I think all of my posts from now on will be based around song lyrics from the 80s! Anyway, you’ve probably taken a stab in the dark and guessed that this post is about reflux – the bane of a new parent’s life (and probably a bit shitty for the little ones too!)
So what exactly is reflux? Basically the valve that stops stomach contents popping back up into the oesophagus isn’t fully developed until a fair few months after birth, so around 50% of babies will spew up a bit of milk from time to time if they get a bit too full because of reflux. Hence the 47 muslins artfully draped around most households with varying degrees of spat up stuff / snot encrusted into them!
For most babies no one would ever notice (apart from the spewing) but for a fair few this reflux is a bit ouchy for the little ones because their stomach acid will inconveniently pop up rather than just a bit of milk! Unsurprisingly this is about as comfortable for the baby as it is when parents have to cram their buttocks into miniature seats during parents evenings for 30 minutes.
Anyway, that’s enough Blue Peter science for now! Why am I talking about reflex I hear you ponder? Because it segways perfectly into some humorous baby memories of course!! And when I say ‘humorous’ I do very much mean humorous in retrospect.
At the time it was about as much fun as watching back-to-back episodes of Dora. Yes the Dora that stares at you with her demonic bovine eyes, reaching into the darkest depths of your soul, stamping on your spirit, beating you around the head with her stupid map and saddling you with every misery in the world contained within her pissy backpack, all the while teasing you with words you don’t understand. That Dora.
We had a sneaky suspicion that little one wouldn’t sleep that well for the first few months. After all, pretty much every person we spoke to during pregnancy told us that we would never sleep ever again until our dying day. What we hadn’t quite anticipated though was the extent of this lack of sleeping and the volume and consistency of the associated screaming. It was really something! Watching the little one in persistent back-arching, tongue-curling, red-faced full-on blood-curdling scream mode was horrible, especially when nothing we tried to do to help seemed to make much difference.
The doctor said it was colic and reflux and we tried lots of different things. There was a lot of Infacol flying around, a good deal of propping up the cot action, my special colic holding technique was used a lot with varying degrees of success and we did a shed load of driving around the streets of Reading in the early hours of the morning!
Effectively the little one would scream solidly from 7pm to 11pm every night and they were sad times!
Somewhere in the midst of this virtual shit storm came an actual shit storm. The doctor had prescribed a miserable substance called Ranitidine to help with the reflux. It made virtually no impact on the wailing but one morning at stupid o’clock I was changing his nappy in typical bleary-eyed fashion when little one’s exposed bum projectile shitted a 45 degree flume with such force that if I’d had been down the business end I could have lost an eye!
It plastered walls, carpets, furniture, windows, passing motorists and (if I were American) the whole of a 3 block radius. It was reminiscent of that scene in The Exorcist when Linda Blair’s vomiting head rotated but much more scary.
I remembered calmly shouting out ‘Sarah, I might need a bit of help cleaning up in here’ as she waded in through the knee high swamp of excrement that had engulfed his nursery, similar in appearance to the chocolate river in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
It was a special time. Suffice to say there was no more Ranitidine used in our house after that biohazard incident.
Fortunately we discovered swaddling, I perfected my colic hold and we started to enjoy our scenic moonlight car tours of Reading, so gradually everything settled into place. Since then he’s been a lovely little sleeper on the whole, but those dark days will haunt me forever…