I am at the Breaking Point..

Jasper in his “Going to Brooklyn” outfit.

But first the good: Jasper had his first overnight this weekend! We went to visit friends Sarah, Jay and their daughter Daphne and spent the night in their guest bedroom..

Jasper did really well as he often does when distracted by “new” things.

Now the bad..

I am operating on my second straight night of no sleep and truly about to lose it.

While I am SO thankful that Jasper’s reflux is under control and he is a pretty happy baby during the daytime (at least compared to what he used to be!) he is still suffering terribly at night.

Every two hours or so he screams with gas pain. Actually first he starts by thrashing his head from side to side and grunting and squeeling, then, if I don’t pick him up and pat his back he starts all out crying in his sleep.. and even when he does manage to fart, it sometimes wakes him up or hurts him and so he cries even more.

But now things have taken a turn for the worse and even when I pick him up sometimes he writhes so much in my arms it’s a struggle just to hold on to him. He also used to stay asleep but now has started to wake up from the discomfort.

My theory as to why it’s so much worse at night is that breastfeeding is known to help relieve gas/relax the digestive tract so given that I feed him every two hours during the day, he is always getting the benefit of the breast milk to help him digest. At night he goes much longer stretches..or he could, but I often feed him out of desperation just to get him to settle down so I can get some sleep!

I also think that being awake and active during the day helps him burp more than at night when it’s really difficult to burp him if he’s asleep.

This nighttime hell has been going on as long as I can remember, which is one of the reasons I started the “Total Elimination Diet” in which I only eat turkey, rice, green and yellow squash, white and sweet potatoes and pears.

I realize that the gas may be caused by his laryngomalacia and the excess air he swallows as a result, but he seems to suffer regardless of whether he lets out a big burp after a feeding or not. Plus he has had other indications of an allergy like mucus in his poop and redness around his anus.

I would eat this way until he’s weaned and be happy if it would spare him the pain, but it doesn’t seem to be working at all yet. I started last Tuesday November 11, so it hasn’t been a full week yet (it takes at least two) but I had really hoped to see some improvement by now. (I have also been off dairy and soy for at least 10 days before that).

I am just at a complete loss as to how to help him..we have tried mylicon, bicycle legs, tummy massage, probiotics etc. and nothing helps in the slightest.

It is emotionally draining because I just want to cry right along with him every time he screams in pain and I can’t do anything to help him. It is physically draining because I am not feeling great from the diet to begin with and then on top of that I can not sleep at all with him either crying or squirming next to my bed or thrashing and writhing and crying on my chest when I pick him up to comfort him. The impact of no sleep is also much more taxing now that I’m back at work.

In two days he will be three months old.. I had really hoped that we’d be past all of this by now as everyone seemed to say we would.

We’re seeing the pediatric GI doctor again on Thursday, but he wasn’t any help the first time so I’m not holding my breath!

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ariana says:

Lori,
Jasper went from “silent” reflux to a regular refluxer in the past two weeks (spits up a little after pretty much every feeding now).. and yes, like your friends baby he cried pretty much non stop until week 7 when I think the zantac kicked in that we started him on on week 4!

Suzanne, yes, in cases of extreme reflux they do recommend tummy sleeping and all reflux babies should be elevated which we haven’t found a good way to do except a little bit (he squirms so much he ends up at the bottom of the bassinet!). Our problem is no way jasper would sleep unswaddled yet, and you can’t tummy sleep swaddled!

Lee Ann, yay for us low beta girls pulling all the way through! :) I’m sure she must have been allergic to something you were eating. Jasper may be too, which is why I’m doing this total elimination diet thing to see if that’s the case. I just really really don’t want to give up breastfeeding, I cry every time I think about/consider it! I’m so glad you figured out what was bothering your daughter though!

Lee Ann says:

Ariana,

This is my first time to comment, but I’ve been reading your blog since early on in your pregnancy. I too had an extremely low initial hcg level, and my pregnancy resulted in a healthy baby (mine a girl on 8/21!). I’ve been struggling with a very gassy baby as well. I exclusively breastfed for the first six weeks and she was just miserable. Then one day I decided to give formula a try (Enfamil Gentlease). I continued to pump at each feeding just in case she didn’t respond well to formula. Within the first 48 hours I noticed improvement. I gave up breastfeeding and never went back. I will say that I still miss it – I breastfed my son (now 4) exclusively for the first 9 months and never had any problems. I hope you and Jasper get some relief soon. From one sleep deprived mom to another!

Suzanne says:

I think the new schedule will help you both and Jasper a lot. It won’t be forever… just keep that in mind. I hope the doctor can give you some answers. I don’t know anything about reflux/gas that Jasper is having, but I am wondering if they ever have babies with these issues sleep on their tummies… I envision the crib mattress on an incline and then baby on stomach. IDK? I wish I had the answers for ya. I know you guys must be exhausted… hang in there! Suzanne

lori says:

It’s me again! That’s great that Jeff is helping out!
I know how confusing and frustrating it is not knowing what’s wrong with Jasper. I hope the doctor has some answers for you. Cash didn’t cry a lot. He just spits up like crazy, and like I said, was very squirmy and didn’t sleep much. My girlfriend’s baby girl didn’t spit up at all. She just cried nonstop! Her doctors didn’t figure out what was wrong w/ her until she was 7 months old. And nothing worked but the Prevacid.
If you need anything, you can email me at lorilcsr@aol.com
Hang in there! Lori

jbhat says:

The news that Jeff is on the schedule too is the BEST NEWS YET. Good for you guys.

ariana says:

Thanks for the support everyone!

