The Great Baby Reflux Epidemic (or not….)

How many people do you know whose baby has, or had, reflux? A lot I’d imagine.

Reflux medications such as infant Gaviscon, Losec, Omeprazole, Domperidone, Nexium and Ranitidine are all too common place in homes with a baby.  Ditto too special formula milks such as Nutramigen and Neocate.

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It seems that everyone you meet either knows, or had a baby with reflux. Yet nobody really seems bothered by this. Nobody questions the gross number of babies afflicted with this disorder. Nobody questions the ‘experts’ who make their living from cashing in on specialising in infant reflux. I, however, am sick of it all.

Baby reflux is grossly over-diagnosed. Thousands and thousands of babies are being subjected to a chemical cocktail of medications and artificial milk needlessly. These medications do not come without risks and side effects – including a restricted level of calcium absorption, gastric polyps, constipation and stomach distension. For babies with genuine GERD/GORD the risks of prescribing are far outweighed by the benefits – in many cases lifechanging – that they bring. For most however the risks of these medications are not considered and it is prescribed without much more than a 5 minute chat with a GP. Diagnosing a baby with reflux appears to be an easy way out for GPs and Paediatricians, certainly the diagnosis is often not based on anything more than opinion.

Recent estimates suggest that around a quarter of all young babies will be diagnosed with reflux, I would go so far as to say it is higher than that. Much higher. This should raise alarm bells. What is even more alarming is that between 1999 and 2004 there was a sevenfold increase in the rate of prescription of infant reflux medication. I can’t even begin to imagine what the increase has been in the last ten years, but my guess is around tenfold.  What has happened to our babies during the 21st century? Why are so many more suffering from reflux? I don’t think they are. I think it has become a social trend, awareness has raised massively, real problems (that aren’t reflux – more on this later) are being missed and – those with real issues aside – many parents are looking for medical explanations for their newborn’s perfectly normal behaviour (more on this later).

Dr. Eric Hassall, a Paediatric Gastroenterologist in San Francisco says: “fed by advertising and misinformation on the Internet, parent blogs have increasingly promoted the ”’my-baby-has-acid-reflux-and-needs-drugs’ concept. Parents, concerned by their infant’s symptoms of apparent suffering take their concern to doctors, who very frequently comply and prescribe acid-suppressing medications for symptoms and signs that in most cases are not GERD. GERD-mania is in full cry, so to speak.” Dr. Hassall goes on to say “We are medicalizing normality,” – I couldn’t agree more. As with sleep (see this post) we have a tendency to pathologise our baby’s behaviour when we don’t understand it, or it doesn’t fit in with our lifestyle. In many cases newborns with reflux are healthy newborns, acting just as newborns do. Not newborns suffering from reflux.

ref1As Dr. Hassall says in his 2012 article (with reference to the gross increase of reflux medication prescription over the past decade) in the Journal of Pediatrics:  somehow the diagnosis of GERD has been missed over the past several decades or has recently become a major scourge of infants in the developed world, with acid suppressing drugs becoming a new essential food group in their own right. This change in practice has come about for several reasons, none based in medical science. There is, however, data to show that this practice does not serve our patients.”

He goes on to say: “Two phenomena have long been observed in otherwise healthy, thriving infants. First, many of them spit up on a daily basis—some 40% to 70%. The developing, rapidly-growing infant takes in feeding volumes that on a per-kg basis are huge compared with older children or adults…some of the large volume intake simply overflows upward, or sometimes “spills” out through the mouth. This has long been recognized as physiologic reflux not reflux disease [ie, not GERD]), and it is self-resolving in approximately 95% of infants by 12 to 15 months of age. Second, many infants are irritable or have “unexplained crying,” sometimes also referred to as “infant colic,” especially in the first 3 or 4 months of life. Spitting up and crying are common; in most infants…… However, increasingly, crying and spitting up have become conflated into a diagnosis of GERD…The largest randomized, controlled study to date in infants showed that for symptoms purported to be those of GERD, a PPI was no better than placebo….With increasingly less time to evaluate patients, rather than take on the more time-consuming history, discussion, and approaches, including behavioral and dietary, that are required around the evaluation of unexplained crying, and not without parental pressure to “do something,” doctors have taken to a quicker approach: prescribing.”

Research in 2013 has highlighted the worrying public trend for parents to want to medicate their babies for reflux. A trend that is heightened even more when GPs indicate that the baby may have reflux. With reference to the study, Professor Laura Scherer at the University of Missouri commented that “the growing digestive systems of an infant can be finicky and cause the child to regurgitate. The discomfort can cause the infant to cry, but it is not necessarily a disease. Parents can learn from this study that a disease label can make them want medication for their child, regardless of whether the drugs are effective or not. Parents should follow doctors’ advice, which sometimes means accepting a doctor’s explanation of why an infant’s crying and vomiting may be normal….. In addition, the long-term side effects of the medication frequently prescribed to children diagnosed with GERD have not been fully studied.”

So if it’s not GORD – or GERD if you’re in the USA – (infant reflux), then what IS wrong with the babies?

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There is no one single answer to this question. The likely answer is “a number of different things”, these include:

1. They do actually have GORD.

This is the rarest of all the explanations and by far the least likely. It is however a reality for some and sadly those who need testing, diagnosing and treating the most are often the last to get it. I believe this is because the condition is trivialised so much by the seemingly enormous numbers of babies presumed to suffer from it. Those babies who are genuinely severely affected often face lengthy battles to get proper treatment.

Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease is a fairly rare disease that affects the lower oesophageal sphincter, or LOS (basically a ring of muscle situated between the stomach and oesophagus that makes sure that what goes down, doesn’t come up). The LOS usually opens to let food down and then closes once it has passed. In GORD it is too weak or doesn’t close properly and the stomach contents, including acid, bile and food, flow back up into the oesophagus.

Symptoms are fairly obvious – think exorcist style projectile vomiting (not just normal baby ‘spit up’), uncontrollable crying, a ‘smoker’s cough’ or hoarse cry, lack of weight gain and foul smelling breathe. Sometimes the projectile vomiting is not present, in this case in babies it would be known as ‘silent reflux’.

Diagnosis of GORD should (but sadly often doesn’t) involve pH monitoring of the oesophagus, endoscopy and barium swallow and x-ray.

I can’t highlight enough that this is a rare disease, yes it exists, but not in the sheer amounts that we see today.

2. They have normal developmental Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux – or ‘normal reflux’.

To a certain extent almost every baby experiences reflux at some point. This is a perfectly normal developmental situation in healthy babies that highlights nothing more than their immature physiology.  Most babies will experience  episodes of reflux where they will ‘spit up’ their milk – either through their mouth or nose – or often both. This is a perfectly normal situation that the baby will grow out of usually over a couple of months, or at least by the time they reach 12 months of age. Normal reflux does not need any treatment or medication.

3. They have Colic.

Colic is a catch all term used to describe a baby who cries an awful lot but with no apparent reason for the crying and little that helps to soothe the tears, but it is not a specific disease or disorder. When we speak about “diagnosing colic” what we really mean is “I have no idea why this baby is so unhappy, so we will label the crying ‘colic’.”

The word derives from ‘Kolikos’ – a Greek term associated with the colon. When used relating to an organ of the body the term ‘Colic’ is used to describe a sudden pain which starts and stops abruptly, for instance renal (kidney) colic (usually caused by kidney stones), biliary colic (stemming from the bile duct and usually related to gallstones). You may have also heard of equine colic which is a serious condition in horses caused by a serious gastrointestinal problem. In all of these cases there is a very real physical cause for the colic – or pain, however in infantile/baby colic the cause is unknown and we do not even know that the baby definitely is crying because they are in pain.

