Have you noticed your baby cry often when laid on the back? Or keeps his back arched and fussy? Well, your baby might be suffering acid reflux. This is a common condition in most babies and severe in premature ones.
I had almost gone nuts when my twins could not be silent or settle even for a minute in their first few months. Being a first-time mom, I must say there was a point I was totally losing it.
I remember I was all over the Internet trying to figure out what might be wrong with my babies. Born at 37 weeks with Low Birth Weights, I got to realize it might have been one of the causes.
Acid reflux occurs when the baby’s abdominal sphincters don’t close as they would in grown children. This in return leaves space for the acid to flow back making the baby gassy and unsettled.
What are the symptoms of Acid Reflux?
Mothers who have had babies suffering from acid reflux can attest that there are signs that their babies portray including;
- Projectile vomiting after feeds
- Arched back
- Fussy baby especially when laid flat on the back
- Fighting the breast
- Baby being gassy and prominent bowel movements
- Difficulty in breathing characterized by wheezing
- Frequent hiccups and burping
- Inability to gain weight
Who are the babies at risk of getting acid reflux?
As I mentioned earlier, reflux occurs when the sphincters of the stomach fail to close fully. There are babies that are always at risk of getting acid reflux more than others. These are; Premature – Premies have underdeveloped organs, that means they are born with organs that have not fully developed to play their role.
If the sphincters cannot close as expected in Premies, then the acid easily flows back hence the reflux.
Babies with an umbilical hernia also tend to fall victims of acid reflux. Due to delayed closure of abdominal muscles around the umbilical region, the intestines easily pop out.
These babies then tend to be gassy and colicky hence acid reflux. I must stay it took me a while to notice how big the umbilical hernias on my babies were. At first, I never thought there could be any relation.
Babies with tongue tie also tend to get acid reflux frequently, and mothers might notice the symptoms I stated above easily.
At one point I thought my twins had upper lip ties – If there’s something like that. This is because I was looking for the possible causes of the reflux instead of concentrating on the treatment. But hey! I was a first-time mother and panic were the order of the day!!
How is the diagnosis of acid reflux made?
Well, most pediatricians make it a spot diagnosis from the history of the mother or by just looking at the baby.
Other common methods used are;
Blood tests to look out for any unusual markers and features of anemia due to reduced retention of milk
Ultrasound to check for any looks for any unusual changes in the baby’s gastrointestinal system
Barium swallow used to show any obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract among other tests.
Homemade remedy for acid reflux
Now that you are able to know if your baby has reflux or not. There are homemade ways to treat this. Acid reflux can range from mild to severe. So here is how to go about it;
- Always ensure your baby is propped up- This can be used by elevating the mattress underneath your baby head and hence avoiding backflow of hydrochloric acid.
- Burp your baby- I cannot stress this enough. Burping ensures almost all gas is released and keeps your baby calm.
- For mothers who are breastfeeding avoid dairy products, most babies are allergic to proteins found in dairy products, and the last thing you want is to exaggerate the problem.
- Ensure to hold your baby upright for at least 30mins after feeds for digestion to take place and avoid immediate spitting.
- Massage therapy works when done with experts with reflux experience.
- Use of homeopathic treatments like Nat Phos 6 has also proven to work.
What are hospital approach you might ask?
Well, most pediatricians prescribe Antacids like Maalox, some proton pump inhibitors like Nexium which my babies used. I must say the did relieve the symptoms momentarily and I did get to sleep well. However, most doctors would advise minimal use because they slow down the symptoms but don’t treat the cause.
Indeed, acid reflux can be a nightmare to both first time and other moms too. It is good to seek to advise where necessary, ask questions until you feel you are satisfied. The good thing is by the time your baby is 6months the symptoms will have markedly improved although there are those that go beyond these months.