warning, this might hit a nerve with some mothers…
I keep reading and hearing things on reflux in babies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s not a thing and doesn’t effect some kids, but it got me thinking…are doctors over diagnosing it? Is it just an excuse for an upset baby who won’t settle? Let me explain myself before all you mums with reflux bubs jump down my throat…
When a baby is born, their tiny little stomachs are the size of their tiny little fist. It holds about 5mils, that’s not a lot. Actually, that really nothing. No wonder babies are fed so frequently. The sphincter on top of the oesophagus does not close fully which let’s some milk back up, and can cause pain. If you’ve ever had reflux, you know it’s not pleasant. Now imagine that in a baby. Someone who hasn’t been in this world for very long, breaks your heart seeing them in pain.
All babies suffer from some sort of reflux, as their bodies just don’t have the ability to keep it down while they are still young. I believe this is also one reason for the ending of breastfeeding, as doctors then prescribe Losec or another medicine to thicken formula to help reduce the acidity in the baby’s stomach. You can’t add the medicine to breast milk unless it’s pumped, but in those first few months, who wants to express then bottle feed unless you need too? So the switch to formula happens.
Again, I remind you this is not to take a stab at those mothers that bottle feed their babies. Please don’t think that!
I would think that breast milk, being the perfect drink, would help with this reflux issue. The baby feeds until it’s full, and that’s it. Yes, some babies are more prone to vomiting than others, I’m glad my two aren’t spewers. But isn’t that just their way to say ‘I’ve had enough mum!’ Breast milk has the perfect balance of goodness for their little bellies.
When we had to make the decision to feed my first formula, due to my health, it was awful. Along with the fear that I’d failed, the midwifes were making up the formula and telling us he had to drink it all as he was a big baby. Does that matter? No wonder he put on weight very quickly. I think back now, and maybe it was too much for him at the time. My friends remind me that he threw up all over my husband in the hospital. I was out of it, I don’t remember. Probably trying to put too much into him, too often. He was on the 4 hourly feed from the beginning. Not demand fed as is possible with breastfeeding. I’m sure it’s not the only time he threw up. Glad he wasn’t diagnosed with reflux.
I see some mums with these tiny babies bottle feeding trying to shove masses of formula into their tiny bellies and then the baby throws up. All baby’s are different and not all of them can take in the “recommended” dose of formula all the time on the “recommended” 4 hourly feeding schedule. As the vomiting goes on, the baby is taken to the doctor and diagnosed with reflux. Sometimes silent reflux. Are the doctors giving babies medicine as a quick fix to get the emotional mother out of their office and hoping it’s the cure-all? What are the side effects of this medicine?
I know what it’s like to have a baby that cries for hours and hours, who won’t sleep, who drives you mad. You try everything you can to get some peace. Even if that means medicating them. You love this squishy little thing so much, you want to take away the pain.
I’m sure the medicines help keep the milk down, but the baby seems to grow out of it around 6 months of age, when surprise surprise, the oesophagus starts to work correctly. And he starts to be more mobile and can sit up…hmmmm.
My question is this, if the mother continued to feed the baby the correct amount or breastfed where possible, and waited the 6 months, would the reflux stop on its own? What did our mothers do 30 or so years ago?
I’ve read some mothers try changing formulas to soy free, dairy free…does it help? Does reflux only effect formula fed babies? Are breastfed babies affected too? Tell me your story. I’m interested to know. Were you a reflux baby?
**For those wonderful mums out there with those poor babies who have suffered reflux and tried everything, you are doing a fantastic job. Tell me your experience.