Morris Wessel came up with his idea of ‘the rule of 3s’ in the 1970s  (now know as ‘The Wessel Criteria) – that is a baby who fits the Wessel criteria to be diagnosed with colic is one who “cries for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week, for over 3 weeks.” The Wessel criteria is now the one most commonly used in medical circles for diagnosing infantile colic and the criteria used for most research into baby colic. Around 1 in 6 babies will fit the Wessel criteria for a dianosis of colic. The real causes of colic however are likely due to numerous other issues including:

  • Lactose intolerance and Cows milk protein allergy
  • Tongue tie (more on this later)
  • Breastfeeding latch problems/oversupply issues (more on this later)
  • Cranial compression/residual birth trauma (see THIS article:)
  • Parental anxiety/stress
  • Misunderstanding of the needs of babies, including premature/overlong separation of baby from parent
  • Constipation and a lack of friendly bacteria in the gut and possibly an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut
  • Having an immature nervous system and over-stimulation from the external world.

I feel it is also important to point out here that very young babies will almost always draw their legs up to the tummies, with their knees on their chest when they cry or feel scared, this is a normal reflex response and NOT a symptom of pain. Similarly they will often go bright red when they cry and their tummy will feel hard – this is due to muscular tension from the crying, again NOT pain.

4. Tongue Tie and Breastfeeding Latch Issues

refIn my opinion this is one of the top two causes of what people call ‘reflux’. In tongue tie the baby’s tongue is held too tightly to the base of their mouth by a short frenulum. This can either be visible if it is anterior (often the baby will have a heart-shaped tongue), however it can also be invisible to all but the highly trained (and here I mean lactation consultants – most definitely not GPs, health visitors, paediatricians and most midwives – who will have no idea what to look for) when it is situated at the back of the tongue (what is known as a posterior tongue tie). In addition a baby may also be suffering with a lip tie.

All of these can hugely effect feeding, weight gain, sleep and the baby’s behaviour. Common symptoms include: feeding difficulties (tongue tie can still affect babies who bottle feed), getting frustrated at the breast or bottle, disrupted sleep, poor weight gain, prolonged crying, sore nipples if the mother is breastfeeding, digestive disturbances (including vomiting) and a baby who doesn’t seem satiated after a feed (often because they get too tired from the effort and fall asleep before they are full).

To anybody reading this who thinks their baby has reflux, please – I urge you, contact a Lactation Consultant BEFORE you visit your GP, paediatrician or health visitor.

5. Not Understanding the Normal Needs of Young Babies.

This is the latter half of my “it’s not really reflux – it’s this” top two. Small babies need almost constant physical contact. They need to be held and carried (when they are asleep as well as awake). They are not meant to be sleep trained, taught to self soothe (read my article here for what happens when you do) or put down to get themselves to sleep. They need us. When they don’t get us they cry, lots and they are often sick, lots. Plus they don’t sleep (see the next point for more on this). If your baby is 12 weeks or less, read this article to learn more about their needs and how you can best meet them.

6. Incorrect Expectations of Babies.

Young babies don’t sleep. Actually even older babies don’t sleep much either. They wake often, often every 30-45minutes, they aren’t happy sleeping alone, they wake when you put them in a crib or cot, they wake early in the morning, they feed many, many times during the night. This is all normal. Even when you hold them in a sling for naps or bedshare at night they still wake lots.

Babies have tiny tummies, they need to feed lots and often their immature physiology will mean they spit up lots and you’ll drench more than a few muslins with baby sick.

Babies don’t much like being placed on their back either, despite this being by far the best way for them to sleep in terms of safety (note – I am NOT advocating anyone put their baby down on their front – ever, it’s dangerous), most babies are happier to lay on their front. This isn’t indicative of the dreaded reflux.

