Reflux is a common issue many newborns suffer from and can be a source of frustration and concern for parents. While the symptoms of reflux may be simple to spot, it is important to remember that only a pediatrician, nurse practitioner or gastroenterologist can diagnose reflux. In this blog, we will be discussing how to manage reflux and work with your doctor to provide relief for your baby.
What is reflux?
Having a basic understanding of reflux is important because it is difficult to manage reflux if you don’t know anything about it. There are two different types of reflux that babies can be afflicted with: physiological and pathological. Physiological reflux is the most common type and is the result of an immature esophagus. Babies with physiological reflux are typically characterised as “happy spitters.” Pathological reflux is readily distinguishable because the baby will be in pain. Symptoms include but are not limited to: spitting up after a feed, arching back, coughing or sputtering, sour breath, and crying when laid on their back after a feed.
It is advisable to seek help to manage reflux if your baby is exhibiting these symptoms and seems to be uncomfortable.
There are a number of ways to manage reflux in newborns so it is worth exploring the options and discussing them with your doctor. Smaller more frequent meals during the day, burping more frequently during meals (every ounce or so), and keeping baby upright for at least 15 minutes after a feed can help provide relief for your baby. You can also try changing bottle feeding equipment to a bottle like Dr. Brown or if reflux is causing sleep issues, the Baby Stay Asleep may be beneficial.
When you are trying to manage reflux a fixed dosage of medicine is less effective as weight increases so your baby will need regular appointments.
Visiting Your Doctor
There are many pieces of information that may be helpful when discussing reflux issues with your doctor. Bring a list of symptoms as well as information on your diet, if you are breastfeeding or information on your formula, if you are formula feeding or supplementing. Your doctor will also likely be interested in your baby’s feeding habits (how much, how long, how frequent), burping habits, and post feeding routines. Keep in mind that the two of you are working together, so it is important for you to ask questions and express concerns while you are visiting with your doctor. All of this information will be useful in helping your doctor make recommendations on techniques and/or medication to manage reflux.
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