So my daughter had acid reflux. It appeared around week two and was diagnosed officially at her four week appointment. We didn’t figure it out right away because my daughter was not a spitter. Her’s was silent, meaning that it came up into her esophagus but eventually went back down instead of coming up. By month 3 she started actually spitting up a bit, which helped. But for those first three months, she just screamed and screamed when it happened until she could get it back down. If you are reading this, you probably are dealing with this too. I will assure you that it does end. My daughter’s symptoms have mostly resolved now and did so around 5 months. Here is what worked and what didn’t for her.
What didn’t work:
- The Crib Wedge: This useless piece of foam is meant to prop up one side of her crib and keep her head elevated to help her stomach contents stay down. Well if your baby moves at all (mine was strong and wiggly from day one) then they will likely slide right off it. Mine would end up sideways in her crib with her head smashed up against the crib slats within minutes. There are sleep positioners too that might work better, but I got scared by all the SIDS risks with these.
- Baby Zantac: At one month her pediatrician suggested we give her antacids. Being the exhausted, at our wits end, we’ll try anything stage parents we filled the prescription and tried it for a few days. She hated it, and even refused it in a bottle with milk. Also it didn’t seem to make a difference. We stopped after three days. I’m glad we did since we learned later from her Chinese Medicine doctor that using antacids could actually train her body to create more acid and damage her bones. Yikes!
What did work:
- Sleeping elevated in her Rock n’ Play or Hushamock Hammock: Both kept her head elevated enough to help keep the acid down while she slept. The hammock didn’t last as long as the Rock n’ Play because she grew so fast and tended to squirm around a lot. But while it did, she slept awesome in it.
- Aloe Vera Juice: I started using this in the same dose at the pediatrician had prescribed the Zantac (about .5 ml). I put it in her bottle once a day for a little while and then just used it when she had symptoms. Then I’d squirt a little in her mouth (which she wasn’t a big fan of, so the bottle mixed with breast milk is easier). Aloe Vera Juice is a great acid reducer for adults too. Try it next time you have heartburn instead of reaching for the Tums.
- Infant probiotics: This helped with her gas and constipation too I think. Probiotics are good for everyone as most illnesses actually start in your gut. I bought some at Whole Foods and mixed 1/4 teaspoon in her bottle once a day. Before she was taking a bottle, I’d just put a little of the powder on my nipple while she fed.
- Fresh air and skin to skin: Putting her in the Ergo and walking her around the neighborhood always seemed to help. It was probably somewhat due to the upright position and skin to skin contact. It was summer so I was able to keep her just in her diaper and wear a sports bra so that we could have a lot of skin to skin contact. Same goes of course in the house if its raining or too cold outside.
- Sucking on a pacifier: This helped her swallow if she wasn’t ready to eat and get whatever was in her throat down. I gave it to her right after eating if she’d take it and to go to sleep sometimes. She started refusing it around four months however. Luckily her reflux was almost done at that point.
- Special considerations for feeding: I had to be careful how I fed her, when and what we did afterwards. First – I have an overactive letdown and I think this was contributing in the beginning. If you have the same problem, make sure to take them off the nipple when you feel a let down and let it spray into a towel. Don’t put them back on until it stops. You may have to do this several times. Second – I had to make sure to feed her upright, burp her upright (and frequently) and keep her upright for at least 15 mins after eating.
- Acupressure: I took her to see my acupuncturist/Chinese Medicine doctor as I mentioned above. They use acupressure only on babies, so no needles. She did muscle testing to see what in my diet may cause her to produce a lot of stomach acid. She had me eliminate gluten, citrus and nightshade vegetables. Taking her to be treated once a week and eliminating these foods helped a lot. As she explained, she couldn’t make her stomach sphincter develop any faster, but she could help my daughter manage her stomach acid better.
Eventually it just went away. But those first 4 months were really tough. Good luck! What remedies worked for your little one?