Reflux

This is one of hardest questions faced by a new mum, why is my baby crying? There are lots of reasons a newborn baby cry’s, in this one I want to explore reflux.

Reflux in babies is baby bringing up milk frequently, or silent reflux where a baby will suffer the effects of the milk regurgitation but don’t actually bring it out.

It is a relatively common and usually occurs because baby’s food pipe (oesophagus) is still developing. Babies usually grow out of reflux by the time they turn 1.

It can be hard to diagnose, and is usually diagnosed via a set of symptoms, which can be very similar to Colic. We have explored Colic in a previous blog, you can read about that here.

Symptoms:

  • Bringing up milk, posseting in babies is very normal, reflux tends to bring up more excessive amounts of milk.

 

  • Some babies can experience pain with it, similar to heart burn, so may arch their back during or after a feed, or pull away mid feed.

 

  • Poor weight gain – if baby is being excessively sick, they may not gain weight well

 

  • Excessive weight gain – a baby may feed more frequently to try and dampen the pain of reflux

 

  • Bubbling/regurgitation – you can hear the a gurgling or bubbling in some reflux babies, they may then swallow the milk back down, or they may get hiccups or cough with it.

 

  • Excessive crying

What causes Reflux?
As we have said before, it can be common due to an immature oesophagus, which baby will grow out of.

CMPA
In some cases, Reflux can be caused by CMPA (Cows Milk Protein Allergy), this can be seen if the Reflux has deteriorated if mum has introduced formula, or started when formula was added into baby’s diet. 

CMPA & Breastfeeding
Breast milk is by far the easiest food for a baby to digest, mums milk is made specifically for her baby. If mum however, suspects CMPA she will need to eliminate dairy from her diet (with medical advice to ensure her calcium levels are maintained). Mum generally needs to do this for 2-4wks to notice a real difference for her baby.  Cows Milk Protein Allergy Support website have a good list of FREE FROM FOODS HERE http://cowsmilkproteinallergysupport.webs.com/free-from-foods

CMPA & Formula feeding
There are various dairy free or hydrolysed formulas on the market, that can be given (can be given on prescription):
Nutramigen or similar is a Hydrolysed formula, which does contain Cows Milk Protein but the proteins have been heated and broken down, so the body does not recognise them as an allergen.

Neocate or similar is an amino acid derived from vegetable sources, so contains no Cows Milk at all.

If there is a significant family history of CMPA or severe allergy Neocate or similar should be prescribed.

How can you help?
You have a few alternatives, you can medicate, treat with more natural methods and or look at diet.

Presciption Medications available include:
Gaviscon
Ranitidine & Omeprazole

Gaviscon tends to be a first line on the prescription trail, but can cause babies to become constipated, so mum may find that the baby doesn’t suffer so many reflux symptoms, but gets tummy ache with constipation.

More natural treatments involve:
Keeping baby upright for as long as possible after a feed (invest in a good sling).
Making sure baby’s latch is good if breastfeeding – have baby checked for Tongue Tie
Elevating the head of baby’s bed slightly so baby isn’t laying flat
See a Cranial Osteopath
Keep a food diary if breastfeeding and see if any particular foods cause symptoms to increase

ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR BABY.

More information:
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/reflux-babies/Pages/Introduction.aspx

CMPA Support http://cowsmilkproteinallergysupport.webs.com/
Allergy UK https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/conditions-and-symptoms
NICE guidelines for CMPA https://cks.nice.org.uk/cows-milk-protein-allergy-in-children#!diagnosissub