I’ve discovered an amazing website http://www.infantreflux.org/forum where it seems that as Lori pointed out, much of the squirming may be due to Jasper’s reflux. So many people posted that reflux is much worse at night and definitely causes sleep disturbances!

Also as lori pointed out, prevacid (or other PPIs rather than H2 blockers like zantac) are much better at controlling reflux, so I’m going to discuss all this with the ped. gastroenterologist tomorrow.

My problem now is that I’m so confused if Jasper’s issues are caused by gas from swallowing air due to laryngomalacia or reflux, or due to my over active let down.. or if it’s not really gas but just reflux acting up..

So many problems for such a little boy!!

The good news is that Jeff and I have worked out a schedule so that he is with Jasper from 9pm to 1am (when I usually feed him) and I can get some uninterrupted sleep. Then I take over from 1am to 6:30 am.. seems to be working ok, so now we’re both just “semi exhausted” rather than me being destroyed!

lori says:

Hi Ariana ~
I’ve posted comments here before, but it’s been a while.
Sorry to hear your frustration!
My son, Cash, is 12 weeks old. We found out he had acid reflux at his 1 week appt. We started off w/ Zantac, and I thought it seemed to help. He’s never been all that fussy (I think because he was given medication right away), but he was really squirmy and was only sleeping for about an hour to an hour and a half at a time most days. The doctor said that’s his way of telling us he’s uncomfortable and thought he needed a stronger medication. So he decided to put him on Prevacid. Cash has been on it two weeks now and he’s doing great!!! He’s now sleeping in his co-sleeper again (I used to hold him most of the night) from about 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and then goes down again until 5:30 a.m.
Also, at about 5 weeks I started putting rice cereal with breasmilk in a bottle )1 teaspoon per 2 ounces of milk). I give that to him at his 7 pm feeding and it reduces his spit-up during the night.
I try to burp him every 1 – 2 ounces when I’m giving him a bottle and 3 -5 minutes when I’m breast feeding.
We have friends whose babies have had reflux, and they all agree that Prevacid worked best.
I’m not 100 percent sure it’s because of the Prevacid or if it’s that he’s hitting the 3-month mark, but I’m leaning more towards the Prevacid.
I hope you and Jasper find comfort soon!

jbhat says:

He’s such a cutie by day, though. Lots of good thoughts coming your way from me.

Emily says:

i am so sorry. this truly stinks. what is your burping routine with him post feed? for my son, who had awful reflux, we had to burp him for 20-30 minutes post feed.

have you talked with his pediatrician about a little bit of rice cereal, perhaps added to a bottle, to help calm his stomach?

i don’t know what to say except that i promise this will pass (no pun intended). i have found, in my limited experience as a mom, that just when i truly think i will die or fall over, something changes and i get a ray of hope.

hang in there.

Jaimie says:

Oh dear. That sounds very difficult. I think you and I commiserated in your comments before about how we were holding on to the magical 3-month milestone as a time when sleep would improve. My little guy (aged 13 weeks) was up last night at 9:00, 11:00, 2:00, and 5:00. He doesn’t like to nap in his crib either (the rare times I manage it, the naps last 40 minutes at absolute best) so no breaks during the day. It seems like the other new moms in my new-moms group all have better sleepers which makes me feel even worse.

But having disrupted sleep plus seeing your son in pain would compound the problem so much more. I hope you both get some relief soon.

Dawn says:

I’m so sorry! You must be wiped out. I have no advice but hope you find a solution soon!

Laura says:

So sorry. I don’t know if this works, but why don’t you check out this video of a mom sharing her gas expelling trick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNEXfwSoxHU it’s a bit more aggressive than I would have thought to do, but it looks super effective! Good luck!

Natalie says:

I am so sorry to hear you are going through such a tough time…if possible do you think you might be able to get help? Coming home from a full day of work to a full night of work is really a lot. Even if it’s 2 or 3 nights per week? Sending hugs your way, I know it’s really trying.

Kath says:

What a handsome guy.
I can’t imagine how you are managing to work full time in addition to all this!

Eva says:

It makes me want to cry, just reading this. Sending you lots of hugs. Hope it gets better really soon!

Jill says:

You must be absolutely exhausted. I hope poor Jasper finds some relief soon.

Chantal says:

I’m so sorry! That sucks. Annora doesn’t have the reflux issues that Jasper had, but she routinely thrashes around in her sleep lately and for the past week I’ve been up either every 2 hours or every hour. I’m still on mat leave and this schedule is killing me, so I can imagine you having to be at work on this schedule. I feel your pain! I hope things start to get better soon for the both of us. Annora will be 4 months on Thursday and I keep waiting for things to get better.

monica says:

You poor thing! And poor Jasper. I have no advice for you, but I hope the doctor is able to help.

mandoo says:

So sorry to hear that you are still experiencing these kinds of troubles! If it’s any consolation, Jasper looks like the picture of health and happiness in that photo!!

Suzanne says:

Hi Ariana, I’m so sorry you are going through this… and I’m feeling pretty bad for Jasper too! Even if he wasn’t having this problem, the lack of sleep is pretty taxing when you go back to work, so I can only imagine how you are feeling. Hang in there ;) A couple of things I am wondering… Is jasper swaddled? does he sleep on his tummy or back? Does he use a pacifier? Have you ever tried tylenol?

Farah says:

I am hoping that you are able to find some relief somehow

ariana says:

Hi Hayley,
oops, yes, I should have added that to the things we’ve tried with no luck! :)

Hayley says:

i’m sure you’ve tried gripe water? i don’t think its a “cure-all” like some people claim…but it seems to help our little guy some.

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