What we expect of baby’s sleep is quite frankly ridiculous. Babies don’t sleep much, babies cry lots (it’s how they communicate with us!). If parents weren’t deluged with so much inaccurate advice from experts, friends and relatives about babycare things would be much easier! and I’m pretty sure there would be a whole lot less reflux diagnosed. What makes the whole thing worse is that as a society our expectations of babies doesn’t tend to match our lifestyle. See this article for more. This absolutely doesn’t mean that a quarter of all babies have a medical disorder though. In most cases we are pathologising normal baby behaviour because as a society we are unable to adjust our lifestyle to meet their needs. Parents need more support in order to do the very important job that they do, they just don’t get enough now.

7. Allergy or intolerance.

Cows Milk Protein allergy or an intolerance to lactose (likely a secondary issue in relation to another disorder) often get misdiagnosed as reflux. The baby is medicated and the real problem is missed, like a sticky plaster over a festering wound. These are the cases where a diagnosis of reflux can be dangerous as it masks the real issue.

8. An overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria

If the baby was born via C-Section, has received antibiotics, mum has received antibiotics whilst pregnant or breastfeeding or the baby is formula fed then it is likely that their microbiome, or gut flora, is suboptimal. The lack of ‘good’ bacteria and overgrowth of ‘bad’ can result in symptoms masquerading as reflux, once again a case of the diagnosis masking the real problem. The best step forward here? A good infant probiotic.

I for one am ecstatic about the new NICE guidance that advises doctors to use infant reflux medication more sparely. Despite headline grabbing articles stating how difficult it will be for parents to get reflux medication for their babies. Bring it on I say – maybe then these parents will actually get to find out what’s REALLY wrong with their baby and will receive the proper care, support and treatment that they – and their babies – deserve.

Sarah

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About SarahOckwell-Smith

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, Parenting author and mother to four.
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18 Responses to The Great Baby Reflux Epidemic (or not….)

  1. sarah says:

    I am usually a massive fan of your articles. I have learnt a huge amount and generally agree wholly with your philosophy and advice. However this article has made me very angry. I had a baby with reflux and milk allergy and colic and as a health professional this is an area that I have researched a lot. I struggled for 4 months to get help for my little boy and was close to despair at times. My go barely knew what infant reflux was let alone over diagnosing it and your assertion that colic can be caused by parental stress is ludicrous. Of course parents with colicky babies are stressed but I would strongly suggest it is effect rather than cause. I certainly do not argue that a degree of reflux is completely normal in young babies due to their iimmature oesophageal sphincters but that does not mean that abnormal or pathological reflux is an imagined condition. I just hope that your article does not lead to more babies and parents suffering in the way we had to.

    • Hi Sarah, I absolutely agree, it is a real condition, just very, very rare. As I stated. This means obviously some infants will have genuine GORD – most don’t however. There is actually a fair amount of research linking maternal mood and infant behaviour and I strongly believe that maternal mood is not just affected by the baby, but vice versa too. This may be due to residual birth trauma, difficulty in the transition to motherhood, lack of support, AND and PND and other external factors. I think it would be naive to assume that maternal mood with a ‘difficult’ baby only has a one way correlation. My biggest hope with this article is that the first steps new parents will take is to visit a lactation consultant before a GP – and to consider other factors, both physical and psychological, in addition to visiting their GP. My other strong hope is that one day all GPs, health visitors and midwives will have up to date, in depth training on the physiology of infant feeding and tongue tie.

  2. rach says:

    Sadly this article will upset far far more people than it will help. As a parent of a cmpa baby who had severe painful reflux and was refused your trendy incredibly expensive medication and formula for 12 months because of incorrect assumptions like yours made by numerous gps and lactation consultant. I am deeply deeply offended by your suggestion that we parents put being cool over our babies health. Just like the previous comment I am surprise by this ill informed article. Maybe you should do a little more primary research in future before writing an article you must have known would cause real offence to many families genuinely suffering with reflux!

