Reflux and colic are topics that are close to my heart. My first son was an extremely unsettled and fractious baby. He cried often, he slept little and he fed all the time. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and also quite angry. I felt like everyone else was managing with their babies and yet I could barely make it out the house and when I did my baby would cry and cry. I think we used the bassinet part of the buggy about five times, he hated lying down in it so much that I just constantly wore him in a sling. When I discussed my son’s irritability with health professionals, family or friends everyone said the same thing; ‘babies cry, it’s normal’ or ‘babies don’t sleep, what did you expect’. It basically felt like I was the problem, like I wasn’t coping with the demands of a baby. Since having my second I look back on that time and feel such sadness. I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right. Yet didn’t know what help to access or how to find it. Since having my second baby I have realised how wonderful the new-born phase can be. The pure joy of being able to meet your babies needs. Of caring for a contented, happy baby. I missed out on so much first time round and in turn that affected my relationships with those around me and my mental health too. If only I had found someone like Iona from the Reflux Room. Her non-judgemental, family-centred approach is just what I needed during those difficult early days.
Welcome Iona! Thank you for contributing to our blog. Tell us a little more about you and what you do!
Hello my name is Iona and I run the reflux room. This is a holistic approach to addressing
reflux for babies suffering with it. I am trained to look at pregnancy, birth, feeding,
symptoms and behaviours and by assessing everything find the root cause of reflux. I then
offer both short- and longer-term solutions, coping strategies and a plan to tackle the cause.
This can be small changes (the small things often help a lot!) but also bigger specialities
where required such as tongue tie assessments or osteopathy for baby. Everything is tailored for the individual baby and I explain every symptom so that parents are targeting the cause and not having to try everything in vain. I support parents every step of the way.
Can you tell us what the terms ‘colic’ and ‘reflux’ mean and how do couples know If they have a baby with one of these?
So, reflux is defined as involuntary regurgitation of the stomach contents. This can mean
baby is vomiting a lot or that they swallow contents back down (silent reflux) which can be a
bit harder to spot. Colic is defined as crying for at least 3hrs a day for at least 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks with an unknown cause (NHS). I believe that colic is actually just a word for unknown pain and often after 12 weeks babies with colic are rediagnosed as having reflux. If baby is vomiting more than parents think is normal (regardless of weight gain or not) or is unsettled to the point that they are nearly impossible to calm to sleep or feed, I would
consider reflux and looking at the symptoms as a whole picture. There is a free symptom tracker liked on my website with over 80 symptoms to look at so this could help parents understand what is going on for baby initially. It is a very complex issue.
What got you interested in working with families coping with reflux and colic?
I got involved in working with babies only recently and it was a surprise to be honest. My
baby Aila, who is now 9 months was so unsettled as a newborn that she almost never slept
and had to be held 24hrs a day. I knew there was something wrong but we didn’t feel that
we ever got to the bottom of it. She was medicated eventually for reflux and on prescription
milk for an allergy but still screamed for hours a night. I was so exhausted and fed up and eventually found The Baby Reflux Lady, Aine Homer and I read her book. It seemed to be common sense to look at finding the cause of Aila’s reflux and so we had a consultation for her. I was so sceptical to be honest as I thought we had tried everything. It was the best thing I have ever done. We found her cause (allergy and a tongue tie) and made changes immediately and within 8 weeks we’re reflux and medication free! I then just had to train myself to help others and spread the word. I was so amazed at the pages and pages of info on her symptoms and thought it was some kind of magic!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love being able to support families in something that I have been through myself. Being
able to take the time to listen to their concerns and then provide them answers is amazing.
The results I have seen so far are brilliant and I’m so happy to help parents enjoy their babies
Do you have any words of wisdom for couples expecting their first babies in regard to what
to expect and when to be concerned?
Only try and do one thing per day, even if that is a wee walk or getting a coffee. Don’t try to
do too much. I think trusting your instincts as a parent is also super important. Aila was screaming for hours a day (18 hrs was the worst!) And despite being told by many health professionals that she was fine, I always thought there was something wrong. So, you know your baby best and keep pushing and speaking to people if you don’t agree with the answers you are given.
And how can parents cope if they have a baby with reflux or colic? What are some strategies
they can implement to make things little more manageable?
This is something I talk a lot about in my consultations but some general points to help. Find
what keeps your baby comfortable and do that as much as you can. If they love the sling
then try to use that, the car or buggy can also be favourites for babies with reflux as motion
helps soothe them. Secondly, ask for help. It is so difficult for your mental health dealing with an unsettled baby in pain so please accept help if someone wants to take baby for an hour, even if they are screaming! Your friend or family dont have it 24/7 so they can deal with it while you get a rest. Lastly, skin to skin can help soothe and calm baby and can be used any time by a carer. It doesn’t need to be mum just after birth. It’s a powerful tool!
How can parents get in touch with you if they need to?
My website is https://therefluxroom.com/ or there are lots of hints and tips on my social media @therefluxroom.
Drop me a Dm or my email is email@example.com
I’m always happy to have a chat or listen if parents are struggling
Thank you Iona!! What great advice. I only wish you had been on hand three years ago!