In my mid-20s we had our first daughter Melina. She was a blessing and a JOY. She was also a horrible refluxer. We immediately began acid reflux boot camp as we started our journey on the reflux roller coaster. It was hard, it was scary and it often gives parents pause when considering having more children.
While it is not possible to predict which children will or will not have reflux as infants there are things you can do to limit the chance of it occurring. Most of these changes involve making sure you are healthy before you get pregnant and that you have a healthy pregnancy. This is because infants who are born prematurely or who have certain birth defects also have a higher percentage of acid reflux.
Even the perfect pregnancy and healthiest mama can still have an infant with reflux. There does seem to be a genetic component as well. This is why many second time parents are nervous if their first baby was a refluxer. All I can tell you is that we have been there too
Our twins were born three years after Melina. One of them (Ella) had severe reflux and one (Ava) did not. The difference was that when Ella started showing symptoms we knew right away what the problem was. We had a good relationship with a GI, we knew all of the tips and tricks and had all the benefit from the time we spent soothing our first refluxer to help our second. I am not going to lie and tell you that it was easy, parenting never is but even though Ella’s reflux was much worse than Melina’s it was much easier to deal with.
If you are on the fence and desperately want another child but aren’t sure you can survive another reflux baby consider this" The time when they are tiny doesn’t last long. If you’ve done it once then you have the skills to handle it should it happen again. My girls are 10 and 7 now. Looking back, I would do it all again in an heartbeat to have these beautiful girls. Once you are off the rollercoaster and can breathe again, I imagine you will say the same thing.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.