Back arching/throwing head back in 9 week old. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 04-10-2009, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a first time mama of a 9 week old boy. Since birth (a traumatic one, including 30 hours of mostly non-progressive labor, a c/s, general anesthesia for me, and ascynclitic (head crooked) presentation for him), he has done a few concerning things. I'm wondering if they're connected and if anyone else has seen these things. Any or all could be connected, or not -having a newborn is such a guessing game!:

1) Even in the bassinet at the hospital, he slept with his head tilted back and his back arched. When held, he often throws his head back and arches, and does this vigorously when upset. He'll fall asleep in my lap in a c-curve (backward).

2) He had some sucking/latching issues, so our lc sent us to an osteopath. She's been treating his head/neck, but I don't see a huge improvement yet. She's mentioned tightness in his neck and shoulders. Fam doc gave us a prescription today for phys. therapy for this.

3) He does a gaspy/chokey sound, like the back of his throat is closing and he's gasping for breath. Doc. says it's a common newborn sound and he'll outgrow it. But common doesn't mean normal...

4) I wouldn't call him colicky, but he does his fair share of upset crying for no apparent reason. Put it this way, we've spent the last three nights in the car, driving around when nothing else, including bf would work.

5) He can be fussy at the breast, and lately has taken to feeding for only 5-8 minutes. A pre/post weight with the lc says he's getting quite a lot. It's not a snack, he'll go for a couple hours to the next feeding.

Ahh. So, thoughts? Experiences? Am I concerned over just "newborn stuff" or is this something? He's gaining well, seems happy and content during the day time for the most part, but exhibits these behaviors after eating, when it's time to go down for a nap (20-30 minutes after eating), and in the evening.

TIA.

Married to my best friend for 9 years. Loving being at home with my busy boy. Praying for a vbac.gif next time around!
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#2 of 22 Old 04-11-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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The only one that sounds worrisome for me is #1, and probably the stiffness you describe in #2. All of the others are issues we had with one or more of my kids, and they're all fine. But #1 seems really odd to me. My kids did often arch and throw their heads back when they were upset, but they didn't fall asleep that way.

Back arching during a feeding or after a feeding is a common symptom of reflux. That might be worth checking out.

I would also keep a close eye on the rate at which he acquires gross motor skills like head control, rolling, and sitting. Sleeping while in a C curve kinda rings alarm bells for me for muscular or developmental problems. Does he seem overly stiff or floppy to you? Is his cry very shrill, or very weak?

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#3 of 22 Old 04-11-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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Maybe try a chiropractic adjustment? That would help, I imagine, with the neck stiffness, and certainly could help if there's reflux. The gasping, arching and crying all sound like reflux, though of course it could be something else.

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#4 of 22 Old 04-11-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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hang in there mama! i agree with PP that the only one that sounds unusual is #1. we also had a difficult labor and delivered via c-section. my dd had torticolis and we did 10 weeks of physical therapy. her back arching and head throwing also worried me early on but she's outgrown it completely and is a happy baby now. it sounds like he's gotten the hang of breastfeeding. as for the worrying, it never really goes away. it's just part of being a parent (a good one anyway). he's probably fine and if he's not, the best thing to do is keep a level head (get as much sleep as you can), keep an eye on him and keep yourself educated. sounds like you're doing great... good luck!

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#5 of 22 Old 04-11-2009, 04:26 PM
 
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Agree that the only one that sounds unusual is #1. My son (same age as yours) has really bad reflux and has all the rest of the symptoms you describe. We had to start him on medicine last week for the reflux and feeding/colic issues have improved greatly since then. Hang in there!
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#6 of 22 Old 04-11-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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I agree with the previous posters.

I think he is exhibiting classic signs of reflux- back arch, raspy sounds from throat, cannot be comforted, etc. So, I would speak with your family practicioner about trying some meds to help him.

I would also see a chiroporactor for what you described in #1 and keep an eye on it as he gets older.

Leah- wife to Chris : SAHM to Henry (03/06)and to Evelyn : (06/08). She is our heart attack survivor at 3.5 weeks and went on to have open heart surgery at 5 weeks for Coarctation of the Aorta.
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#7 of 22 Old 04-11-2009, 04:45 PM
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sounds like reflux... my LO is on prevacid for reflux and he has totally changed since being on it! if you're interested, i have a comprehensive list of symptoms which helped me diagnose him. let me know if you're interested and i can pm it to you!
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#8 of 22 Old 04-11-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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Around that age DS was also doing that back arching, crying, and not eating for very long. (Although he never really changed that, still only nurses 10 minutes, one side - tops)

I did a combination of things - I think some of his fussiness was due to a foremilk/hindmilk issue. So, I leaned back while nursing him and sometimes hand expressed a little bit before he ate so the letdown wasn't so strong. Kellymom has a lot of information on both foremilke/hindmilk and fast letdown tips. I also continued to feed only on one side because I wanted to make sure he got the hindmilk. It seemed wrong that in the beginning DS was nursing on one side for 5 - 10 minutes every 2-4 hours...but he was growing. Now I hear storied about babies nursing 20-30 minutes on each side every 2 hours and I consider myself lucky DS was a quick eater.

