Disclaimer Part 1:  This post is not about frugalness or fun-ness, but I’m hoping that people will be helped by reading our story. And hopefully, someone who has a child who refuses to eat will feel like they are not alone.

Disclaimer Part 2: I am not a medical professional, and anything that I say about treatments for reflux is merely helpful tips based on what worked (or didn’t) for us.


I have alluded to my youngest son Owen’s feeding difficulties, and I decided to write out our story.  When he was going through the worst of it, I did lots of google searching.  There are a lot of sites out there with medical information about reflux, but not a whole lot of practical support in living with it!  Plus, people seemed to mostly post about their babies when they were doing terrible – I wanted to hear the end of the story!  Did it ever get better?  Did their kids start eating?

Owen does not fit the profile of most reflux babies, and so it took us a long time to figure out what was going on.  Most babies with reflux are spitters and screamers.  Owen never has spit up very much, and he’s always been a pretty happy guy.

When he was about 6 weeks old, I knew that something was not right.  My older two boys had been bad nursers in the beginning, but by 6 weeks were good eaters with big appetites.  Owen never got into a good nursing pattern.  Sometimes he did well, but at other feedings he would begin nursing, and then pull away, arch his back, and cry.  The only thing that would make him happy was to stop feeding him and put him down.  After nursing two boys who were aggressive eaters, I knew that this didn’t seem right.  We kept weighing him at the hospital’s scale, and he kept gaining weight at the rate he was supposed to.  He didn’t hit any growth spurts like the other two did, but he kept gaining along…

When he was about 3 months old, I decided to start pumping full time so that I could try to get him to eat more at a time.  It’s easier to get a baby to take a little more out of a bottle, and easier to feed in public. It was getting difficult because I would tell the boys that we would go somewhere “as soon as Owen finishes eating,” but then Owen would never finish eating.  He would not even empty one side before stopping, so I would wait a few minutes and try feeding him again.  Not conducive to life with two older boys!  So I started pumping all the time.  I figured that he had become accustomed to being a snacker.  Maybe we could stretch him tummy a little and that would help!  With the bottle, I could tell what Owen was doing – he would begin eating, and after 1-2 oz. the arching and fussing would start.  Time to call the doctor.

We had been putting off going to the doctor because Jordan was out of work and we didn’t have any health insurance.  Jordan started a new job on August 24th.  On August 26th I took Owen to the doctor because we just needed to figure out what was going on, so we decided to take him even though Jordan hadn’t enrolled in the benefits yet.  We would just pay whatever it took.  Little did we know that something like this can be termed a pre-existing condition, causing the insurance company to be able to refuse to pay!

The Lord was so very gracious to us because when Jordan enrolled in health insurance, it covered us retroactively back to August 24th.  So Owen’s reflux was never a pre-existing condition, and the insurance company has paid for THOUSANDS of dollars in expenses over the last year!

Anyway, back to August 26th.  Owen’s pediatrician said that he probably had silent reflux (the material being refluxed never comes all the way up, so it burns coming up and going back down.)  We decided to try a low dose of Axid to see if it would help.  The doctor said that we would see results in a few days if it was really reflux.

Well, Owen did well initially, and then went back to his bottle-refusing ways.  We called the doctor, and they recommended switching to Prevacid.  The Prevacid was very hard to give to a baby!  It comes in little tablets that dissolve into a billion little granules.  We tried putting the tablet in a bottle nipple and adding water, but he wouldn’t drink it down (he hates to drink!).  It was just a big mess.  The next day, he came down with a cold, so we stopped the Prevacid figuring that his poor eating was probably being caused by the cold coming on.

