Reflux webchat with Alison Scott-Wright, Monday 13th February, 12-1pm

If you've got a question on baby reflux, from comfortably feeding your baby to dealing with sleepless nights, Alison Scott-Wright will be here to answer your questions in a live webchat.

Alison Scott-Wright, also known as the -Magic Sleep Fairy', is the author of bestselling book -The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan' and is a leading specialist in managing reflux. She is sponsored as an Allied Health Professional to ESPGHAN, and her work is endorsed by some of the UK's leading Paediatric Gastroenterologists. Alison can offer expert advice on recognising, dealing with and managing the symptoms of reflux, an often-undiagnosed condition that affects a baby's digestive system, causing pain and discomfort.

Join us here between 12-1pm on Monday 13th February, when Alison will be answering your reflux questions.

Don't worry if you can't make the chat then, post your question below now and Alison will endeavour to answer as many questions on the day as possible.

You can also join Alison at The London ExCeL Baby Show, 24-26 February, where she'll be talking about reflux. For more information visit:


  • Hello Alison. I have a 16 month old daughter who, from the night she was born suffered from horrendous colic and trapped wind. She was breastfed exclusively until 5 1/2 months old and I continued to BF until she was 14 months old. She has never vomited after feeding, and always gained weight well. None of the Dr's we have seen have ever diagnosed reflux but she was prescribed infant gaviscon which didnt really seem to help much. In addition to this she has never had a solid bowel movement, it is always very loose but slightly thicker than actual diarroreah. She also seems to suffer sometimes with bad breath - sometimes it smells really garlicky even if she has eaten nothing with garlic in. We were referred to a dietician who said she wasnt suffering from a food intolerance and has written to her Dr recommending referral to a paedatrician. Could she have silent reflux? Even now at 16 months old she is woken 2-3 times per night crying with the pain of trapped wind. In her whole life I think she has slept through in the region of 10 times. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.
  • Question: Hi Alison, Please kindly advise what is the best approach to start your sleep training technique with my 5-mth old baby whose always slept in my bed & is breast fed? I ask as I want to start your technique, but on pg 9 of your book you explain that "if a baby's had total contact for 4-mths, to expect him to accept a complete lifestyle change will probably be very distressing for both baby & mother". How can I make it less stressful for my baby? ????Also, should I feed him when he's been used to frequent nighttime snacking? I ask this as you mention letting the baby go hungry during night training?????

    History: (apologies for so much info!)

    Right from the????first few nights, my baby woke at least every two hours. Although I initially started laying him in a moses basket, he rarely stayed asleep longer than 10mins due to his reflexes causing him to hit the sides. I tried swaddling him but he always got his arms out of the blankets - wished I'd bought a swaddle!????As the night went on he'd end up in our bed until after a few weeks I wasn't even trying to lay him in the basket but just kept him in bed with me, as I still do. This is to enable me to get some sleep - I have mild MS hence I took "a path of least resistance" - to help to keep my MS mild! ????image Although it helps me get sleep I can only lay him next to me without him waking & crying by waiting until he is in a deep sleep. It's also meant he's got used to only sleeping on his side - mainly right side as he always wakes when I try to lay him the other side.????

    Quite early on I started a morning routine to ensure my baby had a nap. About 2hrs after awaking I????head out in the car & he normally falls asleep quickly in car, sleeping varies 30min - 1.5 hrs. I started this due to him crying when I lay him in the cot. Plus this enabled me to go out.????He normally stays awake up to 2hrs after which I try to get him to sleep again????by walking him ????in the pram or another drive; this is to ensure he has another nap without falling asleep on me. This nap lasts at the most 1.5hrs but normally about 40mins. His late afternoon nap is always on me but I'm always figgeting or needing the toilet, which rouses him. Bath is????at 7pm ish then my partner brings him to our bed for final feed at 730pm to 8pm. I go to sleep with him, as this is my best time to get any sleep!

    After Christmas I tried him in his cot again. He was now 17wks (amazing how quickly the weeks go past). On 03-Jan I tried a????'controlled crying' technique of 1, 2, 4, 8 then 16 mins gaps before going in to comfort him then re-starting at 1min. I started at midday & did this 3 times in a row but he cried throughout, so I fed & cuddled him for 2hrs before re-starting. I continued this controlled crying with more feeding & cuddles until 6pm,????but he was so distraught & sweaty & had not slept at all that I refused to continue; he was exhausted & I've never cried so much!! I decided that this technique is more suited after 6-mth if at all. My partner felt I'd given up at first hurdle and stated we needed to sort something out as????we had no relationship anymore. My partner also felt this wasnt helped by him sleeping on & off in other room before Xmas & our total lack of connection. I admit though this suited me as it's very hard when my partner is in the bed, as he makes so much (unintentional) noise that he frequently wakes our baby and with both my baby & my partner in bed I get very little sleep.????

