Little Routines, Gillian Stewart

Reflux in Babies
Gillian Stewart, Friday, September 05, 2014

I have just spent time this summer with a baby who was suffering with reflux. After some rather difficult days and a lot of mopping up, the baby is now coping well on medication. Adjusting her sleeping and playing positions have meant she is generally much happier and at 6 weeks old she slept through the night and continues to do so. 

Reflux seems to be on the increase and one of the possible causes appears to be linked with the sleeping position of babies today. As we all know babies should be sleeping on their backs as part of the safety procedures advised against cot death. It is just one of a list of recommendations.

Reflux in babies was something I rarely came across during my training and early career caring for babies. Yes, some babies were a little 'sicky', but reflux and silent reflux wasn't around as it is today. 

It can be very distressing for the baby and parents. These babies can be so unhappy. One day is never the same as the next and it is impossible to predict whether today will be the time that your baby is going to be unhappy.

There are various things you can do to help improve the discomfort your baby will be suffering.
A medical opinion should of course be sort first. There are stomach acid reducing drugs and milk thickening powder formulas that can help reflux.
Changing formula type if your baby is being formula fed can help some babies.
Keeping your baby upright after feeds for at least half an hour may help.
Trying to find more comfortable and safe ways for your baby to sleep.
Sucking on a dummy can help distract your baby from crying. Sucking is one of the main things that bring comfort to a baby.

However, occasionally it seems that as much as you are trying to help your baby they continue to be unhappy.
Try not to let it get to you. Take the good times and really enjoy them.
Once your baby is sitting up and is on solids you will see a huge improvement.

I think a little more understanding from the public would really help the parents of an unhappy baby. Parents would then be able to go out and not feel they are being judged because their baby is crying. It can be so stressful and it just isn't as easy as a cuddle or a feed to calm their baby down.

More information on reflux can be found at livingwithreflux.org and babycentre.co.uk