Acid reflux in babies can be a real trouble for the parents, especially the first time parents. It is pathetic to see the babies who do not know any other way to communicate their pain but to cry inconsolably. Acid reflux symptoms in babies are not as clear as they are in adults and it may be difficult to diagnose.
Acid reflux in babies normally occurs after feed. The contents of the stomach are refluxed back and the baby might spit up or vomit. So, how does one conclude that the spitting up is due to acid reflux and not any other problem? Let us first look at the symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Acid reflux is a common problem in infants. More than 50% of the babies experience acid reflux symptoms during the first three months of age. The symptoms subside on their own after 12-18 months period as the babies’ sphincter valve develops fully and strengthens.
Symptoms of Acid reflux Problem in Babies
In case of young babies, acid reflux is also known as “spitting – up”. Hence if your child spits up after every feed, then he is more likely to have acid reflux. In addition to this, there can be difficulties in feeding; some babies typically arch their back while trying to avoid feeds. In chronic cases of acid reflux problem in babies, there is no weight gain. Also the baby may pass blood in stool or vomit brown or green Acidaburn colored liquid. While simpler cases of acid reflux can be handled easily, chronic acid reflux needs immediate medical attention.
Acid reflux occurs due to the relaxed lower esophageal sphincter muscle. In case of babies, these muscles may not be fully developed causing the acid reflux problem. When the baby feeds, the stomach extends and the sphincter valve opens up to pass the contents as vomit into the food pipe. In adults, acid reflux problem causes severe heartburn and chest pain. However, in case of babies there is no evidence of the occurrence of heart burn.
As discussed earlier, acid reflux problem is common in babies but with a little bit of care and understanding, parents can overcome this problem. Also the babies with acid reflux problem will have poor sleeping habits and difficulties in sleeping. They may wake up several times before sleeping. It is tough to handle a child with acid reflux and the parents can be completely exhausted.
However, some babies take the acid reflux problem in their stride and are happy spitters. They remain quite happy and satisfied even when dressed in spit from top to bottom!!!
Preventive Measures for Acid Reflux Problems in Babies
With a little precaution and preventive measures, parents may overcome the acid reflux problem in babies. It is advisable to keep the babies in upright position at least 30 minutes after feeds. Even when laying down the baby in the bed, it must be ensured that there head remains inclined at an angle of 30 degrees.
The baby must be given smaller and frequent feeds combined with burping in between the feeds. Overfeeding can result in acid reflux and spitting. Also while making the baby burp, he should be held in such a position that there is no pressure on the stomach. In addition to this, babies with acid reflux problems should be made to wear lighter clothes that are not tight near the stomach and waist area. The breast feeding mothers should eat simple and nutritious diet and should avoid heavy and spicy foods.