    Over the last weeks again I've tried on and off to try & get my baby to sleep in his cot but by laying him down after he's fallen asleep just so he sleeps in the cot & hopefully gets used to waking in it. I've slept on the floor when he's been in the nursery & fed him each time he's woken but the pattern remains the same: first asleep of the night he'll sleep approx 2-hrs after which he wakes every half hour and thus I give in (as so exhausted) & go back to our bedroom. My partner, seeing me so tired, stated that maybe I shouldn't try this yet and so I stopped; it didn't take much persuasion to stay with 'our bed' routine! I tried another stab when he was 19wks & I lasted to 5am before giving up (I was quite proud of this!) Again my partner felt I was so tired I should keep him in our bed, and he decided to again sleep downstairs. So my baby is back in our bed sleeping next to me or on me (when I fall asleep before laying him next to me).????

    Another problem I've created is that as soon as he wakes in the night, to get him to fall asleep again I place him straight on my boob . He's now so used to my nipple being food & a comforter, & even though I try to prise my nipple out of his mouth as he falls asleep we can have an ongoing battle of him fighting for it again until he is asleep.

    ????I desperately want to implement your sleep technique but am waiting for my baby to be well. I wonder if I should try initially to lay him next to me semi-awake and????let him cry it out for his first sleep of the night: he will still be in our bed with me next to him. Maybe this could get him used to falling asleep - if he doesn't cry continuously - before I move him to his cot.

    I realise I have created this problem - of my baby not having learnt how to fall asleep by himself - but I want to resolve it sooner than later; I'm very concerned about his lack of good quality sleep. I don't believe he suffers with reflux, he can be very active but he eats well & generally is a very happy baby.????

    I do laugh at my predicament too - here I am with my utterly adorable baby son whose won me over at every hurdle so far. I've never cried so much before & I don't know the solution!!!!!????

    Your help & advise is so so appreciated!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  • Hi Alison,

    My 13 mo continues to be a poor sleeper having been diagnosed with silent reflux at 6 months (after I read your book and everything became so clear). We tried omeprazole for 4 weeks at about 9mo after Gaviscon and ranitidine didn't work. Altho we saw an improvement from hourly waking to 3 hourly waking it never improved beyond that and got worse again after 4 week stage. I found it really difficult to get it into him (we had the liquid form which tastes so disgusting). The Dr has said he'll refer to a paediatrician but I'm almost scared of going as I expect I'll be fobbed off as he has grown well, has just started walking etc.

    I started weaning at 6 mo as I'd wanted to BLW but in the end have done a real mixture. He was solely bf until about 10mths when I introduced a bottle during the day and at bed-time. Until a week ago he would go into his cot awake at 6.45-7ish and then wake at 9.30, again at 12-1; 3 and 5ish before waking up at 7.30. I bf him at all those times with the exception of 9.30 when he usually gets up for 20mins and he just goes rigid on me and gets very upset. He has a formula bottle then takes a while before he will go into his cot happy and awake. He is only comfortable laying with his back against me at this time. This past week he's moved to 10:30-12am waking followed by two further wakings during the night. I have noticed in the past week that he is moving around his cot much more in his sleep.

    Do you think he could still be having trouble with silent reflux? And is there anything I can do to help - I am so tired after 13 mths of broken nights sleep. He is often constipated and this often corresponds with bad nights(except at the moment as he has very loose poo and is waking to do a poo in the night).

    I can't tell whether there is any specific food intolerances - he reacts badly to blueberries and possibly green beans but I can't see any other patterns.

    I would appreciate any insight and advice you might have to offer.

    Kind regards

  • Hi Autumn_79

    thankyou for posting your question and im happy to help as it certainly seems that you have been somewhat 'dismissed' by the the other health professionals from whom you have asked for advice.

    I think it certainly sounds like your daughter has suffered from, and still has, silent reflux. From what you say about her bad breath, the poor sleep, the continual waking and crying in pain are all, to me, quite obvious symptoms of silent reflux.

    However, in this case i wonder if the silent reflux is a secondary problem and possibly caused by what sounds to be a dietary intolerance. I disagree with the Dr that said she does not have a food intolerance as quite simply, her bowel movements are not 'normal' and to me indicate an intolerance / sensitivity / allergy to either cow's milk protein and / or lactose. It is quite likely that she is intolerant to both and i would suggest you look at ways of removing both dairy and lactose from her diet.

