Dear THT, What Can Be Done About Infant Reflux?

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Dear THT is a regular feature in which we answer your questions so that you and others can read our answer.  

Stephanie B: What can be done for a breastfed baby with Acid reflux?

Like all expectant parents you imagined a cooing sleepy bundle of joy, but the reality is, babies cry, and it is unpleasant to say the least.  So, as a new mama, don’t be alarmed if your baby likes to cry, but it is good to recognize the difference between what's normal and what might be infant reflux, and what you can do about it.

Symptoms of Infant Reflux

  • Breath smells sour
  • Fights the breast or bottle
  • Cries if you lay her on her back
  • Arches his back regularly
  • Resistance to laying on back
  • Screams if you lay her on her back
  • Projectile vomits after meals
  • Tongue is discolored
  • Wheezing, apena or breathing difficulties
  • Gassy and/or foamy bowel movements

Prescription Medication Is Not Always the Best Answer

In fact, acid-blocking medications are not recommended in cases of uncomplicated infant reflux. Children who don't require this level of intervention may face an increased risk of certain intestinal and respiratory infections, and prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors has been linked to problems in iron and calcium absorption in infants. Talk to your doctor about these risks.

    1.  Elevate Baby During and After Feeding

    It is tempting to use a breastfeeding pillow, but it’s best to have your baby sit upright in order to be sure that the milk goes down into the stomach rather than staying in the esophagus. Using a Bobby pillow can be helpful if you leave the opening towards the front so that baby be upright while giving yourself a way to rest your arm.  A Boppy Pillow can also be handy to keep baby upright after feeding.  We are in love with this Boppy Lounger for propping baby after feeding.

    2.  Baby Wearing

    Choosing a carrier that allows Baby to be more upright with no pressure on the belly is ideal..  My favorite baby wearing carrier right now is the Tula.

    3.  Elevate Baby While Sleeping

    Babies with GERD do not like to lie flat on their back as it causes more reflux. Elevating the crib is a no brainer. Just know that not all wedges are created equal.  I highly recommend this one, as it is universal and it stays firm with regular use.  There are sleepers like this one, that I bought for our own daughter, that can be a real lifesaver.

    4.  Bodywork

    Bodywork are the therapies and techniques that complement medicine and that involve touching or manipulating the body.  Both chiropractic care and massage can be extremely beneficial for infants with acid reflux.  Be sure to find a chiropractor who has been specifically trained to work on infants, as well as a massage therapist who is trained to work with infants, although you should be aware that it is absolutely safe and effective for mommies to perform basic baby massage.  My two favorite books on infant massage are Baby Massage: The Calming Power of Touch by DK, and Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala McClure.

    5.  Nursing Elimination Diet

    Albeit tough, I suggest that nursing moms with babies suffering from acid reflux give up all dairy. This alone can eliminate reflux for some infants. The proteins in dairy can cause problems that can irritate baby’s immature digestive tract. It can take 30+ days to determine if dairy was a problem for your infant. Wheat, coffee, eggs,  soy, nuts, and citrus could also be the cause of reflux in your baby. 

    6.  Natural Remedies Can Make All The Difference

    Our Baby Gripe Tea is safe and effect for infants through adulthood.  It can be given directly to baby, via formula, or via mother's milk.  It is clinically proven to help with:

    • teething
    • gas
    • sleeplessness
    • fussiness
    • acid reflux
    • general discomfort

    This gentle formula offers calming comfort for newborns, toddlers and young children.  It helps soothe sore gums and builds digestive health to settle colic and wind, and prevent spit-up.  Gripe Tea's ingredients are certified organic so you know there are no hidden nasties.  Give to baby or via mum if you is breastfeeding.  The flavour is mild and naturally sweet, and well tolerated by sensitive little systems. 

    Because you make it fresh, there is no reason for preservatives or alcohol.  

    7.  Oil Blends for Massage and Comfort

    Colic Calm Oil Blend can soothe your baby during times of digestive distress, and is a wonderful addition to your infant massage routine.  Apply to baby's belly and massage in a clockwise motion. 

    8.  Keep Your Cool

    It is easy to get worked up when you are struggling to comfort a baby who is not feeling well.  For mom's we have several solutions to help you ease your fraying nerves.  You can find some of them in our Mind and Body section. We also have tinctures, teas, and other options that are safe for mom, even when breastfeeding.  You can always call or email us for help in finding something that is right for you.

    Most importantly, mommies have a good sense of when something is wrong, so if you have reason to be concerned about your baby, you should always check with your doctor to rule out something more serious!

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