Posted By Posting
Nov 19, 2010
lorenzomama
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.
jlh9s re: breastfeeding and reflux
Sorry, I missed your request for more information/experiences with breastfeeding and reflux. Is there anything in particular you are wanting to hear about, or just our experience in general?

I can't recall if I already suggested the La Leche League Mother to Mother Forums to you, but that is a great source of inspiration and advice for all manner of breastfeeding challenges, and can be found at the LLL website at www.llli.org.

Nov 20, 2010
jlh9s
I was mostly interested in your experience in general because a lot of the posters seem to be formula-based and not too many BF'ers. Maybe the BF'ing is just not as much a subject of posts. If you had any tips or advice or anything that you learned that might help BF'ing a refluxer, I would love to know it. I just don't know anyone else with reflux so these boards are a real godsend and all of the advice is just gold for me.
Nov 22, 2010
rownen
Hi Jlh, I breastfed my refluxer... still do. When his reflux was really bad, I mostly breastfed when he was drowsy or asleep. I would nurse him down for his naps and then nurse him when he woke up (but was still drowsy). I would nurse him to sleep at night and whenever he woke during the night. I would also pick him up to feed him while he slept if he had gone more than 3 hours without a feed. It worked well for us. I never knew how much he was getting, but he didn't protest when he was relaxed or sleeping and he gained weight (not alot, but at least he was gaining).
Nov 24, 2010
lorenzomama
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.
For us, the first four months were REALLY hard -- his reflux was not at all under control and I had OALD/Oversupply, and every nursing session felt like an enormous challenge, especially so because he nursed almost constantly -- usually every 20-30 minutes for just a few minutes at time, often around the clock. I was committed to breastfeeding, but there were times when I just didn't know what was causing him so much pain, and I felt like I was somehow poisoning him with my milk. I was anxious and depressed A LOT.

At about the same time we got his reflux pain under control, he started having apnea and choking episodes. I kept him on my body, pretty much 24/7 until he was over six months old -- I nursed him upright in an ERGO or Bjorn and he usually slept (if you can call it that) on me in one, too.

He was always a comfort nurser -- still is, actually -- and it wasn't until I did a lot of research and better understood the nature of his sleep apnea that understood that nursing constantly was actually helping to keep his airway open when he was breathing. I didn't always get a lot of support in the medical community to continue breastfeeding, but I just felt intuitively that it was the best thing for him. I did an elimination diet early on, but was never able to pinpoint a specific food intolerance, and when, at 2 years old, he was still not able to eat solids without gagging and choking (by that time he had pretty much lost interest in them) and his immune system fell apart, I was very glad that I had stuck with it. He was still nursing every 1-2 hours at that point and getting no nutrition from solids.

For me, the decision to breastfeed in spite of the advice I received to the contrary had mostly to do with my own intuition and trust in what I observed about my child -- I just had a very strong sense that he NEEDED to nurse, and now, having discovered that most of his challenges (after the first few months) came not from reflux pain, but from his particular reaction to the act of refluxing (it basically overstimulated his sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system) I am so very glad that I stuck with it. So really, my best advice when it comes to breastfeeding a refluxer is, learn to tune in to your intuition, observe you baby with an open mind, and trust that the two of you know what is needed, whatever that may be...

Nov 25, 2010
jlh9s
Thanks SO much for the advice, rownen and lorenzomama. It really does help to hear, because I don't know anyone around me with a baby with reflux and so many postings are about formula that I really like hearing BF'ing/reflux experiences.

I need to master how to nurse in an Ergo or Bjorn. I have both, but the one time I tried in the Ergo, I couldn't seem to get it to work. It seemed like I would need breasts that are much higher up than they are. I just use a weird combination of pillows and leg positioning to keep her at a 45 degree angle while I nurse, but I would love to be able to do the carrier nursing.
Nov 26, 2010
lorenzomama
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.
I have saggy boobs ( :) ), and I always had to hold my breast with one hand while he nursed in either carrier....
Check with your
doctor first!