For those of you unlucky enough to have to deal with the life-suck that is acid reflux, I am ridiculously sorry. I, too, have reflux and know it sucks donkey balls. The ridiculous burning in your chest and throat can be unbearable. And don't even get me started on how bad it can be during pregnancy.
So, what sucks even worse than having acid reflux? Having a baby with it. Watching your helpless baby suffer when there is not a whole lot you can do and waiting while Drs make you go through a string of hoops to get the medicine you need is a hell no parent should have to go through. A hell you feel hopeless to escape.
Per the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of infant acid reflux may include:
- Spitting up
- Irritability during or after feedings
- Refusing to eat
- Crying when placed on his or her back, especially after a feeding
- In severe cases, your baby may arch his or her back while crying and this may look like your baby is having a seizure.
So we started the super awesomeness that is the game of getting a true diagnosis of acid reflux. If you have done this, it can be a long and arduous task. I would like to help you cut through that if possible. Let me drop some knowledge on you.
When you cry infant acid reflux to your pediatrician, there is a possibility they will think you are just one of the crazy mommies who doesn't know babies cry and are hard, so they will give you multiple bullshit-detecting steps to see if your baby really has reflux. They usually go like this:
Try cereal in the bottle.
This sucks because cereal really only fixes the spitting up (the symptom), not the acid reflux (the problem). It is also a huge pain in the ass. Cereal clogs the nipple (even if you use larger ones), causing the baby to suck air a lot of the time and get super pissed. Plus, it doesn't really fix the problem, just masks one of the symptoms. Though it does do a hell of a lot of good for reducing spit up, so it is great for helping with that. But, chances are, if your baby really does have acid reflux, the problem will persist even with the formula in the bottle. So then you will...
Get a Script for Zantac
Zantac is an acid reducer. It comes in a liquid form for infants. If your child has mild reflux, it will help a lot. You can get it at almost any pharmacy as it does not have to be compounded (made in house). If your child's acid reflux continues with age (some infant reflux goes away with age) and it is severe, Zantac will only work for so long. There is a max dosage and you hit it pretty quickly with an infant with severe reflux. If this happens, you will most likely…
Get a Script for Prevacid
If your baby maxes out on Zantac and still has acid reflux symptoms, their pediatrician will likely pull out the big guns: Prevacid. Prevacid is an acid inhibitor, whereas Zantac is an acid reducer. The names kind of spell it out: Zantac (zap it after the fact) Prevacid (prevent it from happening). I don't know about you, but I would rather prevent the problem before it starts rather than manage its symptoms after the fact. But hey, I drink too much, so maybe I am just crazy. Anyway. Prevacid is a godsend if your baby has severe reflux. We have had to up The Cool Cucumber's doses a few times, but other than that, it is amazing.
There are a few drawbacks to Prevacid though:
- Insurance companies can be dicks about covering it. Why? Hell if I know, they just are, so they might make you go through hoops to prove you need it. The hoops start with a history of trying Zantac and it not working...
- It is hard as hell to get. It is a compounded formula, so pharmacies actually have to make it when you order it, not just pour medicine from one bottle to another. This time costs money, so most pharmacies don't want to deal with it. Even Target doesn't make it! Also, it has an exact 30-day expiration date, so if you do find a pharmacy that carries it, don't expect to have it ready when you walk in to pick it up, even if you did call it in yesterday.