Babies With Gerd : It is heartbreaking when you come to know that your baby has GERD. So, how do you know if your baby might have GERD. After all, it is very common for infants to spit up formula or breast milk. Contrary to the fears of many mothers, spitting up is rarely an indication that the milk is a problem. Instead, generally, the problem is that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the little door that lies between the esophagus and stomach, is not functioning well. The problem for many infants is that the LES is not sufficiently developed, and consequently, food gets backed up.
This problem is usually resolved naturally as the child grows older and the LES matures and works better. As mentioned, in the case of children with asthma, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and other ailments, the problem often does not go away, and that possibility.
Only an experienced Ayurvedic doctor who has performed a professional medical evaluation can determine if your child has GERD. But there are indicators that parents can watch out for. The most common symptoms are: –
- Chronic vomiting or spitting up of food
- Inability to sleep comfortably at night
- Frequent stretching and arching of the back and neck
- Abnormal fussiness or crying and waking as often as five or more times per night.
- Crying that lasts over an hour each time
- Chronic respiratory symptoms (colds and ear infections) or asthma
Chronic vomiting and spitting up: –
At one time or another, all babies spit up and as mentioned, that is considered perfectly normal. If the baby is gaining the appropriate weight for her size and age and she is sleeping at regular intervals, then spitting up is generally nothing to worry about. If, however, she is what doctor calls an “unhappy spitter”, and spitting up appears along with sleep difficulties, constant colds, and other symptoms that can be indicative of GERD, then the diagnosis can be considered the possibility.
Note: If your child used to experience forceful or projectile vomiting (like a fountain spewing across the room), or even if it contains blood, the parent should immediately contact an Ayurvedic doctor without any delay. If possible, it is better to call and talk with your pediatric doctor before rushing off to the emergency room of your local hospital.
Inability to sleep comfortably at night: –
It is very normal for the infants to wake up in the middle of the night and playing. The baby can even be hungry, teething, wet or cranky, or maybe want some reassurance.
But even after completing all the comfort measures such as feeding, changing diapers and providing reassurance, if they don’t work at all. The baby still wakes up frequently and is inconsolable. In that case, there may be a problem. Possibly it might be the colic pain that is waking up the infant.
Yet when a baby is waking up as many as five or six times per night (or more) and also has a history of spitting up or vomiting, the child may be suffering from GERD instead.
Now the question arises. Why does GERD wake up your child, particularly at night and over and over again? One key reason behind the symptoms of GERD tends to be much worse when a baby is lying down. When the baby comes in an upright position, either sitting or standing, the gravitational force helps to move the food downwards from the esophagus and through the stomach and into the intestine. However, the advantage of gravity is lost when a baby is lying flat on her back.
Just have a look at an example. Imagine your baby’s stomach as a plastic bag, with the top of the bag being the esophagus. Then think about filling the bag halfway with water. When the bag is held in an upright position, the water stays at the bottom of the bag. It can’t leak out the top in that position.
Now just think of the bag being held in sideways position. When you do this, you can see the water moving toward the opening at the top of the bag. In simple words, this is what happens to your baby’s stomach when he has GERD. When the baby is upright, his heartburn usually doesn’t bother him. When the baby is in lying position the food and the acid move upwards, just like the water in the imaginary bag.
A baby with the normal developed LES will not usually have a problem, because the food will not back up into the esophagus. A child with an inefficient LES, however, will probably experience reflux. The acid content of the stomach can cause the esophagus to become irritated and give the baby pain, causing him to sleep poorly at night or at nap time.
Frequent stretching and arching of the back and neck: –
It is a common symptom which a child display is an arching of the back and the neck as if he was trying to get away from something. He is trying to avoid something – the acid that is refluxed into the esophagus. Hopefully, this behavior will be recognized as abnormal by a parent and brought to the pediatrician’s attention, although sometimes the child is referred to a neurologist rather than a gastroenterologist if the arching behavior appears extreme.
This arching symptom, along with the vomiting and difficulty sleeping, adds to the picture of possible reflux.
Abnormal crying or fussiness, and waking
One of the most painful situations for a parent is to struggle to help a child who is constantly crying and the parents not been able to find a remedy to make the child feel protected and safe. There are many reasons why babies used to cry – after all, it is their way to communicate with the world. A child may cry because he is hungry, sick, teething, bored, and so forth. Parents are naturally concerned about frequent or constant crying if nothing they do seems to work.
Many doctors may call this behavior “colic”, or perhaps diagnose it as stomach distress with an unknown cause. In retrospect, some babies who were diagnosed with colic may have been suffering from GERD instead.
After you become parents, you learn to recognize that your child’s different types of cries reflect different needs. The “I’m hungry, feed me now” cry is different from the “I’m a little fussy” cry, and so forth.
Parents of babies with GERD report that their children’s cries often make it obvious that the child is in pain. Few children cry in this manner because they want their diaper to be changed or want to be picked up.
Crying that lasts over an hour each time
Sometimes, babies can cry for a longer duration. There can be various reasons for that, sometimes the reasons can be that they are upset, overtired or ill or sometimes, all of the three! Whenever your baby cries for an hour or more each time, this is an indicator of an underlying problem that you need to resolve, with your pediatrician’s help. It may be acid reflux or it may not be, but it’s important to find out the cause.