Giving birth to my second born went so much faster than my first. And even though it was incredibly HARD work, it still was easier to get through (cause it went so fast!!).
Breastfeeding was also easier, at first… (you can read about my first experience here)
Then at about 3 weeks, Ebron started get very fussy during and after feedings (I called them scream feedings), was uncomfortable all the time, spitting up forcefully (at times), and sleeping in short spurts. And I couldn’t lay him down much – that made his reflux worse! He was eating very frequently and it was incredibly exhausting!! After talking with his pediatrician, she confirmed he had reflux (after hearing him swallow a lot, and not quite gagging, but I just heard the fluid going up and down in his throat – not sure how else to describe it, after a feeding).
If you are wondering what some of the symptoms for reflux are:
- Fussy after a feeding for one to two hours
- Fluid going up and down in throat after eating
- Wants to comfort nurse all the time
- Pulling away frequently and fussy during a feeding
- Pulling knees up to chest or a “tight” tummy
- Explosive stools (more than 10 a day)
- Frothy or mucousy stools (sometimes green)
- Runny nose or congestion
- Reluctance to nurse
It was tough, since he was nursing frequently!! On the right is the first week of feeding Ebron (feedings in pink) and below is Ebron when he was a few weeks old (again feeding in pink and sleeping in blue).
I think in the early weeks (and actually continuing on a couple months), Ebron was also trying to deal with the forceful letdown. So sometimes his fussiness was because he was having a hard time swallowing fast enough. (If this sounds like what you are experiencing, check out this article! I transitioned to side lying nursing and that helped a LOT. Side lying nursing is amazing!! If you want some helpful tips on side lying nursing, check out this article!!
Since I knew it was reflux, I started making notes on what I was eating to see if that was a factor. And sure enough, after I had dairy he was a LOT fussier and was choking on the milk more, and spitting up more, and sleeping worse. So I had to eliminate dairy from my diet since Ebron was intolerant to dairy. (Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean he is allergic to dairy. He could be. But it just means dairy is hard for his body to process right now. My oldest didn’t handle cow’s milk well when he turned 1, so I’ve limited the dairy in his life as well. And we’ve been drinking Almond milk in our house. We like it.
Although, let me tell you, at first it was HARD to go dairy free. I missed yogurt. Also, I had made up a hole bunch of freezer meals beforehand and cheese was in a LOT of those meals. MmmM – but I couldn’t have it now. It wasn’t worth the cost of a fussy baby.
When I stopped eating dairy, his symptoms COMPLETELY went away by 2 weeks later!! He was a new baby. He was content lying on his back. He slept longer. It was amazing!!
Then, when he turned 4 months I tried a little bit of dairy again, just to see if it would make a difference. (Cause who knows, maybe it was just that his digestive system was immature and that’s why he had reflux.) But, his reflux definitely came back as a result. So I know for sure he is intolerant to dairy. Then, about a month later I had soy milk 3 days in a row and his reflux came back again! So, I’m on a dairy and soy-free diet. (Soy I don’t eat too much of anyway, so it’s not a big deal.)
***So, note to all you pregnant moms – make dairy-free freezer meals, just in case you have a baby that is dairy intolerant!! You want to be prepared.
Someone suggested to me that I come up with a freezer menu plan that is dairy free for pregnant moms. (And I still will come up with a freezer menu plan in the future.)
Other things that helped cope with a fussy reflux baby:
- babywearing – check out your local Babywearing International meeting for help/a carrier to borrow!!
- offer a pacifier during pauses, between sides and after a feeding (that way there is constant sucking motion after a feeding, so the milk won’t come back up!)
- let them lay in the same position (particularly on the left side, or roll them onto their left side – that helps to keep the milk down) after a feeding for a bit (DON’T burp immediately)
- jiggle the baby up and down to help them burp, because patting them will aggravate the reflux
- offer short feedings, more frequently
- hold baby upright 20-30 minutes after a feeding (this is where babywearing came in handy!)
- avoid putting baby in carseat or in another lying down position after feeding (unless you were side lying – I found it okay to leave him lying down on his left side)
- when changing diaper, roll baby on side instead of lifting the legs
Helping them sleep:
And then, I also recommend reading this: Stack Feedings in Your Favor for Sleep
More article and resources on breastfeeding: