Our Story

Our Story with Reflux and Picky Eating

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When Elliot was about 3 months old, he started spitting up after eating. Actually, it wasn’t just after eating, it was ALL. THE. TIME.

Having absolutely no experience with babies prior to this, we thought it was normal. All babies spit up, right??

reflux and picky eating - happy baby after feeding

All smiles after the morning feeding.

When the spitting up is out of control…

Elliot’s weight gain slowed down, because he was spitting up almost half of his breastmilk in between feedings. We were constantly wiping the floor, the couches, the crib, the swing, rug, the carrier, the stroller, the car seat. Spit up was everywhere. Extra bibs and burp cloths were all over the apartment. Elliot lived with a bib on during the day. Most of his baby pictures are with a bib (or I am holding the bib behind my back just for the picture, ready to put it on ASAP before he ruins another outfit).

reflux and picky eating - baby with bib

Bibs, bibs, bibs!

Every time someone wanted to hold Elliot, I had to wrap that person up in a protective layer of burp cloths and blankets, because he would surely spit up all over their clothes.

Laundry was getting out of control with 3-4 outfit changes per day. Some playdates ended abruptly once other moms saw how much Elliot spit up. I was starting to lose my mind. (Little did I know parenting only gets harder! Haha oh joy…)

We started googling for answers (as all new parents do, right??) and there are a ton of websites out there with information. This article about Reflux from Baby Centre is pretty thorough. The more we read about reflux and GERD, the more convinced we were to see a doctor.

We were so far from giving Elliot solid food that we didn’t even think about any connection between reflux and picky eating in the future, but we knew we wanted to do something about the constant spit up now.

Seeing a Gastroenterologist for Reflux

We went to see a GI specialist, who pretty much told us this is common, and most kids stop spitting up by the time they are 1 year old. It will “slow down once he starts sitting and walking.”

Well, that’s good, I guess? But frustrating that there wasn’t much that could be done about it at the time.

Medication for Reflux

We got a prescription for Zantac. When that had no effect, we got a prescription for Nexium.

We did all the right things – feed Elliot slowly and feed small amounts at a time, burp Elliot, hold Elliot upright after eating, elevate his crib mattress, don’t put on tight pants, etc., etc.

reflux and picky eating - holding baby upright after feeding

Keeping Elliot upright after feedings was daddy’s job, mama did her part already.

Nothing really helped.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Eventually the spit up did slow down. And even stopped after he turned one. By the time he was 15 months old, he only spit up a tiny amount once every few weeks.

Thank goodness.

reflux and picky eating

Look ma! I can go upside down without spitting up my whole lunch!

But I still wish I had the answers to the following questions:

  • Did we give Elliot unnecessary medication since it didn’t help? Or did the medication actually prevent it from getting even worse?
  • Could we have saved $500 by skipping the doctor since the spitting up went away on its own anyway?
  • Since I was nursing, should I have stopped eating milk, beans, broccoli, wheat, etc., etc.? The doctors told me I didn’t have to, but I do wonder if I was being selfish by not trying that.
  • Did Elliot’s continuous reflux and spitting up for many many months lead to a food aversion?
  • Did his reflux have a physical or emotional effect on his desire to eat?
  • Would I not be here writing about my picky eating toddler if he never went through this?

I’ll never know.

reflux and picky eating

Did your baby have reflux or spitting up issues? How did you deal with it? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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