Babies with acid reflux, it may not be colic. Colic is something that you think of in regards to children under the age of one. This is often a spell of crying that happens for more than a few minutes at least a few times a day. You would not have a baby suffering from colic if they cry for five minutes, but colic may be what is going on when they cry for hours on end and you can not seem to find anything wrong nor can you calm them. While colic used to be a blanket term for the unknown, many babies suffering from colic actually have baby acid reflux. Now that many know this is the problem, it is easier to end the suffering for both baby and parents. Acid reflux can happen with any baby whether they are breastfed or bottle fed with formula. However, babies who are breastfed are less likely to have colic that is related to acid reflux.
My son suffered from acid reflux as a baby and it caused asthma-like symptoms along with excessive mucus buildup in his lungs. This progressed for many months until his pediatrician ran out of ideas and diagnosed him with Cystic Fibrosis; needless to say, that was a complete shock. Several days later, I took him to see a pulmonary specialist who looked him over, ran a simple test and determined that his problem was only acid reflux, not systic fibrosis. Apparently, he was breathing in tiny amounts of stomach acid into his lungs, because the muscle that is supposed to keep the acid in his stomach wasn’t working properly (that’s the case with most acid reflux sufferers). When stomach acid hits the lining of the lungs, the body produces mucus to protect the tissue. When babies have chronic acid reflux, this happens many times a day, and that’s not good. The specialist started my son on acid reflux medicine and, in a few weeks, his mucus cleared up. Hooray for modern medicine!
Some Things To Look Out For
If you are feeding your baby formula, or if they make faces or have problems near the end of or after a feeding, acid reflux in babies may be the problem. If you have given birth to a premature baby, you may very well have to worry about baby acid reflux even if you are giving them breast milk. You can not breast feed them right away in many cases, but they can have your breast milk through what is called a gavage or tube feeding. While they may not have any trouble digesting the breast milk, they may have baby acid reflux because of the length of their esophagus. This is too short, as they should have had time to grow before they had to digest food on their own. Acid reflux in premature babies is actually quite common no matter how they are fed.
What can be done about baby acid reflux then? At times, it takes nothing more than a medication prescribed by a doctor. Some mothers do not want to do this, but they are going to find that they are doing a huge favor to themselves and their baby. Premature babies may grow out of baby acid reflux when their esophagus lengthens, but not always. Full term babies may do the same, but again, they may have problems because of their digestive system being a bit immature. A doctor can best decide when medication can be weaned so that it can be seen if the baby still has problems with acid reflux.
Prescription medication may not be the only answer to baby acid reflux. Some find that holding their baby with their head elevated during and right after feedings can really help a baby keep milk down in the stomach where it belongs. Babies can be laid on their sides (with support so they do not roll onto their stomachs) to aid in digestion. Also, there are some herbal remedies like catnip and fennel that is known to help with digestion and acid reflux in babies. Talk with your doctor before you give your infant any type of herbal remedy however, to be sure it is safe for your child.