Every year, out of the 4 million babies born in the United States, 25 percent will suffer from infant acid reflux disease. This disease is the most often misdiagnosed and undiagnosed disease with severe consequences and strain upon the entire family system. From the psychological impact on a new mom to the emotional disconnection to other children in the family to the lack of intimacy amongst the marital system, no one remains unscathed.
From both a chemical and genetic standpoint, a mother and her baby need the early, formative months after birth for connection. This is imperative for attachment and bonding to be healthy and for it to continue into the latter stages of a child’s life into the adulthood years. Without this bond, the mother-baby relationship suffers tremendously.
When a mother knows her baby is suffering, it leads to feelings of mother’s guilt, postpartum depression, anger and isolation. Even more serious consequences include disconnection from her baby or worse yet, suicidal thoughts. A mother’s innate ability to soothe her newborn is non-existent (by no fault of her own) due to infant acid reflux disease. She sees and hears her baby screaming and suffering in pain, but can’t ease it. She isn’t even sure what the pain is or how to correct it. For women, it’s in their DNA to want to connect, nurture and love their child. She feels helpless. From not eating to not sleeping, the psychological stress from the disconnection between the mom and her baby has serious consequences upon the entire family unit.
Failure to Thrive
For a mom, not seeing her child thrive, prosper and be happy weighs on her mental state. The bond of the mom-infant relationship is psychologically affected due to infant acid reflux. If a baby is not feeding then the very intimate experience of receiving nourishment from mom becomes disconnected. When a child reacts negatively because of the pain associated with eating, it can have an impact on the mom. When the mom is trying to nurture and connect with the baby and the child is screaming in pain, back arching, pushing away, it becomes an extremely difficult time instead of an intimate time.
The emotional impact on the entire family, including the husband and children is another huge problem. The other children aren’t getting their needs met either. Whether seeing their parents fighting or the lack of sleep because of their crying sibling. Perhaps the other children aren’t performing well in school or feel neglected.
Time with other family members and friends is limited too. It is quite common for a mom to isolate. Also, oftentimes, friends and other family members don’t want to come and visit. Date nights become non-existent because it’s difficult finding help or babysitters who are able to deal with a crying baby. Moms who previously worked before pregnancy no longer can work because daycare centers won’t be able to care for these babies. All of this eventually places a huge financial strain on the household.
Infant acid reflux impacts every aspect of life. There’s a tremendous amount of guilt from the mom. They can’t connect and they think it’s their fault. These moms internalize that their babies hate them. The first precious year of life, those moments with a newborn, can’t be replaced. The intense, all-so-important bonding and connective times can’t be replaced. Sadly, not only are these infants going to experience the long-term physical effects but also emotional and psychological ones too. Regarding the marital relationship, divorce (sadly) is often the outcome.
It is important to remember that: no one knows your baby more than you do. Although you may find different points of view regarding infant acid reflux disease, your baby’s health and ability to prosper has to be your primary concern and you have to be your baby’s advocate first and foremost. Regardless of what you are being told, your baby crying in insurmountable amount of pain isn’t normal. You shouldn’t have to wait a year to get your baby out of pain.
It’s so important to find your support system. Reach out to other moms who have experienced what you have with your little one. Find other moms to lean on as a resource. You have to choose what option is best for you and your baby. You’re not alone.
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