January 22, 2010

Reflux: what a pain

    I finally got my daughter into the Dr.'s office after a week of green poop and horrific gass. It turns out that all of this ( and quite a few of her other symptoms) is from the reflux. I had heard about this before but never payed much attention. after talking to her Dr. for about 30 mins., I realized, this is a huge ordeal! I now have a long list of things to try before they medicate her. Luckily her Pedi. is just as aginst unnesisary medicating as I am.

   Now after every feeding I am supposed to put her in an inclined position in the swing, bouncer, or carseat. She is also supposed to take her naps in one of these contraptions, ugg. There go my days of baby wearing all day while I clean house. *sigh* I guess we'll just have to get used to this new way of doing things.

Reflux is a very common problem among babies. Who knew?!?
Spitting up, sometimes called physiological or uncomplicated reflux, is common in babies and is usually (but not always) normal. Most young babies spit up sometimes, since their digestive systems are immature, making it easier for the stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus (the tube connecting mouth to stomach).

   A small percentage of babies experience discomfort and other complications due to reflux - this is called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. These babies have been termed by some as ‘Scrawny Screamers’ (as compared to the Happy Spitters). There seems to be a family tendency toward reflux. GERD is particularly common in preemies (due to their immaturity) and in babies with other health problems. GERD usually improves by 12-24 months

   some signs of reflux include:
Frequent spitting up or vomiting; discomfort when spitting up. Some babies with do not spit up – silent reflux occurs when the stomach contents only go as far as the esophagus and are then re-swallowed, causing pain but no spitting up.

Gagging, choking, frequent burping or hiccoughing, bad breath.

Baby may be fussy and sleep less due to discomfort.

Breastfeeding Tips

Aim for frequent breastfeeding, whenever baby cues to feed. These smaller, more frequent feedings can be easier to digest.

Try positioning baby in a semi-upright or sitting position when breastfeeding, or recline back so that baby is above and tummy-to-tummy with mom. See this information on upright nursing positions.

For fussy, reluctant feeders, try lots of skin to skin contact, breastfeeding in motion (rocking, walking), in the bath or when baby is sleepy.

Ensure good latch to minimize air swallowing.

Allow baby to completely finish one breast (by waiting until baby pulls off or goes to sleep) before you offer the other. Don't interrupt active suckling just to switch sides. Switching sides too soon or too often can cause excessive spitting up (see Too Much Milk?). For babies who want to breastfeed very frequently, try switching sides every few hours instead of at every feed.

Encourage non-nutritive/comfort sucking at the breast, since non-nutritive sucking reduces irritation and speeds gastric emptying.

Avoid rough or fast movement or unnecessary jostling or handling of your baby right after feeding. Baby may be more comfortable when help upright much of the time. It is often helpful to burp often.

As always, watch your baby and follow his cues to determine what works best to ease the reflux symptoms.

what you can do to reduce relfux

Breastfeed! Reflux is less common in breastfed babies. In addition, breastfed babies with reflux have been shown to have shorter and fewer reflux episodes and less severe reflux at night than formula-fed babies . Breastfeeding is also best for babies with reflux because breastmilk leaves the stomach much faster  (so there’s less time for it to back up into the esophagus) and is probably less irritating when it does come back up.

The more relaxed your infant is, the less the reflux.

Eliminate all environmental tobacco smoke exposure, as this is a significant contributing factor to reflux.

Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Excessive caffeine in mom's diet can contribute to reflux.

Allergy should be suspected in all infant reflux cases, up to half of all  cases in babies under a year are associated with cow’s milk protein allergy.

Reflux is worst when baby lies flat on his back.

Many parents have found that carrying baby in a sling or other baby carrier can be helpful.

Avoid compressing baby’s abdomen - this can increase reflux and discomfort. Dress baby in loose clothing with loose diaper waistbands; avoid “slumped over” or bent positions; for example, roll baby on his side rather than lifting legs toward tummy for diaper changes.

 Although recent research does not support recommendations to keep baby in a semi-upright position (30° elevation), this remains a common recommendation.

I hope this information is helpful to you, and saves you a little time and eases your worries a bit. Nobody likes their baby to be in pain. This information should help keep you and your little one from dealing with unnesisary pain.



1 comment:

  1. Great info and tips. I was lucky. Neither of my children spit up often and neither seemed to suffer with reflux. My daughter though does have a pretty sensitive system and has always been really affected (mostly with gas) by food she eats and even the food I ate while I was nursing.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog last week!