    • Hi Rach, Please re-read the article. At no point did I say that GORD/GERD doesn’t exist and similarly CMPA. However, what I have said is how rare it is and how the current medicated 25% of the (baby) population is not indicative of the true epidemiology. If there is true GERD/GORD/CMPA then of course it can’t be fixed by a tongue tie revision or more knowledge of attachment theory – and I have not implied such a thing. The information in this article is true and I have spent many years researching this issue (albeit not conducting research), I would estimate out of the 300 or so families I have worked with with a baby with reflux only about 10 genuinely did. If however you chose to disbelief my words, please read those of the medical professionals I have quoted, who really are experts and have carried out extensive research into this issue (and equally the recommendations of NICE – which are evidence based). I understand it may upset those with babies with TRUE GERD/GORD (though I’m not sure why as I have clearly highlighted that GERD/GORD *is* real), however that was not my intention at all. My hope is to reach the 90% of (I believe) babies that are incorrectly diagnosed/medicated in the hopes that they get proper treatment/help for the issue that is really behind the behaviour.

  3. Laura says:

    You understand then that parents with those “rare”babies might be upset but do you understand why! It took months of exorcist across a room style vomit, breathing problems, loosing weight, circulation problems and developmental delay till she was lying in hospital for it to be diagnoses because of articles like this! If I had a pound very one somebody said “all babies are sick” I would be rich! I already have an older child so knew this and this wasn’t normal. This article feeds this mentality and leads to the battles I had to get her the med and special milk she needed (noa was also diagnosed. I hope that another baby doesn’t end up in the state mine did by someone who had read something like this. Thank god I now have a very healthy happy 16m old thanks to those meds etc.

    • Yes Laura – I think this is part of the problem. Medics need to be radically retrained when it comes to infant feeding and behaviour so that 1. they do not medicate thousands of babies who don’t need it, 2. so that they can swiftly refer for a tongue tie division to preserve breastfeeding for as long as possible, 3. they pick up on more PND and enable the mothers to get the help they deserve, 4. They have better understanding of CMPA/LI and don’t just advise mothers to ‘give up dairy’ or prescribe specialist formula and 6. So that they can actually recognise when there is a real problem and refer for expert advice, testing, diagnosis and treatment ASAP. Currently I don’t feel that any of that is being done. I am on the same side as you if you really take time to understand what I’m saying!

  4. rach says:

    Maybe instead of me rereading your article you should reread my comment. Nobody in their right mind or fit to be around children would force medicate their precious children to make themselves look good! That is where you open the article and automatically stop anyone seeing past thus offensive point. The gps and lactation consultant that told me my little boy had colic and I was the problem were aslo allegedly trained experts. This is not an overdiagnosed problem. It is an incredibly under diagnosed one predominantly due to misguided opinions of socalled experts and nhs budget priorities. You may feel you are on our side but until you write with empathy and not accusation and with genuine concern, the parenting population will continue to believe your articles are designed to get our reactions on which I commend you on uour achievement.

    • I’m not sure why you think I say people medicate to ‘look good’? There is a significant body of research that highlights that it is terribly over-diagnosed, I’ve linked a couple of bits in my post, but there is plenty more you’ll find if you go to pubmed.com. If there is any accusation in my post it is aimed at the shocking training health professionals receive re. GERD/GORD, CMPA, LI, tongue tie and breastfeeding, plus the pharmaceutical industry who advertise their products in a heavy handed way (I have worked in the pharma industry and am well aware of their practices) not at parents themselves.

  5. rach says:

    Please then never refer to a childs medical issues as “trendy”! That is where I read “cool” and to “look good”. Parents such as myself who have spents weeks,months, years listening to their babies screaming in pain will take simple words such as that and see it as an attack on their parenting, parrticularly when they have battled tooth and nail for a diagnosis for their child. Thank you for responding to my comment swiftly (and at all). Your comments seem to have more of the desired effect than the article itself and are far more reassuring to me thank you. As you can see this is something I also feel strongly about and it appears we do want the same thing as you say better education for medical professionals!

