Your Baby Has Reflux…Or Do They?

Congrats on your new baby! You have asked all the questions, took all the classes, but your baby seems to be spitting up more than expected. Maybe they even have some projectile vomiting…What is going on? Is something wrong? First, lets start by asking a few questions:

1. How was my baby born? If you had a C-section or even a long, more difficult vaginal delivery, it can be common for reflux like symptoms to present themselves. Due to the difficult delivery, there can be large amounts of pulling and twisting stresses on the baby’s body and spine, especially in the neck and upper back region. The delicate nerves in this area control bodily functions in the face, throat, lungs, just to name a few. They may become irritated during delivery and not allow your baby’s throat, esophagus, or mouth to be at their best. Because of this, the “reflux” like symptoms may be present. How can this be helped? By checking your baby’s spine for misalignments which cause the decreased nerve function, we can gently and specifically correct them in order for your baby to heal, grow, and thrive at their best!

2. What is your baby eating? If your baby is exclusively breastfed, and still experiencing reflux like symptoms, see #1. Unfortunately, in a few cases, I have heard mothers tell me that a practitioner mentioned that this may be happening because their baby was allergic to their breast milk. In my opinion, that is completely ludicrous, and causes a rant that I don’t have enough space to get into right now. If you have started your baby on formula, there can be some sensitivities or allergies to the ingredients. It can be common for babies to be sensitive to cow’s milk based formulas, especially if they are the bigger brand names such as Enfamil, Similac, Nestle, Gerber. These brands use cow’s milk treated with hormones, antibiotics, fed a non organic, GMO based diet. Some will state that your baby has a lactose allergy, which can be partially true. We aren’t always meant to drink milk from another animal. However, I also feel there can be allergies and sensitivities to the other low quality ingredients, and products ingested by the cows. Changing your baby’s formula to a higher quality, organic, non GMO formula whether it is cow or goat based can make a difference. Look for brands such as Kabrita or Holle. Goat’s milk is much more similar to human breast milk, and easier to digest. A higher quality cow’s milk based formula can make a huge difference too. Breast milk will always be the best, and recommend that exclusively as long as possible for you and your baby. See one of my other blogs: “Is there a formula for choosing a baby formula.”

3. What am I eating? If you are breastfeeding, your baby may also be sensitive to the foods that you are eating, too. While breastfeeding, if you are eating some foods with cow’s dairy, soy, or gluten, these are some typical sensitivities your baby may have. This can create a reflux type reaction after feeding. By reducing or eliminating these foods from your diet can make your baby’s tummy happier and calm the reflux.

4. Is my baby having latching issues when feeding? Sometimes when babies are feeding, there can be difficulties while latching. If they have a lip or a tongue tie, or both, this can contribute. Because these don’t allow your baby to completely latch on and transfer milk, air can enter the baby’s system, air bubbles form, causing gas and irritation while swallowing or digesting. This can cause hiccups and reflux like symptoms. Working with a lactation consultant can help give you techniques, and resources to help remedy this. Also, a “revision” of the lip/tongue tie can release the frenulum in order to allow baby to latch properly, thus avoiding the transfer of air.

Some common interventions to avoid:

If a milk formula sensitivity is noticed, some practitioners will recommend a brand of formula called “Neocate.” This brand is “manufactured” in order to remove the lactose, and in theory avoid the allergy to it. Now, this is a manufactured, processed product using low quality ingredients, including high amounts of sugar. The formula smells and tastes quite horrible, and I don’t recommend it as a replacement.

Another common recommendation is switching to a soy based formula. In the US, soy is anywhere between 95% and 99% genetically modified (GMO). I do not recommend soy for anyone, especially in babies, as the body can recognize it as an artificial hormone. In general, I do not recommend GMOs, because we don’t completely understand how they react to our physiology. Lastly, it is typical for a low dose of daily Zantac to be prescribed. Introducing chemicals into your baby’s system at such a young age is not only unnecessary, but can also come with side effects. In order to filter out these chemicals from the body, your baby’s liver and kidneys will need to work overtime, and again, can come with other side effects from medication which is just masking the root cause.

Babies aren’t just born with these kinds of issues, and it is a sign of an underlying problem. Finding the root cause and addressing that in a natural way will help you baby heal properly. Learn more about our approach to infant and pediatric care here.