It is extremely common and normal for a healthy baby to regularly spit up; nearly 50% of babies will experience regurgitating of feed, or experience some kind of feeding difficulty in their first few months of life.
 
The entrance to the stomach attached to the oesophagus holds a muscle/valve which is called the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter, (LOS). Ideally, the LOS closes as soon as food passes through. If the LOS does not close properly, or if it opens too often - as seen in infants with an immature structure - then acid produced by the stomach can move freely up into the oesophagus/gullet. This can cause symptoms such as a burning chest pain and discomfort, and can indicate that the baby is experiencing more than usual baby spit-up or regurgitating.
 
It is said that reflux mainly starts at six weeks old and peaks at four months, although in our situation, we noticed symptoms very early on.
 
Reflux that corrects its self within roughly four to six months and is managed by organic means, is classed as GOR (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux). 
 
Reflux that persists and needs medication is known as GORD (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease). GORD can continue right into the toddler stage of development and may need ongoing medical care and investigations.
 

Possible signs of reflux in infants:
Babies who repeatedly produce projectile vomit are easier to diagnose with reflux, as it is obviously more visible.
 
Weight loss is also an indicator in some cases, and it is commonly how most professionals record how the reflux is affecting the baby. Most babies with silent reflux (SR) do not fall under this category, as they do not lose the contents of their feed through projectile vomiting, and the vital calories for weight gain are not lost. Not losing calories sometimes results in a slower diagnosis, as these babies are seen to be gaining weight; they are classed as 'thriving'.

Other signs include: 
  • Excessive crying or irritability during or after feeding.
  • Baby seems impossible to settle or is constantly whining.
  • Regurgitation and choking, or apnoea with blue spells.
  • Vomiting forcefully or more than normal baby spit-up.
  • Seemingly excessive hunger, although Baby refuses to feed when formula/breast is offered.
  • Baby seems like he/she is drowning while being fed.
  • Excessive hiccups with sour-smelling breath.
  • Significant wind issues.
  • Back arching and clawing at parents’ chest or face.
  • Baby may seem startled and fling arms outstretched intermittently throughout the day.
  • Excessive drool or teething-like symptoms at a very early age, or constant drool and gnawing at hands, but no sign of teeth!
  • Very poor sleep patterns for age-appropriate stages.
Reflux can also be caused by allergy or intolerance to proteins found in formula or breast milk. Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance (CMPI) / Cow’s Milk Soy Protein Intolerance (CMSPI) can be attributed to reflux and actually drive the symptoms. Functional medical training can identify the cause at the source, instead of treating the resulting manifestation.
 
 
Reflux can be one of the most difficult experiences that a parent/ care-giver may encounter. The sheer lack of understanding and knowledge from medical professionals has attributed to the heartache and anguish many Irish parents are experiencing. Sadly, it seems that many professionals feel that reflux is mere laundry issue, and is a condition a baby will simply grow out of in time.
 
Click here for more statistics on reflux: http://www.therefluxbible.com/#!blog/cjn9

Unfortunately, reflux and reflux disease seem to be becoming increasingly more common, and the condition is reaching epidemic proportions globally. My aim, over the coming months, is to debunk myths and misconceptions, and attribute support and advice to a topic that greatly needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
 
Coming up:
  • The difference between reflux (GOR) and reflux disease (GORD)
  • Organic ways to relieve reflux
  • Reflux and breastfeeding/ reflux formula, hypoallergenic/ amino based
  • Alternative therapy/ hospital procedures
  • Medication and how to prepare it correctly
  • Reflux and allergy/non IgE, how food can impact and drive reflux symptoms/behaviour
  • Complications resulting from GORD, other health issues
  • Help and support
Expert in Reflux in Babies and Young Children
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