Silent Reflux

Babies cry, especially during the first few months of their lives. It is their way of communicating. Whether they are hungry or lonely or have a full diaper, crying is how they let us know that they need us.

Some are also plagued by gas in their tummy, which is painful and upsets them. Others suffer from reflux and spit up a lot.

Livi did not have an easy start in that regard. As a high need baby, she already cried a lot more than other babies. But she was also unfortunate enough to struggle with a gassy tummy and reflux. Both seemed to upset her more than other babies and perhaps this was also due to her high need nature, I am not sure.

To complicate matters, Livi suffered from silent reflux, which meant we did not discover it right away. Thankfully, we have a pediatrician with a lot of experience. When we noticed a change in Livi’s behavior and described it to her, she knew right away what was going on.

Livi would cough a lot and her burps were unusually wet. She was drooling excessively and she suffered from lots of hiccups and gagging. But the most telling change we noticed was that she would cry during and after feedings. She also could not handle tummy time at all.

According to Livi’s pediatrician, with silent reflux Livi did not spit up as much but rather swallowed the acidic stomach contents back down, which hurt her a lot.

There were a few things that I tried in an attempt to make it a little easier for Livi. At the suggestion of our pediatrician, I went on an elimination diet since I was breastfeeding Livi. I excluded any and all dairy and acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes. I also excluded leafy greens and other bloating foods to help settle Livi’s tummy troubles.

I tried holding her up when I fed her and burped her a lot during and after feedings. I would also keep her upright for at least thirty minutes after each feeding. The Boppy Pillow was such a huge help at that time.

Unfortunately, my efforts were mostly in vain and Livi was often miserable. Eventually, we had to start giving her medication. Things got a lot better when she started sitting up at around seven or eight months but it still took about four months until we could completely stop the medication.

She still has some trouble from time to time but now she handles it like a pro. And she can finally enjoy eating again.

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22 comments on “Silent Reflux

  1. Amyjean says:

    Our Annabelle also had this. The way we found out was she fainted mid cry one evening when she was fussing. I already had cut out dairy bc she had milk protein intolerance. She is almost six months and we have cut down her dosage after several visits to a chiro! We are hoping to get her off the Zantac in the next few months! Reflux sucks!!!

    • hnMom says:

      I agree, reflux is awful. Im glad you found out although it sounds so terrible that she fainted. I hope you’ll be able to cut back on the medication, it’s no fun to medicate your child. Good luck!

  2. I had heard of this but never knew what it was. My little guy was also gassy but thankfully fed okay. It’s kind of crazy how we have to be detective and do our own sleuthing when we try to figure out what’s going on with our babies. They can’t exactly tell us what’s wrong so a lot of it has to do with noting symptoms and yes, being lucky with a great pediatrician.

    • hnMom says:

      Yeah, it’s awful to watch your child suffer and you don’t know what’s going on. You feel so helpless. But yeah, we are very lucky with our pediatrician and thankful for it, too. We had to make a lot of visits during Livi’s first year, so it’s nice when you trust them and feel comfortable with them.

  3. Deni Lyn says:

    I am continually amazed by your patience and grace. The more you reveal about Livi’s first year – and esp. the earlier part of it, I can’t even imagine the strength and patience and courage you must have. I’m at my wits end after a week of a poor sleep routine! You’re an awesome Mom! And cherry on the top is you share your experiences. I would have never known about silent reflux but now I know to keep it in mind if I hear similar stories from other parents. πŸ™‚

    • hnMom says:

      Thank you so much for your compliment, but I am afraid it was not all graceful all the time. I guess, when you have to, you just go into survival mode and do whatever it takes. I only did what every mom would do.
      I’m glad you found the post helpful. That’s really the whole purpose. πŸ™‚

  4. A good doc goes a long way. We have not been ultra fortunate with this in the past but it forced us to really check things out deeper on our own, for sanity’s sake (& our babes’ well-being)! We’ve learned a lot over the years since. Hindsight 20/20 thing. Gotta love it. Wish we could go back in time with our first 2 babes!

    • hnMom says:

      Yes, it is unfortunate when you cannot rely on your doctor. We had a few bad experiences ourselves, but luckily her primary pediatrician is really good.