My pediatrician recommended I give DS acidophilus (1/4 tsp powder dissolved in breastmilk) once a day. That helped soooooooooo much. No more reflux symptoms at all. Once he was about 4 months I would dissolve the powder in water instead of breastmilk. It was really hard for me to pump an ounce ever day (mostly because I didn't like taking the time to do it) Now, I still mix acidophilus in his applesauce or yogurt every day. I can tell when I skip a day because he gets fussier and doesn't poop.

Good luck!

Mama to three

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#9 of 22 Old 04-12-2009, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you mamas! DH had terrible reflux as a babe, I don't know why we haven't considered it more. I'll definitely look into it. We shared this symptoms with ds fam. prac, but "reflux" didn't really come up...should we try again or seek out another doc? A ped. maybe?

Mamas who have done medicine: how did you weigh the pros/cons of going the med route?

Thank you all for the reassurance and the advice. To the poster who made a comment about worrying...that's for sure! I swore I wouldn't be a high strung mama.... I need that t-shirt that says, "I was a great mom before I had kids."

Married to my best friend for 9 years. Loving being at home with my busy boy. Praying for a vbac.gif next time around!
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#10 of 22 Old 04-12-2009, 04:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merebella View Post
Thank you mamas! DH had terrible reflux as a babe, I don't know why we haven't considered it more. I'll definitely look into it. We shared this symptoms with ds fam. prac, but "reflux" didn't really come up...should we try again or seek out another doc? A ped. maybe?

Mamas who have done medicine: how did you weigh the pros/cons of going the med route?

Thank you all for the reassurance and the advice. To the poster who made a comment about worrying...that's for sure! I swore I wouldn't be a high strung mama.... I need that t-shirt that says, "I was a great mom before I had kids."

My children have been lucky and didn't suffer from reflux, but I have had a few close friends whose children did. Giving meds for reflux was a no brainer. The pain and agony the babies were in was not something to mess with. One friend had a baby who was gaining weight because she was always eating (the new milk helps to soothe the throat and keeps the stomach acids done for a short while), but my other friend's child was not gaining weight as a result (was refusing to eat very often because of the burning sensation afterwards). Also, constant untreated reflux can lead to esophagus damage from the stomach acid constantly coming up.

Leah- wife to Chris : SAHM to Henry (03/06)and to Evelyn : (06/08). She is our heart attack survivor at 3.5 weeks and went on to have open heart surgery at 5 weeks for Coarctation of the Aorta.
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#11 of 22 Old 04-12-2009, 06:38 PM
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like pp, the meds was a no brainer. LO was in so much pain, was miserable ALL the time and was nursing 24/7. I fussed w/ my diet, tried elevated sleeping, tried cereal for a few days... nothing really worked. We had him on zantac first, which worked for a few days and then stopped. the prevacid has been a blessing. he's happy, content, smiley and only eats when he's hungry.
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#12 of 22 Old 04-12-2009, 08:24 PM
 
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Does your osteo practice cranial osteopathy? If so, I'd say stick with her over a chiro - she should be able to help with reflux too.

One gorgeous solstice babe 12/08, two smitten mothers - mothering consciously with conscience and compassion. Birth & Postnatal Doula. Student Midwife. Expecting #2 November '12.

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#13 of 22 Old 04-12-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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Sorry if this was mentioned but did you try cutting out the dairy in your diet (all of it, not just milk and obvious dairy products)? That made my son so much more comfortable when he was a small baby.

