 19, 2014 at 7:45 am

    […] time stressful and upsetting. Not sure if your baby has reflux? Take a look at my experience with silent reflux and reflux […]

  • Reply
    Weaning a reflux baby #02 - What Katy Said
    September 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

    […] Weaning your baby should be an exciting time. Introducing them to new flavours and textures and watching their little faces screw up in disgust is so much fun! This is how it is for most parents and you will hear stories of ‘oh my baby is eating this that and the other now’. However, those parents with a reflux baby will find this time stressful and upsetting. Not sure if your baby has reflux? Take a look at my experience with silent reflux and reflux here. […]

  • Reply
    Baby development- 6 month update - What Katy Said
    January 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    […] she was born there has been one thing after the other to worry about (read about our struggles with reflux and cow’s milk protein allergy here). I never had any worries with Little G so I think this […]

  • Reply
    Annabel Woolmer
    February 26, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    My eldest had silent reflux. My instinct said there was something wrong, but the doctors really made me doubt myself. I should have trusted my instinct. It turned out she had a milk protein allergy. When I had my second, I realised how bad my first had been and kicked myself for not being pushy enough. Thanks for sharing this. The more awareness the better.

    • Reply
      Katy
      February 26, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      I am so so sorry the doctors made you feel that way. They seem to think first time mothers are all neurotic and ignore us! Mum always knows best. xx

  • Reply
    Debi
    September 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    I could not hate reflux and other esophageal disorders more. The difference in my daughter’s life between being on an antacid (like zantac) and being on a proton pump inhibitor (like Prevacid) was really remarkable. She had silent reflux and then was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis. If your baby really does go on for years with a diagnosis of reflux, it is worth checking to see if they may suspect eosinophilic esophagitis. In either case, I sympathize with your struggle and your babies’ struggles! Hang in there!

    • Reply
      Katy
      September 18, 2015 at 8:43 am

      It is rubbish isn’t it? She is past it now at 22 months but those early months and relaly the first 12 months I suppose were just horrendous!! x

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