    I would also suggest, that after doing of your own research by visiting websites such as little refluxers,, the website for neocate hydrolised formula or reading the reflux section in my book, you then go back to the Dr and insist that someone listens and take your daughter's condition seriously. You could, should budget allow, pay to go and see a paediatric gastroenterologist privately as alongside the change of diet / milk intake, I strongly suspect she is going to need some medicine - probably Omeprazole [Losec mups] to reduce the acid levels in her stomach which will help ease the pain she will be experiencing from the reflux.

    There is so much more I could tell you, but I think the above is a good starting point.

    i hope that helps and that you get some help very soon.


    A x
  • Hi Anna CC

    Thank you for posting your question and for being so open and honest about your situation and the effect that the severe sleep deprivationis having on your health, emotional well-being and your relationship. You are certainly not alone and many people suffer in the same way and just become resigned to the fact that there is no alternative - but there is!!

    Your story is not uincommon and i have helped many parents in similar situations, but the first thing i would need to get to the bottom of is WHY your little one never learned to sleep from the begining.

    I appreciate that you feel there is no reflux causing the problem, but I am not so sure and until i can be 100% sure of this then there is little i can advise with regard to using my sleep training technique.

    You see, it could well be the case that your baby is suffering from silent reflux. The reason that he has insisted on half hourly feeds throughout the night maybe his way to manage the reflux and by sucking and swallowing some of your breast milk it will help to alleviate the pain of the acid heartburn that is caused when they reflux.

    I accept that it could be he had some mild reflux at the start and this night feeding pattern is now totally habitual, but I feel uneasy about advising you to continue with or implement any sort of sleep training until we are sure your baby boy is NOT suffering from silent reflux.

    I would suggest that you re-visit the reflux chapter in my book and do some more research on the internet and maybe write down any of the symptoms he had or has now, keep a feeding diary for a few days, log and monitor his bowel movements and then seek further help and/or advice from either myself, your health visitor and / or GP.

    I hope that helps and I'm sorry not to be able to give you the magical answer to resolve the sleep problems instantaneously.


    A x
  • Hi BaldryK, katherine -

    Im so sorry to hear you are still having such troubles and your son stiil, so obviously, has some digestive issues.

    I think, from what you say that he is definitely still suffering from silent reflux and the prpoblem here is that sleep deprivation makes the reflux worse!

    Looking at the bowel problems of constipation / loose stools, i think firstly we should look at removing dairy/lacose from his diet. I doubt that he as a true 'allergy' but cow's milk protein and lactose in milk and dairy products can be quite indigestible and often go hand-in-hand wiuth the baby then having reflux like symptoms.

    I would also advise you re-introduce Omeprazole but in the form of Losec Mups and administer with some fruit puree, & once these things are in place to carry out the sleep training as I write in the book.

    It may be that the food intolerance is only mild and that being dairy-free for just a few months will help the recovery from the reflux. Alongside using the correct dose and administration of the Losec Mups you will then need to implement the sleep training to teach your little one how to sleep.

    Many times in the past I have had parents and doctors alike ask me why many babies do not seem to respond to the Omeprazole. It's quite simple to me - you cannot expect to just give the baby some medicine and for it resolve everything instantly. If you dont teach the baby to sleep then it can almost sseem like the drug has no effect at all as sleep deprivation causes the body to produce more adrenaline, anxiety and stress levels rise, the baby is then often agitated and exists with a high level of tension which all exacerbate the reflux symptoms.

    I hope that helps and answers some of your questions - it is certainly a good place from which to start getting the issues resolved.


    A x
  • Hi Alison,

    Thank you do much for taking the time to respond and give advise regarding silent reflux. I shall do as you advise and read again the chapter on reflus and do more investigation about it, as well as monitor his symptoms.

    With kind regards

  • Hi Alison,

    I'm a new mum and don't really kno anything about reflux and colic. My baby is just 3 weeks and doesn't like feeds. She seems really in pain and doesn't enjoy feeds at all. It can end in tears and I don't think that's normal?? I'm worried about her weight gain. Could this be reflux or colic and what should I be looking out for and how can I help her? I've heard people mention baby gaviscon. Can she take that at 3 weeks? I have appointment with the doctor and health visitor but any advice in the meantime would be great.

    Thanks so much!!! xx
  • Hi Alison,

    I have a 2 year old who has suffered with reflux from birth. I am happy it is under control now with meds and we have a great Paed and am happy in their care. It was difficult to get where we are as we were dismissed a lot by our GP at the beginning and so it took months for me to get my little girl out of pain. I did sleep training from your book when she was a few months old and swear by it - and have seen the detrimental effects that lack of sleep has on her wellbeing including her reflux. So my question really is, I am quite strict on routine etc because of this but am looking to move her into a bed which I am worried is going to disturb this and then make her suffer - do you have any tips on successfully moving her to a bed without too much sleep loss for her? Secondly, I am expecting our second child in the next few months and if the baby disturbs her in the night do you have any tips on the best way to deal with her being woken? I'm so scared she is going to suffer from these two things.


