Reflux and Allergy • 25 April 2019
This is what we know.
Your Baby is uncomfortable… way way beyond, just a bit of wind or colic!!
We know this because baby is extremely uncomfortable. Like all the time he is awake. Parents can feel it in their babies. Almost to the point of reaching pure desperation, a near breaking point. They would literally sell their souls to try and help their child stop crying and get some sleep. Baby has difficulty
winding sleeping and likes to be in arms, constantly.
It’s very difficult for baby to sleep without being held, or without positioned upright on you. Baby may try to relax and sleep but is continually disturbed with little spasms of discomfort. This then extends into over-tiredness, aggravating an already challenging situation. This becomes a continual cycle. Especially exhausting for Mum, who’s breast, ends up being the only thing to placate and soothe baby.
When does it start?
Sometimes from birth.
Mostly from about 4-6 weeks
Nearly always from 8 weeks after the first jabs.
How do I know its digestive challenge?
These babies are usually healthy tracking good weight, and mostly feed well. They also can be feeding sporadically and inconsistently.
Once we look at the 24-hour day, maybe Mum and baby can be helped to feed a bit longer at each feed and get some significant space between the feedings. If we know baby is winded and can be helped to sleep with any kind of prop, this will help. Then often it is easier to see, how uncomfortable these babes really are. We try to get baby less tired, have breaks in the digestion. Work on feeds beginning and ending. Eventually, in a couple of days, there is a small part of their day where they are able to cope and
sleep for a significant time. Rarely have I seen a baby presenting with reflux symptoms that hasn’t been helped with Mum trialing an elimination diet whilst breastfeeding. If baby is still symptomatic, we refer to a Gastroenterologist Paediatrician. Generally, a mix of diet adjusted breastfeeding and a mix or total transition to hypoallergenic formula is suggested, some babies also need some anti acid medicine to help relieve
reflux symptoms, or less obvious, silent reflux I always advise parents to see a Gastroenterologist Paediatric specialist to review any of my observations, confirm and diagnose an issue.
Digestive challenge in babies can present with these symptoms:
Poo is frequent and explosive, or baby struggles to pass a bowel movement for days. Baby likely farts the wind out of him rather than burp it up. Farts can smell bad, really eggy! Burps can be really difficult to bring up at any time. Usually the baby is worse and more troubled at night. Poos are explosive very liquid and loose. They possibly have a mucus appearance or in an extreme instance, tiny traces of blood.
Usually these babies present with reflux symptoms. Constantly needing to suck, bubbles of spittle at the mouth, lots of dribbling and liquid. Babies can dribble to the point of the top of their baby grow being saturated. (almost so you would be convinced baby is teething early, at 10-12 weeks!!). When finally, asleep, baby may have 10-45 minutes peace at most. They then may wriggle and jerk awake, kicking their legs, trying to flip, arch or turn the body, to become comfortable. Lots of crying often happens, even
dramatic immediate screaming from being fast asleep. Baby may eventually refuse feeds or is unable to feed for long. Sometimes feeding is a huge struggle with wriggling, pulling off arching their bodies away from the nipple, crying stopping then desperate to get on again. Sometimes digestive challenge looks like insatiable hunger, never seemingly satisfied after any amount of feeding. Likely baby overtime has got used to taking small amounts of breast milk. They will be sucking for sustenance, but mostly comfort.
Feeding will relieve discomfort temporarily. Then unable to cope with the rumbling pain during the continual process, of digesting milk, they present as having had no feed at all. Baby is needing to suck again and again into exhaustion and then finally maybe sleeping on the breast. On the cycle may go. Mum is often constantly trying to decipher hunger or discomfort.
Why is this happening?
For some reason baby is struggling with digesting the proteins in your breast milk. This could be any milk. Breast milk is full of goodness, helps with immunity and nutrition, however no matter how perfect a food,
it still may be a challenge to digest. Everybody thinks it is only formula fed babies who are notoriously likely to experience digestive issues. Breast milk is pure and effortless in a baby’s tummy, right? This is just not true in my reality and experience. Sadly, I have seen a vast amount of digestive challenge in exclusively breast-fed young babies.
