Silent Reflux

Silent Reflux Consultation, if you are unsure if your child has silent reflux, or if you are still trying to manage silent reflux do give me a call..

Silent Reflux is a very distressing condition for everyone concerned in looking after baby or child with silent reflux. Silent reflux often goes undiagnosed, leaving everyone very distressed. Silent reflux is called silent reflux because many of the symptoms are silent. Baby often puts on weight rapidly, and will spend parts of the day happy and settled, and is often not a sicky baby,however for no apparent will suddenly become unsettled and cry for long periods, with no way being settled.

Mums often lose their confidence and self esteem, and dread going out as they are not sure when baby is going to start crying.

Both parents are exhausted due to lack of sleep, ‘my baby won’t sleep for more than forty five minutes at a time’ or ‘my baby will only sleep lying on me!’

Some mums display signs similar to post natal depression, brought on through lack of sleep, confidence and self esteem.

I am passionate about helping parents to manage this distressing condition, and managed well you will have a good sleeper !

Top ten signs your chid may be suffering from SILENT reflux, (remember these are only guidelines and you must go and talk to your GP or Health Visitor, you should never self diagnose)


  1. Very unsettled feeder, often from birth,bobs on and of breast or bottle. Squirmy and crying out while feeding. May feed for short burst then bob of teat or breast, reluctant to return to feeding.
  2. Feeding constantly, very little gaps between feeds.
  3. Rapid weight gain due to constant feeding.
  4. Lots of comments on how alert they are and what great head control your child has.
  5. Farting more than burping as often very difficult to wind.
  6. Prefers to sleep on you than to lie in crib, changing mat etc, screaming each time you try to lie them down.
  7. Gurgling, rumbling sounds coming from tummy, often just as you start to feed or when you pick up in the middle of the night.
  8. Explosive strong smelling nappies.
  9. You child looks like they are frowning and have a serious little face!
  10. Sneezing or hiccupping a lot!

Case Study of a One Year old with undiagnosed silent reflux

Oliver has just turned 1 year old and ever since he was born has only slept through the night (from 11pm to 6am) a handful of times. Having tried most sleep training methods and being told when he is on solids he will be fine, when he is 8 months he will be fine, when he starts nursery he will be fine and yet at 11 months we were still getting woken up on average 3 times a night with Oliver only settling if we took him in a drink of water and he was waking earlier and ealier every morning; with my return to work pending I reached the point of desperation and called Linda…….

Linda asked me several questions on the phone and to my surprise rather than putting him straight into a sleep training program, she told me she thought he had Silent Reflux. From birth he was very hicuppy, even in the womb, he found it difficult to latch on and feed well, we thought he was just a fussy feeder, and he was quite windy as a small baby. We visited a cranial osteopath we were told he had a tight digestive system and he slept with his neck stretched out, which Linda said was another sign of possible silent reflux..

Linda suggested that we pay a visit to the GP and discuss reflux. The GP agreed that Oliver could have reflux, and  prescribed Oliver Infant Gaviscon. Linda also pointed out that certain foods could aggravate reflux so we should remove certain foods that coud trigger reflux such as cheese, tomatoes, jars or pouches of baby foods with ascorbic acid in them, citrus fruits, apple, and chocolate and keep a food & sleep diary.

It took 4 days for the Infant Gaviscon to take effect and we started to see improvements in Oliver’s sleeping habits; however we still needed to deal with his water habit and early waking. .

When he was about 4/5 months old, to get rid of the night time milk feeds we had watered down his formula to the point where he was only having water however we now had the problem where he was only settling once he had been given water – Linda explained that Oliver’s need of water  or a feed when he woke had probably become a habit, but was also probably due to the fact that the water was now helping to ease the discomfort Oliver was feling due to silent reflux.

I have always tried to keep Oliver in a fairly good routine, but gradually as well as waking up all lnight he had started to wake up earlier and earler in the morning.

Oliver liked to have a long sleep in the morning and he was still sleeping for sometimes 2 hours and then an hour after lunch.

He was still having the dream feed as I didn’t want to remove this until we he was at least consistently sleeping from 11pm – 6am.

To deal with early morning waking Linda suggested that we start to slowly cut back his morning sleep to 15 minutes (and it should be on the go)  and a maximum of 2 hours after lunch. This took quite a few days considering he was sometimes still sleeping for 2 hours in the morning  however he eventually got used to it and is now waking himself in the morning after 20 minutes (I am waking him after 15 minutes when I can) and sleeping for at least 2 hours in his cot after lunch ( I am having to wake him quite often).  Linda also suggested we started using the ‘magic light’ to help Oliver understand when it was time to get up in the morning. Oliver was not to get up before 6.30am when the magic light would come on … Oliver now waits happily until his magic light comes on, babbling or even sleeping right through to 7am!

