Baby Blues: baby reflux and sleep issues

I am learning that the phrase “Working Mother” is both a redundancy and an oxymoron.

Champ has definitely had some reflux going on the past couple of days. When he isn’t eating, he is crying, fussing, or spitting up. My poor little champ. And obviously I have not been getting anything done. LT said he now understands how little one can get accomplished while watching a newborn. Gas drops and gripe water don’t seem to help. Most resources tell you to breastfeed and that will help things. Thanks a lot, loser resources. I am breastfeeding. At least La Leche League understands that oversupply (of breast milk) can lead to reflux. They seem to be the only ones that get it. Oh, and kellymom.com.

The problem is, Bessie and Gertrude* are overzealous, which gives my little man too much milk, too quickly for him to digest. His little tummy fills up to the brim, and then overflows. Result: an unhappy baby and spit up blotches all over mommy, making her resemble a spotted dairy cow, which is already what she feels like.

*Yes. I did just name my “mams.” Also yes, the names are bovine-inspired.

So here is the plan. I am going to:

  • Continue nursing on just one side per feeding, to signal to the ladies that enough is enough. Or rather, that less is enough. Thus helping the oversupply problem.
  • Continue using vertical feeding positions.
  • Continue keeping baby vertical after feedings, for 20-30 minutes.
  • Stop burping frequently. While burping frequently is recommended to help reflux, I think that the patting and bouncing are adding to the problem. Instead, I will just keep him vertical and gently rub his back, letting the dry burps surface, but not creating so much pressure that he erupts with spit up.
  • Reduce tummy time. He has stronger than average neck and arm muscles anyway (the kid rolled over at six days old, for Pete’s sake), and applying pressure to his tummy makes reflux worse. Tummy time can wait until right before feedings. Or it can wait a couple of weeks.
  • Begin infant massage. I just bought Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala McClure, upon my SIL’s recommendation
  • Begin to prop up his bed so he sleeps at an incline. I put his mattress on the floor between our bed and the wall (so he can’t roll off the mattress or get stuck) and just put a box under it.
  • Continue nursing him on his side during nighttime feedings. Not only is it more convenient for me to feed him in bed, but I also read that a side-lying position for babies is as effective as (or more effective than) sleeping at an incline.
  • Remember to put him back on his mattress after night feedings, if I am conscious enough. Otherwise I will keep him sleeping on his side, with me.
  • Stop assuming that every time he cries at night, he is hungry. Give him a couple of seconds to see if he is still sleeping and continues to do so. He might just be switching between sleep cycles.

I expect that he will be sleeping in our room (either on his mattress next to us or in bed with us) for a few more weeks, either until he is feeling better or until he isn’t getting up so sporadically. Right now he sleeps for 1 to 3 hours at night, with the occasional 4-hour stretch. Once it is almost consistently 3 hours of sleep at a time, I might have the energy to have him in another room!

Speaking of sleep, I stumbled upon some good resources about baby sleep habits. While Champ is still too young to get into a regular sleep schedule (either baby-led or parent-led), these links were filled with good information, especially addressing my question about why Champ sometimes cries out in his sleep.

Eight Infant Sleep Facts Every Parent Should Know

A Look at Baby’s First Year of Sleep

My sweet angel is sleeping peacefully for now. It breaks my heart when I can’t do anything to help him. Let’s hope some of the small changes start helping!

My mini sweetheart, this morning, sleeping between outbreaks of fussing and regurgitation. Notice he isn’t wearing clothes—it’s much easier to clean skin than absorbent fabric!

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