This is a guest post by Áine Homer, the Baby Reflux Lady. See her at www.thebabyrefluxlady.co.uk
There’s nothing independent about a baby who is constantly unsettled. Velcro doesn’t come close. Attached perhaps. Siamese maybe.
And why is this?
Simply out – a baby who is unsettled is usually uncomfortable, perhaps in pain. A baby who is constantly unsettled may have colic, reflux, silent reflux or food intolerances and allergies. And above all else, this baby needs comfort and reassurance. And the only person baby associates with these in abundance is mum.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Reflux is resolvable
Completely. Too many parents hear the words “baby has colic”, “it’s normal”, baby will grow out of it” or phrases to that extent. And are sent home, “reassured” that it is normal. That the high-pitched screaming of their tiny infant is somehow normal. That inconsolable crying is normal. That still not being able to settle or sleep peacefully by the age of 8 months is normal.
I want to let you know that there is nothing “normal” about this.
Common, yes. Normal, no.
Because it is not “normal” I want to share something more about reflux with you. Reflux is a symptom. Even though it has the word “disease” in its full title, it is not a disease (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease). There is no underlying pathology. As a symptom it has a cause and in having a cause it has a resolution.
The resolutions however, are specific to the exact cause(s) of the discomfort in each baby. So what works for one baby often doesn’t work for another. That’s why there are so many suggestions and “try this”, “try that” for infant reflux out there. And all of these address the symptom, and try to make things easier. They do not address the cause. And this includes medication.
Secondly, infant reflux is completely different from adult reflux and so should be treated differently. There is nothing wrong with baby. They have an immature digestive system, which is normal.
And what comes a surprise to most of my clients is just how much they can do to help their baby.
Resolving your baby’s reflux is so important. Unresolved discontent in a baby introduces incredible amounts of stress into relationships, affects the mental health of mums and dads, who are often forgotten, has a massive impact on siblings sense of self and position within the family unit and knocks external relationships into touch.
So what can you do about your baby?
Firstly, you can figure out what is causing it. By understanding the cause, you can select the course of action that will have the greatest impact on your baby without the guessing, trial and error.
Typically, there are two causes of this discomfort – aerophagia (baby drinking too much air) and the interaction between milk / food and their naturally immature digestive system.
For example, if your baby is incredibly uncomfortable when feeding, and at every feed, then they are drinking air, without a doubt. Depending on your baby, this could be because of a tongue tie*, irrespective of formula or breast fed); because of birth stresses (e.g. ventouse or forceps delivery), misalignments and stresses in their cranial bones or tension in their jaw**, or it could simply be the interaction between their mouth and tongue and the bottle teat because every baby’s mouth structure is unique.
When it comes to understanding if Baby has food intolerances, this is where we focus at the bottom end of things. I recommend that you keep a detailed food and symptom diary for this (examples and downloads on my website) and try to see the patterns after about 3 or 4 days.
There is skill involved in reading your baby’s symptoms to understand which is going on and then what to do about it, which I address in detail in my book, and I walk you through in my webinar.
The Baby Reflux Lady’s Survival Guide is available now on Amazon.com (https://geni.us/Reflux) and available to order through most major retailers.
For more information to figure out exactly what’s causing your baby’s discomfort, visit Áine at www.thebabyrefluxlady.co.uk
* Tongue tie should only be assessed by a registered tongue tie practitioner or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
** Stresses and tension in the head, jaw and neck should be assessed and resolved by a chiropractor or a cranio-sacral osteopath who specialises in paediatrics