  • Hi Pinkypink5

    Thanks for your question, m just sorry you are experiencing such difficulties with trying to feed your baby.

    You are absolutely right - it is not 'normal'!

    Babies should be happy, calm and able to feed in a pleasant and relaxed manner, if they struggle, appear 'fussy' or cry - as you say your baby does - then there is definitely something amiss.

    In the majority of cases this does turn out to be reflux of some degree and in some description.

    Colic - in my opinion - doesn't really exist and it is a term that when used, just actually dismisses the problem altogether. if you look up colic the dictionary, it states - a non-descriptive term for severe abdominal pain!

    I get incredibly frustrated when mothers are told - "your baby has a bit of colic and don't worry, he will out grow it eventually! So in the meantime the poor baby is just supposed to accept the pain, get on with it and wait a few months for it to pass!!

    I totally disagree with this and always advise to seek further help and advice if your baby is experiencing feeding problems.

    I would suggest that in the first instance you might find the reflux chapter in my book very useful as it explains in detail what reflux is, the signs and symptoms, what you can do to help and how to manage the condition moving forward.

    Once you gain a greater understanding of the condition you may well be able to ascertain whether your baby does actually have reflux or not. it may of course, be just that you need to look at the feeding schedule you are using and get into a better pattern of structured feeds, but again all the info for this is in my book.

    If you feel your baby is displaying some of the reflux symptoms then it may well be the case that some infant gaviscon is needed and 'Yes' you can give this to a three week old baby, although you must get a proper medical diagnosis and use under the Doctors advise.

    I hope this helps and you manage to sort things out soon so you can enjoy life with your little one.


    A x
  • Hi LucyD245,

    Lovely to see your post and so happy that you found my book so useful, it's great to hear such positive feedback.

    I can definitely give you the advice you need to make the transition from cot to bed for your daughter, but will only be ale to give brief tips here today as I will not have enough time to go into great detail.

    - keep the transition low key and 'normal'. Don't keep talking about it in the days or weeks leading up to the day you nstall the bed, I find the more we sensationalise things the more likely the toddler is going to think it is a big, scary/exciting thing, instead of just a normal part of life that just happens!

    -I often advise the use of the gro-clock to help the child understand that they must stay in bed during the time that the clock shoes it is still sleepy time.

    -if they get out of bed, you use the same reassurances as before but this time just changing the phrase to "back to bed now it's sleepy time" and every time they get out you just deliver the same phrase and put them back to bed.

    -don't pick the child up and give cuddles and more goodnight kisses as you put them back to bed, just try and 'shoo'them to the bed and make them get back themselves with as little fuss and interference from you as possible.

    When your new baby arrives, don't over compensate and try not to feel guilty about upsetting your toddler. The quicker she learns to accept that baby is also part of your family the easier she will find it to adapt. If the baby happens to wake the toddler, just use the reassurances as above and stick to it, don't overcompensate and give extra cuddles etc, it's just parton life - babies do wake everyone up sometimes, but your daughter just needs to learn not to be bothered by it, accept it is normal and go back to sleep by herself.

    I do hope some of that helps and try not to worry too much about the arrival of your baby, I'm sure it will all be fine


    A x

  • Hi Allison,

    I'm not sure if my sons symptoms fall under reflux or not. He is 7 weeks old and has had great weight gain so far, just over a pound a week, which puts him at around 14 to 15lbs. He has no problems sleeping and enjoys feeding, but often spits up after meals, although burping him really well (2 to 4 times after feeds) seems to help. Apparently i had the same spit up issues as a baby.

    What is concerning to me is that in the early morning 6 to 7 am i have notice that he seems to have real difficulty with his bowel movement, he seems like he's really struggling and uncomfortable. He really grunts and sometimes cries. I usually try to help him by doing the bicycle movements & circular movement with his legs to try to help. I am wondering if this is due to the lack of gravity helping him along? Or could it be a larger issue?

    Thank you for any advice you can give image
  • Alison has signed off from her webchat for the day. Thanks to all those who posted questions.

    Don't forget, Alison will be talking about reflux at the London ExCeL Baby Show, 24-26 February. For more information, and to book yourself a ticket, visit:
  • Thanks for your reply, Alison - I really am grateful.

    I've been back to the GP today - a locom who was quite dismissive and proceeded to tell me his daughter also wakes 3-4 times a night. He wouldn't give me the Losec mups, apparently my son looks perfectly happy!!! But, thankfully my normal GP had put a note on my sons record to say that they would refer us to a paediatrician. So, hopefully we'll have a useful consultation with them next week.

    We've gone dairy free today, so fingers crossed.

Sign In or Register to comment.

Featured Discussions

Promoted Content