Posted By Posting
Jun 15, 2010
New mom with multiple questions
Hi everyone: I am a mom to a 5-week-old boy. As if being a first-time mother wouldn't make me neurotic enough, the doctor believes he has reflux. Our biggest problem is that while he's sleeping, he'll suddenly start swallowing frantically, gagging. He hasn't turned blue, but he's been purple-faced, wheezing and clearing his throat trying to catch his breath for what seems like forever. I sleep with him next to me because I'm terrified he'll choke in his bassinet and I won't hear him. I really fear aspiration damage to his lungs. He also seems quite gassy. I have the following questions that I hope someone will have suggestions for: 1. The doctor said that he does not recommend radioactive barium tests for GER unless the infant is choking to the point of turning blue. Is there a less risky test that we could do to confirm what's going on? 2. I've tried putting a pillow under his bassinet to raise it, but he still has trouble. Any ideas on how much to raise it, and how to do so? 3. The dr will put him on medication if he does not improve soon. I have concerns that antacids could interfere with the absorption of nutrients, and it doesn't really address the immature digestive system underlying the problem anyway. Does anyone have alternative suggestions? I bought Colic Calm ( but was concerned at the inactive ingredients that weren't listed on the website - glycerin, potassium benzoate, potassium citrate, sorbic acid, and xylitol. Also, one of the active ingredients is vegetable charcoal, and I wasn't sure this would be safe for a young infant. My dr is not familiar with homeopathic medicine, and suggested Mylecon instead. Does this help? 4. I've seen someone recommend Chinese herbalists. Can a 5 week old take herbal medicine? It's my understanding that food needs to be given no sooner than 6 months to avoid creating allergies. Would giving herbs before this time have similar detrimental effects? I live in Southern California in Moorpark. If anyone has a wonderful homeopathic or Chinese herbalist practitioner to recommend, please contact me offline at Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. I'm seeing the doctor again today. During the night he choked again, and his breathing seems a bit loud today. I want him to check his lungs to ensure he's OK. I feel like I'm beginning to dread the night with the worrying about him choking. The poor guy is not getting enough rest at all and is entirely worn out. I don't remember the last time I slept more than a few minutes at a time, as I was having trouble sleeping my last few months of pregnancy, too. If I'm rambling, it's from fatigue. My in-laws tell me that I'm spoiling him from letting him sleep in my arms, and I should let him cry it out in his crib. I don't think they believe me that he gags and wheezes when I lay him down.
Jun 15, 2010
Kathryn, Pager Volunteer and mommy to Emily Mia 02/04/07. 3 years old with GERD. 30mg Prevacid and Pepcid AC. Mylanta needed for flares. Failed prilosec med switch. Tried and failed many med weans but GERD and pain are well controlled. Functional constipation. Reoccurring SBBO. Suspected IBD or autoimmune disease. Resolved issues: MSPI, CSID (acquired), Stage 2 kidney reflux, Chronic diarrhea.
Audrey Meadow 06/20/08. born 34/35 weeks. Still b/f and eats everything! ftt and chronic constipation.
i think that we all at one time or another have had inlaws or families say the same things. but DO NOT listen to them. you are not spoiling your child, you are doing a GREAT job by trusting your instincts. Emily slept in my arms till 9 or 10 months and in my room till she was 18 months and she sleeps on her own just fine, so don't worry about that now.

i m a bit confused about the Dr's recommendation that the Upper GI was unsafe. this is just my opinion (guided by experience and research)- but it really is one of the safest tests for preliminary reflux investigation. This means, the test can tell you things other then reflux, like physical abnormalities or the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine that could be causing reflux or exacerbated by reflux. However- this does not mean reflux will be seen on this test. Many reflux babies who have reflux do not present symptoms during this test. it is NOT a primary test to diagnose reflux.

there is a similar test called a swallow study which performed much the same way as an upper GI (barium swallow) which could be beneficial to find out about any swallowing abnormalities or aspirations while eating. there is even a test called a pH probe which is a bit more invasive but will tell you if acid reflux is the problem.

A good angle to position the sleeping surface would be between 30 and 40 degrees. check out the AR pillows with tucker sling or sleep positioner.

do not have much experience with colic calm. i do know that is worked for some and not for other, pretty vague but it is what it is with those types of natural remedies. the reason why we never tried it is because if the child spits up or pukes it will be very dark and will stain. emily was a puker and a spiter at her worst so we couldn't afford dark stains everywhere kwim? lol. Mylicon is actually very safe, it is not absorbed into the blood stream and is usually pretty effective in removing gas- if gas is the problem. if pain is tummy or reflux related it will not help at all.

we have never gone the natural or herbal way, but in my opinion if you are open to that, and you have as much knowledge about it as possible and continue primary care with the pedi. i don't think it will be a bad idea to look into.

another thing that you could ask your pedi about is an apnea monitor. this will alarm if the baby chokes and stops breathing in his sleep. if you can not get an apnea monitor for whatever reason, you can purchase a monitor on your own and run it through your insurance for a claim to see if they will pay. a monitor that many have trusted is Angle Care monitor. this can give you some peace of mind while he is sleeping.

here is a few links that i found to help explain some tests for you.

i hope this helps ease your mind a bit and if you have any more questions feel free to ask! *Good luck!
Jun 16, 2010
Lorenzo b.4/25/07 1 week in NICU w/ aspirate pneumonia from a reflux episode; diagnosed GERD at 9weeks; Used Zantac for 5months. Currently using Chinese Medicine and Craniosacral Therapy. GERD, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder. Ask me about breastfeeding a refluxer! Pic: day 5 in the NICU.
((HUGS)) I could have written the exact same post 3 years ago...remarkable similarities... Kathryn covered most of your questions with her usual thoroughness (:)), but I will add our experience with alternative therapies.

We had a terrible time getting anyone to take seriously what I was observing in Lorenzo's sleep, and nothing we did seemed to help either his sleep situation or his reflux very much. Eventually, what we decided to use western medicine as our diagnostic and crisis resource, and Chinese Medicine and Craniosacral Therapy for ongoing treatment. Using herbs should not be a problem for even the tiniest infant, but it is important to do so with the guidance of a licensed practitioner, as each person has unique needs and they take these into account when determining what combination of herbs to use.

I would also encourage you to use an apnea monitor, and, ideally, have a sleep study done as soon as practicable. I wish I had known early on that reflux can be a direct cause of both obstructive and central sleep apnea, and early diagnosis reduces the long term risks substantially. Knowing if apnea is present can also help direct the path of the treatment of the reflux, because the refluxed material does not need to be acidic to lead to OSA and CSA -- it is simply the result of the body's effort to protect itself from aspiration.

If his lungs sound junky, you should be referred to a pulmonologist, and many pulmos are also sleep specialist and can order a sleep study.

I'm so sorry you are going through this, as I know first hand how terrifying it can be. Please be sure to take care of yourself and get any shred of rest you can -- I know it isn't easy to do, but trust me, it can save your sanity and your life. Please, also bring your questions, concerns and frustrations here -- this forum has helped me survive the past three years, and navigate through the confusing array of medical and alternative treatments. And finally, because it is easy to forget the joy when you are exhausted and afraid, CONGRATULATIONS on your beautiful baby boy and your new motherhood...!

Check with your
doctor first!