The next steps were to remove the dream-feed, to wean him off the Gaviscon and to re-introduce the foods we had eliminated. To remove the dream feed we reduced his bottle down to 3oz of milk for 3 nights and then were to remove it completely. This took longer than expected partly due to Oliver protesting wildly and me not being 100% ready to deal with his protests and partly due to the fact that it coincided with a heat wave which Oliver doesn’t cope well with. I had also started giving Oliver some water as I felt he was thirsty due to the heat. Linda advised that he didn’t need the water (and that we would go back to where we started with his water habit) and that it would be better to continue to give him the dream feed until we were 100% ready to remove it. We tried again a week later – the 1st night he murmured a couple of times but slept through, we then had a couple of nights where he was unsettled but we persevered and another week later he has now been sleeping through for the last few nights 7 – 7! J

In parallel we have been reducing the Gaviscon by taking away the one at lunchtime and monitoring him, then the one which coincided with his dream feed and then halving the one at breakfast before removing completely. We are still giving the one at tea-time while we start to re-introduce one eliminated food every 3 days and monitoring how he reacts.

We still have a little bit of work to do in terms of completely weaning him off Gaviscon and re-introducing the foods we had eliminated, however given where we were, we have made tremendous progress in terms of diagnosing Oliver’s silent reflux, removing the dream feed and the ultimate goal having him sleep through the night!  I am now back at work and feel that I can now feasibly cope with a job which a couple of months ago would have been inconceivable.

It has been a challenging journey however with Linda’s guidance being there at the end of the phone to keep us on the straight and narrow we have been able to all get a good night’s sleep – thank you Linda!

My tips for helping make your child more comfortable.

  1. Speak to your GP about medication available for reflux.
  2. Some medications for reflux can make your child constipated so from day one of starting medication offer your child plenty of fluids, I recommend making up a bottle of a prune juice mixture, two ounces of natural prune juice to four ounces of water, try to get as much into your chid as possible in a day, otherwise just plain boiled water.
  3. Watch your diet if you are breast feeding, and if your child is weaned, both of you avoid, tomatoes, citrus fruits, apples, ‘windy’ foods such as parsnips, brussel sprouts and lentils.
  4. Keep a food diary, again for both of you (if you are breastfeeding), this is the best way to see what makes your child unsettled.
  5. Try not to over feed your child, keep feeds little and often, every two and a half to three hours during the day, is a good guide line if your baby is not weaned. Night times try to make them wait for three to four hours, or longer if they will let you!
  6. Babies with reflux tend to have a strong gag reflex, so once you start weaning make sure you keep offering finger foods, to help them overcome their gag reflex. Often babies  and toddler with reflux, prefer finger foods.

9 Month Old with Silent Reflux; Case Study

We contacted Linda after 9 months of very little sleep with our second daughter. Maya had never fed or slept well since birth & had various issues of wind, colic & lack of desire to feed. We’d sought help from our GP & Health Visitor but no avail. We already have a 3 year old who’d fed & slept well from 6 weeks so we knew it wasn’t what we were doing. Whenever we tried to feed Maya she would scream hysterically & try to turn away from the bottle. Feeding her in public was impossible as everyone would stare at you wondering what on earth you were trying to do to her. It was so stressful & upsetting for everyone. She was however not a sicky baby after feeding. She had to sleep in her Moses basket or pram as she never settled in her cot. She had foul & explosive green nappies & constant drooling from birth despite no teeth still at 9 months. Maya was also seen by a paediatric dietician who diagnosed dairy & milk protein intolerance. Maya was put on to specialised formula & a dairy free diet which did slightly improve things and meant she would at least drink some formula as previously she had gone 48 hours with no milk or food! She did still continue to scream on occasion when attempting to feed her.

Some nights she would be up most of the night screaming constantly then eventually exhausted would fall asleep for 30 minutes. She then began waking our other daughter who had never had any sleep issues.

When we contacted Linda she took a detailed history of all Maya’s major life events & issues since birth. She also looked at her daily routine. She took into account all the things we had tried & all the worried we had about changing anything in our routine. Very quickly Linda confirmed a suspicion I’d previously had but it was dismissed by the GP, that Maya had silent reflux. Linda suggested Gaviscon initially and a plan for what to do with Maya through the night. We started the Gaviscon that day & have never looked back. It took a few nights to notice the difference but it’s been amazing. Maya’s a much more contented baby all round & even put on 2.5 lbs in 3 weeks, which for a baby who weighed 15 lbs at 9 months is fantastic. She still has the night wakening sometimes but without the hysterical crying we had before and now we have a plan as to how to deal with it. Usually she’s back asleep within an hour maximum which is a big improvement from hours of being awake.

It’s changed our life as a family & more importantly for Maya as she’s happy & pain free.

We’d recommend Linda’s help & advice to anyone.

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