Reflux is a condition, with unknown cause, which occurs when food and stomach acid leak back into the food pipe. Very often, even in babies, this is a condition which causes few, if any, difficulties and one which is relatively easy to manage until it resolves itself naturally. However it is possible for baby reflux to result in complications and long term problems. If this is the case medical intervention may be necessary which may then involve investigative tests for the child and medication or further treatment.
The most common symptoms
commonly there will be vomiting however there are also other symptoms which may occur
- Crying or screaming for long periods.
- Repeated attacks of hiccups
- Feeding problems
- Sleeping problems
- Respiratory disorders
- Recurrent infections in ear, nose or throat, along with snuffling congestion.
- Failure to thrive
- Baby appears to be in pain.
of course many of these symptoms are also indicators for conditions other than baby reflux and if you have any cause for concern about your baby it is important to speak to your health care professional who will be able to examine the baby and give you sound advice.
How to provide baby reflux
There are some things that you can do to manage baby reflux providing the condition is not chronic.
- After feeding prop the baby up into an upright position for at least 30 minutes.
- Avoid baby slumping! Use a sling if it is more convenient which keeps baby upright and allows your hands to be free.
- Raise the head of the cot
- Use a comforter/dummy
- Avoid too much bouncing around of the baby
- Change the nappy before the feed, taking care to raise head and shoulders and avoid lifting the legs too high.
- Avoid tight clothing
- Avoid overfeeding.
- If you are bottle feeding then try an anti-reflux or hypoallergenic formula.
- If you are breastfeeding avoid known reflux triggers in your own diet.
- Avoid exposure to smoke.
- Get the support you need from your health care professionals.
Because baby reflux occurs so frequently it is all to easy to trivialize the condition – however the impact the condition has on a childs development and the familys quality of life can often be quite major. It is quite common for families to endure problems and difficulties such as –
- Social isolation
- Feelings of failure as a parent
- Difficulty in making others understand how debilitating and draining the constant screaming and vomiting can be or really are.
- Constantly being given well meaning advice which often conflicts and confuses.
- Lack of understanding.
A family with an infant suffering from baby reflux will always be glad of a listening ear and some reassurance – this becomes even more important if and when complications arise.
It is important for parents to realize that all they can do for their baby with reflux is their best – often it is only a long period of trial and error which will produce a solution to the problem and in the meantime these parents are responsible for a baby which is more high maintenance than many babies. Very often trusting ones instincts is the way forward and being aware of any possible triggers – overheating, over tiredness, change in routine, colds or infections, teething etc. any of these things can cause flare up of baby reflux.