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Are these all signs he has reflux?

Hello, my little man is just 8mths and we have recently started him on Zantac, as he has become quite unsettled in the last 2mths. He is waking at night - some nights every hour - and is spitting up alot of milk/food still after feeds. He fusses a little during feeding - but mostly about half hour after eating he seems to be stressed. He rubs his feet together very hard and is often rubbing his eyes, not from tiredness, but like he is annoyed, frustrated, hurting or something. Are these all signs he has reflux? The GP seems to think he does and has also switched him to lactose free formula as he has quite a swollen belly. We are due to see the paediatrician in a few weeks, but are also booked into tresilian for a control crying "bootcamp"!!!! Im a little confused. J.

Answer: Hi J, Well done for your GP to even consider reflux, it’s great to hear, as a lot of times it isn’t- simply because signs can be so vague that it can be hard to pick. Reflux can definitely present with signs like that, especially the vomiting, unsettled behaviours after a feed, and all the sleep disturbances- but because it seems to have presented in the last few months, I wonder if it corresponded to when he started solids. Is that when you noticed a difference? I wonder (as your gp has obviously wondered) if there is a food sensitivity there, as some of his behaviours make me suspect that may be an issue (the rubbing feet and eyes). If the lactose free formula doesn’t help, then there are other options in case he has any issues with cows milk protein (which is actually quite common in reflux bubs). There are some prescription formulas that can be tried. It may help if you keep a written record of exactly what is happening- include everything you can- his sleeps, behaviours, feeds, what solids he has eaten and anything like that. What I have learnt about food intolerances in particular, is that they can sometimes cause reactions several days later. They also are dependent on how much they have had- he may be able to tolerate a little of a particular food (for example broccoli), but perhaps not every day. Keeping a written record of it can help you figure out if there are any patterns. Keep an eye out for what he is eating and notice if he has more unsettled days afterwards. I found that was a good way of looking at it all objectively too- relying on our memory isn’t as accurate or objective as we would think, esp when we are sleep deprived and stressed!! If you do think food may be an issue, it may also help to take everything out of his diet and start over- adding in new foods very slowly (perhaps one new food every 5 – 7 days). Any reactions with it can then be more easy to spot. Another possibility, especially with his swollen belly, is that he is constipated. That can cause discomfort too, and is quite common in refluxers as well. It can also flare reflux and trigger more symptoms. One more thing I would like to add is about other things that can flare reflux. Perhaps that could be causing him to be increasingly unsettled. Apart from constipation, it can be things like teething, immunizations, illnesses, crawling (or learning to crawl), being overtired, a change in routine, and things like that. It seems to be pretty much anything that stresses them can flare reflux (unfortunately). It sounds like your Dr must be quite experienced with reflux, which is a great thing, and I hope you can get further answers from your paed. I really think it is important that you feel supported by your drs and it sounds like you do, which is great. I hope Tresillian can give you some other ideas too so you can get your gorgeous happy bub back! Hope that helps, Glenda
Answered: 15 Nov 2007