“It's so simple!” says the world’s most experienced Pediatrician.
Does your baby have reflux? Is he or she spitting up, fussy, colicky? There are common sense, effective ways of curing this without medications.
When a baby is fretful and unhappy for no apparent reason, crying constantly, often spitting up and showing signs of abdominal pain we say he has “reflux” or is colicky.
Every normal infant needs to cry for limited periods of time and will spit up sometimes, but this behavior is distinguished from the miserable, colicky baby.
Hi, I’m Madia. I have eleven children and one of the greatest privileges of my life was to know Dr. Leila Denmark. She practiced pediatrics for over 75 years and was my mentor for 32 years.
I can hardly express how much she helped me, both with the children’s medical issues and family life challenges. I would love to share what she taught me with you.
Based on the counsel of Dr. Leila Denmark, you should ask yourself seven questions in your search for a cure for reflux.
(1) Am I feeding my baby too frequently?
Probably the most common cause of reflux is too frequent feedings. Feedings need to be spaced apart to give the stomach time to digest food and pass it to the intestines before more food is added. Too frequent feedings cause indigestion, stomach pain and often spitting up. If an infant is in pain, he will often make sucking motions. These are instinctive for infants in any kind of distress. Mothers interpret the sucking motions as genuine hunger, so baby is fed again. Baby will drink more because he thinks sucking will stop the pain. Instead of resolving the pain, the new feeding increases it and we now have a colicky baby who keeps crying and sucking and crying.
“I have found that demand feedings are very bad…the more often the baby is fed, the more he cries because his stomach is not empty when a new food is added, making proper digestion impossible, and resulting in a very distended and painful stomach”
(2) Am I positioning my baby properly in the crib?
Positioning your infant on his stomach to sleep is far moreconducive to better digestion and peaceful rest. (Dr. Denmark Said It! instructs mothers on the best way to make up a crib and position your baby for better digestion, safety and comfort.)
(3) Is my baby allergic to a particular food?
Spitting up formula or breast milk may indicate a food allergy. Try changing the formula. Nursing mothers may need to eliminate various food from her diet to determine whether her baby is allergic to something she is eating. Play “detective” and watch for improvement as you eliminate particular foods. You may need to eliminate a food for up to two weeks to determine whether it is a problem. Common offenders are milk products, citrus and chocolate.
(4) Is my baby going through withdrawals?
Many colicky babies are born of mothers who smoked, drank or took drugs during pregnancy (these may include prescription drugs). It will take weeks for such infants to behave normally, as they were born “addicted” and need time to get over withdrawal symptoms. If mother discontinues the stimulants or drugs and nurses her baby, the shock will be lessened to the baby’s system. On the other hand, if he is put directly on formula, within 24 hours, it is likely he will become stiff and irritable.
“ …this baby is a dope fiend, nicotine addict, coffee addict, alcoholic, or whatever the mother is addicted to, and to be deprived of the drug he has had for nine months makes him a wreck. He is jumpy, cyanotic, and stiff; he vomits, spits up, is constipated or has frequent stools, cries, and cannot be consoled until he has time to get over nine months of dissipation… sometimes a mother has to take a drug to protect her against convulsions, hypertension, and many other conditions that have to be treated to save the mother, but we must remember that the baby is getting everything the mother gets, and it takes time for the baby to get off the drug.”
(5) Does my baby have a stomach bug?
A stomach “bug” is pretty easy to distinguish. The symptoms of a stomach bug are similar to those of an older person. Be especially careful that baby doesn't get dehydrated. (Dr. Denmark Said It! has a chapter on dealing with digestive disorders.)
(6) Is this projectile vomiting
Projectile vomiting, especially in males, is cause for serious concern. It's like an explosion- the entire meal returns, and you can detect a rise and fall in his stomach as he ejects the food. Consult a physician immediately.
(7) Does my healthy, happy baby spit up water in addition to food?
If your baby is normally happy, is gaining well, seems alert and active, then he (or she) is probably fine even if he spits up frequently. Try giving him water. If baby spits up water in addition to food, he may have a weak esophageal gastric valve, a normal condition in an infant. He may do it frequently for eight months but will gain normally.
Be patient Mom! Don't wear anything that needs to be dry cleaned for a while. You will be using your washing machine a lot: sheets, baby clothes, blankets, your clothes, etc. I know from personal experience! Out of eleven children, nine were happy spitter-uppers. They usually quit spitting up between eight and twelve months with no lasting effects.
For more information on feeding schedules, positioning infants, sleep training and other fundamentals of childcare order your copy Dr. Denmark Said It! today.