I stumbled across this article yesterday, about reflux in babies and how the NHS is wanting to discourage drug treatment and hospital referrals.
I feel very strongly that this is a bad idea. My daughter suffers with suspected reflux and Cow’s Milk Allergy. She vomits large amounts after every feed, is now losing weight and is often distressed or screaming. It’s incredibly upsetting, as a parent, to have done absolutely everything you can to optimise your child’s feeds and still have them throw most of it back up.
It’s even more upsetting to go backwards and forwards to various medical health professionals, saying the same thing over and over again, only for them to tell you ‘she could just be a sicky baby.’ No. That’s not the case, at all. We researched and we followed every scrap of advice we could muster to try and stop our tiny, premature baby from throwing up most of each feed. We went to the doctors, the hospital, the health visitor, and the midwife and got nowhere. I felt, on some occasions, like I was going mad. No one was listening or taking my concerns seriously. I said, over and over again, she’s going to lose weight, she isn’t keeping enough down, and I’m worried. Everyone we spoke to had a ‘wait and see’ attitude. It felt like every feed was a battle, a battle that I was losing. It’s very disheartening when you are trying your best and getting nowhere.
We only eventually began to receive acknowledgement during a routine hospital trip for a jaundice screen. I happened to see one of the Neonatal Outreach Nurses who asked how we were. When I told her about the continued vomiting, she was concerned and took us to see a paediatrician immediately. We finally got recognition and treatment began. She was ten weeks old at this stage.
She’s now twenty weeks. Since the first treatment, she’s been on a variety of medications and different milks. Nothing, so far has had any effect. She continues to vomit. And although we are still working on controlling the vomiting, the very fact that we’re now getting consistent support from healthcare professionals has actually made a difference. The difference is I feel like I’m being listened to, and not like I’m going mad or making it up. We have a dedicated team of people involved in my daughter’s care, and I can phone and speak to someone who knows her and her history. I can get medication increases okayed over the phone, so I don’t have to wait for gp appointment or drag us up to the hospital.
This is vital. And to now say that this support, recognition and treatment is going to be decreased and discouraged, is saddening. Are we to just ignore babies screaming from reflux pain because ‘they’ll grow out of it’? New mothers are already at high risk of Post Natal Depression, and I feel that this backwards step will push up the numbers.
It’s taken such a long time, and such a lot of worry and suffering, for my daughter to even be seen. I dread to think how bad it would be if this becomes common practice.
So please, even if your child has never suffered with reflux or CMA, add your name to the petition. It only takes a minute, but it could make a huge difference to a scared mum and a poorly baby.