    • No problem Rach – I do feel the need to say though that the ‘trendy’ comment is related to the current trend for GPs/Paeds to medicate without proper testing/diagnosis. ‘Trendy’ doesn’t just relate to fashion/looks, it relates also to social issues that are trending at any given moment in time. My comment had absolutely no implication for parents.

  6. amber probert says:

    My baby boy suffered for three weeks after brith from severe GERD because the doctors kept saying it was normal baby spit up like I don’t know the difference of spit up from vomiting. He lost 3.5 lbs before they listened to me. We were in the hospital from a week to make sure he was gaining weight. And then there was the consent fight With the insurance company to cover his medication. And this was in 2010. I have also never run across another parent who says there baby suffered from GERD. And haven knows I was constantly explaining to other adults all the special instruction that went along with feeding him that would be common knowledge if this article was true. I have to say I believe this article had the potential to do more harm then good. Very disappointing that someone had the chance to clear the misconception of this horrible tramtic diease and instead used it as a platform to bash concerned parents. Last thing for those who have an infant who truly suffers from GERD they it’s no mistaking or not seeking treatment out makes ourselves v know very quickly.

  7. Tongue tie mammy says:

    My 18 week lo has tongue tie, fortunately diagnosed & treated on day 2 in hospital so we have been able to establish good breastfeed & he gained weight. However, He has been colicky, reflux, windy, lots of farts, poor sleep. I was referred back to Dr who said no more tt to treat with little evidence of benefit & no link between symptoms and tt. I have since seen a lactation consultant who confirmed he has 2/3 tt. Gave me very effective advice &. I think we will retreat as I’m struggling to cope with crying. He was sleeping through the night at 9 weeks but since 16 weeks wakes every 3 hrs at night & at times it takes an hour to settle him…he seems to be uncomfortable. 50% feeds go well. I consider myself lucky that tt was diagnosed early as I may have been sent down the reflux route as cause rather than effect of Tongue tie

  8. Nicola says:

    This article has angered me so much. Our son wasn’t diagnosed with reflux and given the appropriate treatment after a ‘5 minute chat’ with a GP. It took months of sheer hell to get the diagnosis and a further 4 months to get the correct milk and medication. The result of a delayed diagnosis meant that our son’s digestive system so irritated and inflamed that he bled from his bottom and many foods resulted in a nasty gastric reaction. I was also diagnosed with Post Natal Depression, a condition which I wholly believe was the direct result of being constantly fobbed off with ‘first time mum syndrome’. Anyone who has had a baby with reflux will know it’s not just a bit of crying or ‘spit up’. It is a painful condition which left untreated can cause all sorts of short and long term complications both emotional and physical. I hate the fact that both of my children have had to have an adult dose of Proton Pump Inhibitors, I hate the fact that they have had to follow a dairy and soya free diet. I hate the fact that the first 6 months of both of our babies were a living hell for everyone. But what I hate most is the people who roll their eyes when they hear the word ‘reflux’. They seriously haven’t got a fucking clue. Maybe you could try a bit of support rather than judge? Maybe go over to that mum/dad/grandparent with the screaming, projectile vomiting baby and offer to hold their baby so they can have a cup of tea? Maybe offer a sympathetic ear to that mum/dad/grandparent who is sobbing pushing their pushchair around your local park? Chances are they have been pounding the pavements for hours in all weathers. Because one day, just maybe it could be you, or your loved one who get to experience the reflux rollercoaster. Believe me, it’s a ride that you NEVER want to get on.

