It's been kind of a long week at our house. Ben started getting fussier at the end of last week and crying during/after feedings over the weekend. I took him to the pediatrician on Tuesday and got the expected diagnosis of acid reflux. Basically, as I understand it, the muscle between the esophagus and stomach isn't mature in babies until about 6 months old, so it doesn't always close all the way, allowing stomach acid to come back up and irritate the esophagus. This makes for very unhappy babies who cry. Crying further exacerbates the irritated esophagus, so it sets up a vicious circle. Reflux usually shows up around this age, and lasts until about 6 months for most affected babies.
Ben is now on liquid Zantac twice a day; there are other meds available if this doesn't work, but the doc recommended starting with Zantac. Unfortunately, it takes 5-7 days to really see results, so while we've seen some decrease in Ben's crying episodes around feeding time, he is still uncomfortable and inconsolable at times. We have tried a variety of interventions to calm him down, with varying results, including:
- Car rides
- Walk in the stroller
- Carrying him in the Snugli front carrier
- Playing piano
- Bath (this was not well received!)
Hopefully the Zantac will kick in soon and make our little guy feel better! He really was unhappy about taking it at first but seems to be getting used to the taste and is much more cooperative. We also learned that it is much more effective to give him a little bit at a time rather than the whole 2 mL at once, which led to spitting out a good deal of it. Oops!
We also got confirmation that Ben is growing. Ben is a whopping 12 pounds, 13 ounces at 5.5 weeks, which is 95th-97th percentile! Both the doctor and nurse looked at his weight and said, "Well, obviously the reflux & spitting up aren't interfering with him eating!" They didn't measure his length, but the doctor commented that he looked long/tall as well. He goes back in for his 2 month appointment (and shots - yikes!) on the 26th, so we will see how he is measuring then.
Ben has started smiling a little, especially when I sing to him in the morning while I'm getting him dressed. I read a couple of books to him this morning after giving him his medication, and he was calm and attentive. He has also discovered the mobile in his Pack 'n' Play and can track the movement for several seconds with rapt attention. One of our week-by-week baby development books said something about babies no longer getting into the fetal position as much around this time. Ben has apparently not gotten this memo yet, as he frequently curls up into balls and other uncomfortable-looking positions. Note that in the following picture, that little khaki circle near his chin is actually his socked foot.