We don’t know clearly and definitely why. We are not even sure it is completely food related. Often an elimination diet can improve things slowly. Sometimes it does not. In young babies, the gut is immature and can be irritated by certain proteins. The proteins transferred into human breast milk, most likely to cause an issue are dairy and soya. This is possibly an early onset allergy which may become delayed. There is no test for delayed allergy, before I year. Sometimes at 6 months something will show up then, often not even in an extreme display of symptoms maybe it will present at 1 year, maybe not. Often nothing shows up at all. In the past, some
of the most severely troubled digestively challenged babies have often shown nothing at skin prick and patch test, at 6 months or 1 year. However, we know their gut was and is stressed. Intervention with elimination diets and meds can possibly create a dramatic and positive change. I sometimes see mild to moderate change despite a change of diet or transition to formula and medication.
Sometimes I only see mild to moderate improvement despite much intervention. Mostly my experience of making changes has culminated in these babies finally receive some peace and comfort in the first few months to one year. I have seen them become happier and comfortable. They can enjoy their tiny lives, not constantly feeling the issues in their tummy, they finally have the digestive ease and comfort they deserve to experience.
This turn around keeps me passionate and focused on helping digestively challenged babies and their parents.
What do we do?
Eliminate dairy and soya for 2 weeks to 1-month Help assist baby to sleep with full feeds Good winding Rocking and movement Mimicking being in arms and finding the position most comfortable and tolerated
when put down to rest.
Helping a baby find relief with sucking a dummy. Even if they have previously rejected one. Helping baby to relax and be calm when asleep and stay asleep as long as possible.
Referring to GP
Information on Gastro Paediatrics. These doctors are able to understand the new parents’ story and identify with it. They will examine baby, diagnose and assist. These doctors see babies experiencing discomfort and issues constantly and continually. They understand the challenges and anxiety and they are able to validate the story and are less dismissive than poor
overworked GPs. Please know there is help and definitive changes can help a baby be more comfortable. If you have tried everything, go and see an expert on baby tummies.
Some of the things you may be told or are frequently offered up as advice.
Friends, family, strangers, any Mummy forum, daily mail on line!!!
Your baby is just hungry
It’s not hunger he is starving (my absolute worst to hear) Perhaps you are not making enough milk Babies
Babies don’t sleep, in the first year
Breast fed babies don’t need winding
It’s because you ate a vegetable, a tomato, an onion, garlic bread. you had a curry last Tuesday.
You are not drinking enough water
It’s because you didn’t give birth naturally It’s because you had an epidural My child never slept for 3
years You just have to get on with it.
Welcome to parenthood
Take them for a ride in the car seat at 3am Put them in a sling and don’t put them down ever they don’t
like to be away from you.
It will get better at 3 months.
Babies don’t need winding
It’s normal for a baby not to poo for 2 weeks Perhaps he is constipated.
Breast fed babies are never uncomfortable Breast milk is a perfect food.
Always feed them if they cry
You should co sleep
Maybe you should top him up with formula It’s because you gave them formula once It’s because he had
a top up of formula It’s because you got mastitis and had antibiotics It’s because you are mix feeding It’s
because you stopped breast feeding It’s because you switched to formula Maybe you should change the
formula milk Try hipp organic Try infacol Try gripewater Try fennel tea Try gavisgon You need a routine
It’s just being a first time Mum Everybody feels like this.
You are doing a good job
You are an amazing Mum
Are you depressed. I think you are bit depressed.
Are you finding it difficulty coping with being a ‘new Mum’
Speak to your health visitor
You need to see the GP
It’s just part of being a new Mum
You just need to relax and chill out
You are being neurotic
He is just being a baby
That’s what babies do
It’s a growth spurt
It’s 4-month regression, just a bit early Some babies just don’t like sleeping He’s just a grumpy baby They
grow out of it.
12 weeks is the magic number
Maybe you should wean him early. He’s hungry He just doesn’t like milk He just loves his milk too much
You need to put him down He just doesn’t like being put down.
You need to let him cry
Never let him cry
He might only like the left side
I fed off one boob for 5 years!!
I breast fed all my 3, without any problems and finished my PHD All my 3 slept through at 6 weeks old
It could be worse you could have twins!!!!
Please know you are not alone. Reflux and allergy undiagnosed or unsupported within a young baby is a
loss. It’s a loss for the time you expected and hoped for. It can take you to the edge of sanity. Baby is well
and healthy, and he is needs help to grow through this. and with my help your baby will be the baby he is
meant to be and experience life the way he should. In comfort, not worried about his tummy… having his
food happily, digesting it reasonably sleeping soundly growing, playing and loving his little life.