Reflux affects approximately 278,000 babies in the UK each year.
Infant reflux is a problem in our society, one that is not appropriately acknowledged for the consequences it has: not only does it cause a very unhappy baby, but it directly correlated with maternal well-being and a potential cause of post natal depression. And if this isn’t enough, a baby’s reflux can introduce unimaginable stress and strain into a relationship that this ends up failing.
This is serious.
We must change the conversation around infant reflux.
Far too many parents being pushed away and feeling unheard by their GP’s, one of the most frequent things I hear is that doctors tell parents “spitting up is normal”, “baby is just colicky” and “baby will grow out of it”.
And while all of these are true, they do nothing to help the mental state of a mother who helplessly holds her screaming baby all day, knowing there is nothing she can do to ease their suffering.
The truth is, infant reflux is a symptom, not a disease. Yes it is called a disease (Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease) when the reflux causes pain; this is not a disease, reflux happens because something else has happened first.
We are witnessing an era when babies are being medicated with adult drugs for reflux, and more than often these don’t work as effectively as one might hope. In fact, we are prescribing drugs for baby’s that can cause the very problems we are trying to resolve.
These medications are not free from side effects, nor are they proven safe. In fact, the US FDA do not approve the use of proton pimp inhibitors for babies under 12 months of age, yet globally we are witnessing GP’s prescribing these medications without proper review or weaning plans. Worryingly, out GP’s “often prescribe PPIs despite a lack of efficacy for the symptoms being treated”, going against the North American and European guidelines for reflux management.
So what should we do?
Ask a better question.
We need to ask “what is causing this reflux?” and from this we will get far better answers, far better outcomes, happier babies quicker and parents get to enjoy being parents.
Read more about the causes of reflux here.
Depending on what is causing each individual baby’s discontent, there will be a specific course of action that will bring them to a place of comfort and joy quicker than another. Through observation and self-trust, we will resolve reflux at the root cause and end up with a happier and healthier family as a result.
My book, The Baby Reflux Lady’s Survival Guide provides parents with a step-by-step plan to help identify what is going on for their baby and get the best help quickest.