HTH!
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#14 of 22 Old 04-12-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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There is some evidence that reflux meds can upset the acids in the gut and make a baby more disposed to food allergies. My older DS has severe food allergies and she said we should avoid reflux meds for future babes unless it was totally necessary (given our history). Our pediatrician also says to wait and see a bit on reflux meds. DS2 was born in January and had obvious reflux, but it's gotten WAY better on it's own within the last month. Prop up after eating and try not to let baby get overfull. Also, burp a lot longer than you might think perhaps. Good luck!
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#15 of 22 Old 04-13-2009, 01:53 AM
 
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The meds were a no brainer for us as well -- trust me, just 1 to 2 days on the medicine and you will see it is best for your baby if your LO is truly suffering from reflux. If you don't notice a dramatic difference in your LO's pain level/fussiness/ability to feed well, he probably isn't on the right medicine or isn't suffering from reflux. Your symptoms all point to reflux, though.
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#16 of 22 Old 04-13-2009, 02:12 AM
 
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Definitely some signs of reflux in there! My best advice would be to find a DO (osteopathic doctor) who is experienced in treating infants. They can explain to you how a long/difficult labor tends to compress the Vagus nerve which controlls digestion. They generally use manipulation therapy, which is similar to what a chiropractor would do- it is very gentle for babes, none of the cracking adjustments like they do on adults!
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#17 of 22 Old 04-13-2009, 11:07 AM
 
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A friend recently found out her EBF newborn has reflux. She stopped eating eggs and has seen a difference in her baby.

This is a great website about the breastfed baby and reflux. There's info under "diet" that are common offenders of reflux too:
http://www.users.qwest.net/~fsdebra1/index.html

An elimination diet might be worth a try to see if you see a difference in your DS.

Tina - mama to DD1 10.75yrs, DD2 6yrs, DD3 2.5 yrs & baby due in June 2015 and wifey to DH.
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#18 of 22 Old 04-13-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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Meds helped my ds with his pain, and chiro helped a LOT (too bad we only discovered it with #2 ), but the only thing that finally cured the reflux was eliminating dairy, soy and caffeine from my diet. Honestly: once I quit all of those, the reflux disappeared.

You can try giving some Mylanta Supreme (the one that doesn't have aluminum) as an experiment. If it helps, then chances are you're dealing with reflux.

I'd definitely still try a chiro for the neck issues, though.

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#19 of 22 Old 04-14-2009, 02:27 AM
 
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#1 sounds like Sandifer's Syndrome, if not just reflux.

My daughter had severe reflux from birth. We did not medicate, as that option does not fall within our comfort level. I took other measures, including cutting out all dairy completely, short but frequent feedings, keeping her upright, etc etc. She would choke on the boob, so when the milk would first come in at each feeding, I'd pull her away for 30 seconds or so (until the let-down wasn't so forceful), and then put her back on the boob. I ALWAYS made sure she was upright; even her sleeping area is slightly raised at an angle. I would very lightly massage her throughout the day. All those little things I did helped a lot, but I had to be diligent. I think around month three her reflux lessened dramatically.

For more information, you should check out kellymom.com. That website helped me a lot!
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#20 of 22 Old 04-17-2009, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas. Just wanted to say THANK YOU. You are the reason that I was able to put the reflux piece together. Duh, it's not that hard to figure out, but I'm a first time mama here . We just got back from the ped. who was convinced with the symptoms I shared and gave us some baby zantac. I'm not too thrilled about medicine, but as you all said, anything to help him get outta pain.

For those that did meds, how long were you/have you been on meds? What was weaning like? Did the symptoms stay away when weaned? She talked about having him on for 6-8 weeks and trying a little weaning then. What worked for you?

Thank you, again! DS says thank you, too!

Married to my best friend for 9 years. Loving being at home with my busy boy. Praying for a vbac.gif next time around!
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#21 of 22 Old 04-17-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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Hope the meds help you and your LO. Both my kids outgrew their reflux by 6mo or so. Please think about eliminating some common triggers, though--the meds help the symptoms but don't stop the reflux. In our case, that only went away once I took dairy out of my diet.

Another vote for a trip to a chiro, too. You can find one in your area here.


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#22 of 22 Old 04-18-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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Gee, I remember the days when I saw Evan in his crib sleeping with his neck tilted all the way back and I had NOOO idea why - then everything came together - bad feedings, weird gurgling in throat, unexplained crying, and my excessive Googling..I had to hold him upright ALL the time, to get him to nap..it was so sad.
We were told it was reflux and he'd grow out of it- but it got worse and worse..finally we insisted on Zantac..which definitely seemed to help! That was when he was like 2.5 mos old.
I started weaning him off at like 4 mos, just to see..and he definitely had grown out of it. He was the same off it as on it. I dont know now if its the meds that helped or just him getting older - I think for really serious cases meds shd be used - but I sometimes regret as a first time mom my rush to help him with meds..So, as far as weaning, I'd give it a try when your baby can sit up a lil more - when the milk can stay down better.
Evan's almost 6 mos old now - and the reflux that was a horror then - is gone. He's a happy lil spitter sometimes, but that's bound to happen.
GL!
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