      • Yea, my comment finally worked! (did you see my message to you at ‘living undone’ ?) – and thanks for your visit my way. πŸ™‚

      • hnMom says:

        Sorry, I have no idea what went wrong. But it wasn’t me, I swear. For some reason, WordPress decided to send your comment to the Spam folder. I “un-spammed” it, so it should be working now and apparently, it does, since this comment worked fine.
        Thanks for stopping by again. πŸ™‚

  5. livingundone says:

    Our daughter was having some trouble with reflux but for us it was (thankfully) a really simple solution. I realized I had quite the milk oversupply and once I began to block feed her problems went away. We only dealt with the wet burps and gassiness for a few weeks so I can’t imagine doing that for months on end. Good job staying on top of things and working hard to figure it all out.

    • hnMom says:

      Thank you! And yes, I completely forgot about block feeding. I did that too and it did help a little bit. Thanks for reminding me. Every little bit made a difference and was important. And I definitely wanted to keep nursing her so I tried everything we could think of or read about.
      Sorry to hear that your daughter struggled with it, too, but I am glad you were able to help her so quickly. πŸ™‚

  6. 4eyedblonde says:

    Unbelievable. I’ve never heard of silent reflux and I’m so sorry that such a thing was a problem for her. Hearing of the challenges that you face/faced with your daughter makes me want to slow down and appreciate how easy I have it (and wish babies could talk as soon as they’re born, to help us diagnose these things – and then stop talking during their teen years). I, too, think you’re an awesome mom!

    • hnMom says:

      Haha, I love it. But you’re right, both your ideas would make our lives much easier, wouldn’t they. πŸ˜‰
      And thank you! It helps a lot to talk about it and to get great feedback like yours. It is so nice just to connect with you guys here. πŸ™‚

  7. Oster's Mom says:

    So glad to hear that Livi is eating. This is the first I have heard of silent reflux. Your efforts were surly not in vain, as you ruled out everything imaginable (which I’m sure helped your amazing pediatrician diagnose her properly).

    You are a stellar mom with a heart of gold!

  8. It’s so hard when they can’t tell you what’s wrong. We eventually found that my LO was upset after (and between) feeds because she had a milk protein allergy. There poor little bodies have so much to cope with being so pure and brand new.

    • hnMom says:

      Absolutely, it can be very difficult and you always suffer with them. I’m sorry to hear that your LO had trouble, too. I hope it all worked out.

  9. How horrible! 😦 Like the others have already said, you are an amazing woman and mother. I’m sure you’ve had your moments, but you have shown nothing but ongoing patience on your blog!

    My child had a very bloated tummy and you could tell she had problems passing gas. I found this homeopathic stuff called cocyntal that worked well – I gave it to her before and after every feed and it really made a difference. But she breastfed so much for comfort that I think she was just over-full all the time. I thought it was normal to feed them every 45-90 minutes, but from what I’ve heard since, it’s not. One night I remember sitting in her room for almost 2 hours trying to get her to fall into a deep enough sleep so I could put her in her crib. At one point, I felt some wet dripping on me, and then noticed that the boppy pillow was SOAKED. Turns out Bubbs was sucking and letting the milk drain out of the side of her mouth. There was milk EVERYWHERE. Funny little kid. Such a shame she could just suck her thumb like I did… But maybe this way we’ll have a much smaller orthodontic bill!

    • hnMom says:

      Livi did the exact same thing. She let milk dribble out the side of her mouth because it was coming too fast for her to swallow it all. Once we figured out what was happening, I was mostly glad she had found a way to deal with it. I just put those old fashioned Gerber cloth diapers over the Boppy pillow and that was that.

  10. fibromomof2 says:

    My son suffered from acid reflux and would throw up all the time. We had him on Zantac but it never seemed to help. I had a friend suggest soy formula & thats what we had to use. Now he’s nearly 13 months and I’m feeding him the advanced soy formula. I know I should be changing him to whole milk, but he is so fussy I worry how his stomach will react to a change to whole milk.

    • hnMom says:

      I can understand your worries. Have you talked to your pediatrician about your concerns? Unfortunately, I do not know anything about this subject but I hope you find a solution soon.

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