“Leo was born a very sickly baby. From his first feed he vomited constantly.
We were advised he may have a lactose allergy, so we changed his milk to sma LF. He cried day and night with little let up during the first few weeks, which was absolutely exhausting.
“One day I noticed he had not pooed for 24 hours, so I took him to the doctors as I thought he was visibly trying - he was grunting and pushing! The doc took his temperature, which was slightly raised, and sent me home with some lactulose to aid his pooing!
“That evening he was still visibly trying to poo, with increased grunting and persistent crying. He refused his bottle and would not be held, rocked or fed. We had previously rung 111 weeks before for persistent crying and had been told ‘that’s just parenthood I’m afraid. I’m pretty sure my children cried all night at some point'. So, my husband and I thought it was just another night of him refusing to feed because of his allergy.
“It was in fact my mother who suggested we ring again. The operator asked us to take his temperature, which was 39.4 at this point. She immediately sent us to the out of hours GP.
Struggling to breathe
“Upon arriving we were rushed straight in. I explained he'd had trouble pooing, to which she explained 'Mrs Hickman, he’s not trying too poo; he’s grunting because he is struggling to breathe.' I have never felt so sick in my whole entire life. All day I had thought his difficulty breathing was him struggling to go to the toilet.
“Consequently, we were rushed to the Children’s ward in Dorchester Hospital and immediately he was assessed and given iv antibiotics. When I was asked how I realised a difference. I simply explained that I hadn’t. His screaming was completely normal to us.
“That evening we saw no less than six doctors in my little boy’s hospital room. The care and attention he had was extraordinary! My little boy was in for a further four days. During which he recovered amazingly. And because of his stay there the wonderful doctors were able to sort Leo with a more suitable cmpa milk and medication for his reflux.
“I urge anyone not to ignore persistent crying. It is not normal for a baby of that age to cry in that way or for that long - whether it be an allergy or meningitis. Leo is now an amazing nearly 2-year-old who has outgrown his allergies and his follow-up hospital appointments have shown no lasting after effects from his meningitis.”