This is the story of my child Mark whom we have affectionatley called Sparky as a result of his wakefulness!
My first child was a dream sleeper. Sleeping though from 6 weeks. I thought I had this whole baby sleeping thing sussed and didn’t understand, and wasn’t able to acknowledge, other moms desperation. You just put them down at the right time and they go to sleep! So our second child was born 16 months later and I went into a two child family with sleep confidence. Well, my confidence was soon shattered, my body was shattered, my brain was shattered and my relationship was taking strain. Mark would just not sleep! I became desperate, perhaps even a little crazy! In fact the sleep deprivation became so bad that I started to hallucinate. I will never forget coming through to the bathroom explaining to my husband that Mark had turned into an alien! The feeling of guilt, the confusion, was all a result of sleep deprivation. My cravings and hence diet yoyo’ed between excessive amounts of milo milk drink and fruit and veg, again, all as a result of me body desperately trying to get control with no rest. I would sometimes wonder how i had managed to drive my car, arriving at a destination with no recollection of how i had driven there. If the boys had fallen asleep in the car, I would park in the garage and sleep too. anything to close my eyes and sleep.
Mark had reflux. He would sleep for 45 minutes at a time and would only be comforted if you picked him up. I rocked him to sleep for hours. eventually I resorted to putting him in his cot in his bouncy chair, as the normal reflux wedges were just not steep enough. At least this way I though he would get used to the cot but still be upright and safe. Mark had silent reflux. The burning in his tummy and throat would make his face contort with pain and he would arch his back a cry. Having tried most homeopathic remedies, the only thing I found that worked, was as a few milllimetres of Gaviscon just before a feed (breast feed and later bottle), given in a syringe and keeping him upright for 10 minutes after a feed (hard when it 2am and all you want to do is sleep!) This seemed to give him some relief and the difference if i didn’t give him the Gaviscon was very remarkable.
If I had to give a new mom with a reflux baby advice, it would be the following:
*Its hard, very hard. Acknowledge it, but also know that it will pass Every day their little digestive systems get that little bit more mature.
*Sleep whenever you get the chance. Its so easy to say but hard to do as there is always something that needs to be done. It can wait. Your sanity is more important and your baby needs you sane!
*Be in the moment with your baby. Dont wish yourself away or get upset about him not sleeping. Just BE.
* Try letting you baby sleep in a bouncy chair for an hour and then gently move them into a slightly elevated position in their cots.
Mark at age 2 and a half is still not a great sleeper, but his reflux has passed and he is now getting old enough to reason with (sort of)!