Infant Reflux (GERD): When Meds Do Not Workby Elizabeth MacDonald
Reflux is terribly uncomfortable. An infant who is suffering from the typical condition cannot explain the pain, but it is not hard to diagnose. However, there are some signs and symptoms that may be tricky to catch.
What Causes Infant Reflux?
- Reflux can be triggered by an unhealthy gut. The mother’s gut bacteria is transferred to her baby while in utero. This means that her diet, medications, lifestyle , stresses, etc all play a role in the developing fetus’ gut. Learn more about how mama and baby are linked through gut bacteria HERE.
- A newborn’s digestive system is still very immature at birth. It can take 4-6 months before it has fully matured. (This is why they recommend babies be exclusively breastfed for at least this amount of time.) A baby’s cardiac sphincter does not function well in most infants. This is quite common, as the entire system is still developing. This muscle is what separates the stomach from the esophagus – so of course it causes acid reflux until it is fully functioning.
- Frequent crying
- Spitting up or painful vomiting
- Wet burps or wet hiccups
- Crying while feeding
- Arching the back, drawing up the legs
- Stiff limbs
- Poor sleep
- Pain while lying down
- Refuses to feed or wants to feed very frequently
- “Throaty” noises, choking, gagging
- Frequent upper respiratory infections (i.e. colds) and wheezing
Treating Without Medicine
- Chiropractic Care: Behind ear infections, reflux is the second highest reason that parents seek chiropractic care! Read more about why this is a great option HERE.
- If breastfeeding, alter diet: Elimination diets can be hard, but they will help you find your answer. Often coffee can cause reflux in your baby. Dairy, eggs, meat, and gluten are also very high on the list of possibilities. Taking an elimination diet (such as GAPS) seriously can lead to finding out about food allergies or sensitivities. These food issues could be the main cause behind your baby’s reflux.
- If formula feeding, change formula: Most formula is made with dairy or soy. There are very few good options on our store shelves, but it is possible to find a good formula. Learn more about formula choices HERE.
- Homeopathic Remedies
- High Quality Probiotics
- Feed baby upright.
- Feed smaller portions, more frequently.
- Burp after each feeding.
- Do not lay baby down flat on the back.
Many pediatricians are now advocating for medicine-free solutions, as reflux medications have never been approved to treat a baby under a year of age. Even after one year of age, doctors are urging to try alternative solutions. The medications are doing more harm than good. You can read more about the movement covered by ABC News HERE.
Your Infant is Already On MedicationThere are no regrets. You cannot redo anything as a parent, but you can learn and alter your plan of action. Medication alters the bacteria of the gut, causing many chronic problems. You should never stop a medication cold turkey, but talk to your pediatrician about weaning your child as you try to address the real issue. Most parents report that medication helps at first, but before long, symptoms begin resurfacing. They may not be as severe, but they are there – lingering. Or new problems arise: constipation, bloating, fussiness, etc.
Using HomeopathyAfter learning about homeopathic options, we treated our son’s silent reflux. Between an elimination diet and homeopathics, his suffering disappeared within a few weeks. All homeopathic remedies should be further researched and proper dosage should be identified before administering, but here are a few homeopathic remedies used for treating reflux.
- Homeopathic Remedy Nux Vomica
- Homeopathic Remedy Aethusa 30c
- Homeopathic Remedy Silicea 30c
- Homeopathic Remedy Natrum Phosphoricum (Nat Phos)
What’s worse than watching your child suffer is not knowing how to help. Every baby is different, and so the answer may be slightly different for every child. But I do know this: You want to help. You will do everything possible to help. This is the beginning of your answer – Your fight and willingness to try everything. Your ability to trust and follow your gut instincts and know that you want to solve the real issue, that is what will help you find the right solution.
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