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Impact of reflux on families

Reflux does not only make your precious little baby scream in pain, but seems to infiltrate every aspect of your home and family life.

 If you have an older child, as do I, it can be very hard on them too, as the majority of the attention is given to this screaming little bundle. Hours are spent holding and rocking her and researching solutions and visiting doctors.  

Try to make specific quality time for your other children. It may not be in the same quantity as before, but a solid half hour a day of doing that child's favourite activity, can go a long way to making them feel treasured and secure, as well as preventing them from building resentment against the new baby.  

Sleep deprivation was used as a torture technique, and can be that to any mother suffering from it. Your nerves are on edge, your fuse seems a lot shorter than normal and your patience wears thin. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that you take some time for yourself, even if it is a 15 minute hot bath at the end of the day. Call on friends and family to help with the kids to give you a chance to get out, even if it is just to the shops to stock up on food! It is amazing how enjoyable a trip to the shops can be when you are alone and away from the endless screams and demands of a Reflux baby.  

Your relationship with your spouse or partner can also take strain. A new baby is always stressful on relationships, as everyone is adjusting to the new member of the family, and their new roles and responsibilities. But a Reflux baby can take things to a whole new level. The easiest person to take out your frustration, desperation and sleep deprivation on, is your spouse or partner. Try and be sensitive to the fact that they are as concerned and tired as you are. Find opportunities, no actually, make opportunities, to connect and spend time together. It may just be a picnic in the garden or a candle lit take-away dinner - but it is very important to make the effort.

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The information in this article was reviewed for medical accuracy by, Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))

Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.