For a while, we were not on any reflux medicine (being unconvinced that he really had reflux, or that if he did, the medicine wasn’t helping), but then teething hit.  All through the month of October, Owen would only eat 1-2 oz. at a time (and sometimes less – like half an ounce even after 2-3 hours between meals).  Our doctor suggested that maybe we were feeding him too often.  Other well-meaning friends commented on how healthy he looked (he has always looked very healthy), but I could tell that he was still uncomfortable.  He didn’t like to be held while we fed him.  We started feeding him his bottles in his bouncy seat. This didn’t seem normal. We did lots of google searching, and his symptoms kept bringing us back to silent reflux. So we put Owen back on Axid in November.  He was still teething and still a fussy eater, but the medicine seemed to make things tolerable.

In December, we went off the medicine (because he was 7 months and his pediatrician suggested that we might not need it anymore), and December was horrible.  Every day was a struggle to get him fed.  We also started seeing more reflux symptoms – his voice was hoarse all the time, and his weight gain had really stalled. But December also brought us a more firm diagnosis and some health professionals who were very helpful!

….to be continued…

This is not a reflux blog (or going to become one), but let me know if you have interest in the rest of our reflux story! I’ll post updates sooner if I know that people want them!

6 Comments

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  1. Marcie Oct 25, 2010

    Our first son didn't nurse or sleep well for the first 7 months of his life because his reflux was so bad, even with medication. He was miserable all of the time even though he never really spit up. He seemed to outgrow it after 7 months, but has never been very interested in eating. I'm still struggling to get him to eat any kind of food (except chocolate) and he's 3 years old. I would be interested to hear the rest of your story.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Oct 26, 2010

      Well, Owen is now 17 months and still doesn't like to eat food! He's mainly drinking expensive formula (Alimentum). So our story doesn't have a happy ending yet, although he has come a long way! Sounds like he may be like your son - never all that interested in food. Funny that you mention chocolate, though, because the other day we discovered that he LOVES M & M's!

      Reply
    2. Whitney Jan 4, 2016

      WOW! I am almost in tears just reading this article! My oldest who is 19 months does not like to eat at all! And my youngest 6 months old is now going through the same thing! Both are on zantac right now, which I don't think are helping in anyway! The 19 month old does see a dietitian and a feeding therapist but we have not been to a GI doctor yet! That seems to be what we need to do! Thank you for posting your story!

      Reply
      1. Denise montie Apr 7, 2016

        Hi! Our story sound very similar to yours. Our son is only 7 months and we have been struggling with reflux since 3 weeks old. Charlie is a chunky fella and for this reason we can't seem to get any dr to take us seriously. They all say he's spoiled or he will just grow out of the fussiness. I hold Charlie upright all night just to get a short amount of sleep. He snacks all day and night and refuses solids completely. He's on Zantac which just takes the edge off. I just started dairy free after reading this today. I'd love any suggestions you have.

        Reply
        1. Sarah Apr 12, 2016

          That sounds miserable! I think you're right - obviously he is very uncomfortable since his sleep is so poor. Have you been to a GI doctor, or just his pediatrician? I would definitely look for a different doctor! It sounds like you have tried a few already. I hope that you can find someone who will listen! If he's gaining weight, that's great. But sleep is important too!

          Reply
        2. Sravani Reddy Jun 13, 2018

          Hi,

          I doubt if my son is suffering with silent reflux. He was all good until he is 3 months old...since 2 weeks he is refusing to have feed when awake, if we try to get him to feed he just cries out....so we started feeding him when he is drowsy r asleep. We have consulted pediatrician who said he is all good and it might be a behavioural pattern..
          I am just worried what this would furthur result in....

          Reply
          1. RefluxMD, Inc. Oct 30, 2018

            Great..,,very informative and helpful post.Thanks for sharing.The info given you have given in the post is really helpful for the readers..Keep writing.

            Reply
            1. Anahita Modaresi Aug 10, 2019

              I'm so glad I found your story! This seems like exactly what we are going through. On top of it our daughter has a protein allergy. I have eliminated dairy and soy but she still seems to have some symptoms. Has anyone had experience with this too and switching to Elecare? I'm not exactly sure what the issue is but it seems like a combination of things. She snacks and seems very uncomfortable too. It has made my life so hard. I am also exclusively pumping now.

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