Infant Reflux – A Pain in the Neck!
Reflux – it’s a pain in the neck – literally! Although quite common in babies and children, reflux is not something that should be taken lightly. In fact, living with this disease is often nothing short of a nightmare for all involved. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not just talking about the average baby who happily spits up after their feeds and creates a bit of extra washing. The kind of reflux I mean is a lot more than that and is referred to as Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease or GORD.
To the families and sufferers of GORD it means many things. For a baby suffering from this disease it can mean terrible pain, sleeplessness, excess wind, a sore tummy, difficulty feeding, constant crying/screaming and generally feeling pretty miserable. For the parents of these children it can mean sleepless nights, exhausting days, a sense of helplessness, self-doubt and the heart-break of seeing your beloved baby in pain day in, day out.
Despite the fact that GORD is very common, it is often difficult to get a timely diagnosis and effective treatment and this is very frustrating for parents. There are also many complications that may arise along the way including feed refusal, an inflamed oesophagus, failure to thrive, developmental delays, hospital stays and many more. All of these things are extremely difficult to deal with and friends and family often just don’t understand the magnitude of the situation.
It is not uncommon to hear mums of reflux babies saying things like “This is not how it was meant to be”, “I felt unbelievable grief” or “everyone else has beautiful babies and mine just cries all the time”. It is very difficult to cope with the challenges a child with GORD can bring and very difficult to find support and advice.
The Reflux Infants Support Association (RISA) is an organisation of volunteers who provide everyday support to parents and families dealing with GORD. The volunteers have children with reflux. They understand the challenges. You are not alone! Being a member of RISA has many benefits – it provides an outlet for members to talk about problems, regular newsletters, telephone and email support, a free library service, online advice from other parents with experience in dealing with reflux and, above all, is a community of people who understand when nobody else does.
To find out more about RISA, or if you would like to join, please visit www.reflux.org.au.