The writer of the following letter wins our award for persisting despite all the paid ‘experts’ being against her:

My 13 month-old son has had silent reflux (just weaned him off losec now), and yet still has bad gastro problems - excessive burping, difficulty swallowing/coordination with swallow and breathing, tummy aches (frequent back arching, screaming and night waking all the time). My paed has recommended an immunologist but reading your website it seems we need to do a diet approach for intolerances.

I have always been careful with my diet as I breastfed him avoiding foods that were known to cause wind. I even saw a dietitian out of desperation when he was a little babe - who took my money and told me breastmilk is not affected by what Mum eats. My instincts told me otherwise. I know that strawberries, tomatoes, stock, gravy (to some extent), sausages (two nights in a row), citrus, onion and ham produces bad painful gastro reactions in him. Yet despite avoiding these, our problems still continue. If we eat out, guaranteed he will have a bad night in the next 24 hrs and bad poos for days after. My son has never had a normal poo - even on breastmilk. Acid smell is very common, and it produces the worst nappy rash I've ever seen with skin completely gone and large patches of exposed sores.

Two weeks later …

In the two weeks since I first emailed you from sheer desperation, I almost cry every time I think about how my little son's severe gastro problems have so simply and easily disappeared. He slept through the night 48 hrs from our first meal of chicken fried in golden syrup with pasta (the only quick makeshift meal I could make the first night after I emailed you!). His reactions of reflux, pain in tummy, badly burnt bottoms (v. extreme), excessive night waking and festy burps have all disappeared!!!! I have spent the past 13 months in a sleep deprived land (lasting on about 4 random hours a night on average), with my daughter not getting much quality mum attention and my husband declaring ‘no more, this is it re: kids’.

Now I have a son who in two weeks has spoken five extra words, gained 600g weight, sleeps hard, eats hard, plays hard (every mum's dream), plus two new teeth - and generally very alert, smart, and most of all, wakes from his sleep playing in his cot – no screaming. Two days after I started with that first crude meal I woke in the morning to hear his toy whizzing around, and not him – a dark cloud just physically lifted from my body and I just knew this was the last piece of the
puzzle of our long journey. I continued the diet from the info on your internet site and saw the dietitian you mentioned. The other amazing thing is that my husband is a completely different man (see story [630] ‘No need for Beyond Blue due to diet’).

I have now seen three dietitians, three paed's and a whole swank of GPs. I could have saved my son months and months of pain and high levels of losec medication. The medical profession has a lot to answer for, not listening to Mum's intuition. We had attended a feeding clinic where they have sessions with a dietitian, speech pathologist, and child health nurse (3 with you and bub) to work out reflux issues. My son had all three problems - still has swallow/coordination problems, and is very very cautious with food textures. So I spent most my time in these clinics (been 3 times already) talking diet - and you know I remembered this morning out of nowhere that the dietitian in these clinics did say something like: ‘tomatoes, strawberries, stock - yes they contain salicylates, ahh but you don’t need to worry about that. That's too much detail.’ I did question her again on it, but I forgot what the 'salicylate' word was at our next visit and ended up sounding stupid. I was nearly there with my list of existing reacting foods but did not have the expertise to link them together. I thought it was acids affecting my son and sugar affecting my husband. Oh well. Move forward. At least I have my husband back again and a gorgeous boy we can all enjoy. :) – Fiona, ACT