Infant Reflux is hard, no, tough, no, almost unbearable. An infant with reflux will cry, ha, don’t all babies cry? Well yes they do, but not as much as baby with reflux. The tone of cry is also very different, more shrill and piercing. It seems to go right through you.
So what is reflux?
Well, reflux is heartburn. Have you had heartburn? Nasty isn’t it? Can you imagine having only just have been brought into this world and virtually constantly having heartburn? No wonder infants with reflux have that shrill cry.
Reflux is caused when the muscles, which connect the stomach and the esophagus, are immature, allowing the stomachs contents to re-enter the esophagus. As the stomach contains mainly acid, it burns.
Some reflux symptoms
Frequent spitting up, sour breath, fussiness and crying sometimes excessive, poor sleep habits both during day and night, poor feeding habits, very small feeds, prefers to be upright or held and the painful cry are just a few.
We don’t know how many infants really do suffer from reflux, some say up to 60% of infants suffer. There is the possibility that many children who are diagnosed with colic do in fact suffer from reflux.
What can we do to help?
There is a lot of information on the internet about helping an infant with reflux. I asked on my Facebook page what parents had done to help their child with reflux and got some really good tips and advice. I’ve summed everything up for you here.
- Small frequent feedings are certainly the way to go. We don’t want the stomach becoming too full. You’ll also want to feed your child with them sat at around a 30-degree angle, not laying down flat.
- If you have an overactive let down (which can really bother an infant with reflux) try nipple shields when nursing. It may slow things down for your child making feed times more comfortable.
- A sleeping wedge or a ‘nap nanny’ can be one of the most important pieces of kit you can get. In a wedge your child can sleep at in incline making them more comfortable and less likely to spit up and making sleep actually possible.
- One Mom found yoga to be incredibly helpful. Sometime you need to think away from conventional remedies and think outside of the box.
- I also advise parents whose infants are still uncomfortable with reflux to put a cummerbund around their infant’s tummy. Make sure this isn’t too tight. The pressure against the tummy can make your child really comfortable. You can get a similar effect by wearing your infant in a carrier or sling.
- Hold your child upright after you have fed them. Give that milk a chance to stay in their tummy.
- Don’t think of medication as a last resort. Your child is in a lot of pain. Would you not take anything for heartburn? There are not many children who don’t respond well to medication
And most of all, don’t forget that this is something, which will get better. It doesn’t last forever.