New and experienced parents alike are eager to solve the mystery of what’s really bothering their baby – is it reflux or colic? The symptoms for both are similar, from the constant crying to poor sleep. However, it’s important to single out reflux as the cause of such symptoms as most infants are wrongly labeled colicky when they’re actually reflux cases that haven’t been diagnosed and treated.
Reflux Versus Colic
It’s easier to identify if a baby has reflux or colic if you understand the differences between them.
· Reflux-Gastro Esophageal Reflux (GER) – is the more accurate term for reflux. It’s the stomach contents’ backward flow upwards the esophagus. Everyone experiences this occasionally, especially after a heavy meal. It’s another story when it happens in babies. Infant reflux is usually the result of lower esophageal sphincter immaturity, this is the muscle linking the esophagus with the stomach.
Common symptoms of reflux are pain and irritability, poor sleep patterns accompanied by frequent waking, arching back and neck during or after feeding time to vomit or spit up, repeated hiccups or wet burp, sinus congestion or recurrent ear infections, sudden or constant crying or other colic-like symptoms.
· Colic – Colic refers to extended, uncontrollable crying among babies that are otherwise well-fed and healthy. Sure, all infants cry, but if the bawling exceeds three hours daily and happens three to four days per week, you most likely have a colic situation on your hands.
A major sign of colic is the nonstop crying for lengthy timeframes – and the wailing is worse at night. Colicky babies appear in pain or look uncomfortable, pull their legs up towards their abdomen, turn red-faced, pass gas and lift their head.
Breastfeeding is the perfect solution for reflux babies; given that breastfed infants have fewer as well as milder reflux episodes than formula-fed babes. Compared to formula, human milk is easier to digest and empties from the stomach two times faster – something essential in reflux prevention. The quicker milk leaves the stomach, the less time there is for esophageal backup.
Baby Reflux Solutions
Here are tricks to easing reflux in babies.
· Give babies more frequent but smaller feedings as digestion is easier.
· For babies nursing constantly that spit up after each feeding, consider offering them pacifiers so the stomach is not overfilled.
· Work on identifying foods in the baby’s or mom’s diet that could be causing such reflux reactions. Citrus, processed foods, tomatoes, high-fat foods and dairy are common baby reflux culprits.
· Try keeping babies in upright position while feeding as well as after.
· Handle reflux babies gently and burp them frequently.
· Moms should hold affected babies upright or allow them to lie upright on them for 15 minutes.
Keep in mind that not all infants suffering from reflux require medication. Before moving to serious drugs to take care of the problem, consider the above suggestions first. Most of them could help ease babies’ discomfort and spit-up issues, doing away with the need for strong medications.