  9. Vita says:

    I was really pleased to read your article and I agree with so much of what you wrote. My baby is 14 months old now so we’re past “that stage” but it really sickened me to hear so many of my friends with children bring up (excuse the pun!) “reflux” and “colic” whilst actually not accepting the change in their life that the baby brought – the two biggest problems being sleeping and nursing. Many mothers will just not spend the time required nursing their babies. Obviously the babies cry and the milk supply dwindles. I happened to time all my feeds from the start, for no particular reason, and I realised that at the beginning I was nursing my son for 10 hours out of 24 on average! Later I discovered that he had a tongue tie, but even after releasing it I had to put the hours in. Secondly, I noticed my friends had the obsession of “putting the baby down” – as soon as the baby would fall asleep or be quiet they’d put her/him down. Inevitably the baby would wake up or if already awake start crying.
    I understand that the way we live in our society makes it very hard for women. We’re not surrounded by mums, aunts, grannies etc who just cuddle the baby all day long. However, mothers should realise that if they’re not prepared to hold the baby 24/7 and nurse him or her 12 hours out of 24 the baby will cry. Desperately. Not to mention that he/she will probably cry anyway at some point!
    I’m sorry for all the people who got offended by your article – I for one would have felt more confident and less lonely if I’d had the chance to read it a year ago. And yes, my baby spat up a lot, but I was always confident that it was just normal surplus of milk.
    So many people commented on how “good” my baby was and is, as if it’s part of his character. All babies are good if carried constantly instead of being in a pram or cot and nursed every moment of the day.
    My friends said that they “couldn’t get anything done” and wondered at how slim I was – well, I didn’t do anything apart from carrying around the baby, and I was slim because I couldn’t get around to making myself any food till my husband got home. Obviously with more than one child and no help I don’t know how one can manage, but the issue is social organisation, not reflux or colic.
    Thank you and keep up the good work!

  10. Suzie says:

    I’m trying really really hard not to be offended by the article, as a mother of a 5 month old who has just come off ranitidine in the last few weeks. I have always beaten myself up about the possibility that maybe we were too quick to medicate him and give him chemicals that maybe he didn’t need. He was never projectile sick everywhere – in fact he was never sick that much really. But the agony and the screaming when I tried to few him, where he arched his back, threw himself away from the bottle and howled, still haunts me. He was in so much pain when he ate. Ranitidine stopped this within 48 hours and he then happily drank his milk and stopped screaming from one feed to the next. I’m intrigued as to whether he is one of the babies who you think didn’t need trendy medication and whether I should have just had lower expectations of him as a baby. As I said, he is no longer on the medication and doing fine now, although I still give him one sachet of gaviscon in his bedtime bottle as it seems to make it much easier for him to go to sleep. This article is definitely interesting, but is clearly going to add to the guilt that we all load onto ourselves at every opportunity.

  11. Raluca says:

    Thank you, Sarah! For years I have studied about the “reflux” that my first child had, and after the second came around I got to the conclusion that it was the tongue tie for both of them. I am so sad that I didn’t have the information before I became a mom, so I think future moms will be grateful for your article!

    I did not give my son the medication our doctor recommended, instead I wore him all day, he slept on me during the day, tummy on tummy (since if I inclined him to the back even a little, he threw up and cried a lot), and on my husband’s chest during the night. I breastfed him only danced in a carrier upright. And after 6-10 months it was all over, without any side effects.

    I don’t usually comment, but now I felt that you should know how helpful I think this post is, just like the others! Thank you!

  12. Colleen says:

    I think that one more factor in the increasing number of babies with reflux is the pervasive use of breastpumps. Many moms are pumping extra milk, and end up with oversupply, and then when they breastfeed the baby, he gets much more milk than he needs, and up comes the excess. I’ve talked to so many moms who thought they didn’t have enough milk, but actually turned out to have more than the baby could handle.

  13. sam says:

    Sarah
    what you say is fair enough but what you seem to neglect to consider is the psychological effects on small children of sleep deprived parents who are so tired that they struggle to function. Sleep is essential to good health and I believe that the harm caused by lack of it through poor routines that go on into school years is greater than a few nights of prolonged crying. It’s not just the baby it’s the wellbeing of the family that is crucial.

    Sam

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