Today’s post is from Lindsay from The Leaking Boob. Thanks Lindsay!
Does your baby arch their back when eating? Scream in pain if you lay them on their back? Have you ever experienced true projectile vomiting? Or worn a path in the carpet from all the hours spent rocking and walking your baby back and forth, back and forth, trying to take away just a little bit of the pain? Then you may be experiencing the horrible effects of baby reflux.
Believe me, I’ve been there
Soon after our beautiful daughter, Lilah, was born in March of this year, our days and nights became filled with all the things I mentioned above. As soon as we realized something was wrong, we did what most new, deer-in-the-headlights parents do. We rushed Lilah to the doctor’s office.
The doctor’s solution? Medication!
Our pediatrician diagnosed Lilah with reflux, and suggested medication. First up was Mylanta, which gave her horrible cramps and diarrhea. Then he put her on Pepcid. This helped for a while, but then it stopped working. When I called him this time, he again suggested she change medications, so we tried Prevacid, which was just as awful as Mylanta. Eventually we went back to Pepcid and quadrupled the dosage, which helped for a while…but then the gas came.
Even though Lilah’s reflux symptoms were gone while she was on this new dosage of Pepcid, she began waking up every morning around 3:00 a.m. screaming in pain from gas. We asked our pediatrician, and he suggested yet another medication, this one for gas. We also saw other pediatricians within the office, and all suggested either a change in medication or an increase in dosage. I was getting frustrated. My baby was in pain, I was sleep deprived, and no one could do anything other than suggest we pump her full of more and different meds.
Finally, I decided to go natural
Mainstream medicine was clearly not working for Lilah, so we didn’t have anything to lose. We took her to the chiropractor, who was the first person to tell us the medication was likely causing the gas. So, my husband and I stopped the Pepcid and told each other we would only give it to Lilah on an as-needed basis, instead using all natural remedies.
The results, as I’ll outline below, were amazing.
Here’s what we did.
Babies may have reflux because they simply are out of alignment due to the birth process. Getting out of our bodies and into the world is tough work! Lilah has had a total of five adjustments, and I think it has really helped her with her reflux. She is off her medication, doesn’t arch her back when she eats, and is okay lying on her back to go to sleep right after a feeding. I was super freaked out to take her to the chiropractor at first, but now I’m so glad I did. She had some ridging in her cranial bones, and also had some misalignment in her pallet (the roof of her mouth) which the chiropractor fixed and I really think has helped her. However, a little word of caution. If you choose to take your baby to a chiropractor, make sure they are very experienced with babies and also that they do very light adjustments. When adjusting your baby, it should look like a light massage, nothing like what you see in the movies or what is done on an adult.
doTerra DigestZen essential oil
Dilute doTerra’s DigestZen 1:1 with fractionated coconut oil and rub a drop on baby’s tummy before each feeding. We started doing this and taking Lilah to the chiropractor at the same time, which is when we took her off her meds for good! I still apply a drop to her tummy several times a day as a preventative measure and also to help with her gas, which still creeps up on her from time to time.
Elevate one end of the crib
I had heard from several places that elevating the head of baby’s crib helps with reflux, because then the food can settle down in the tummy and not creep back up into baby’s I am a complete freak about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), so I had to come up with a way to elevate one end of the crib without Lilah being able to roll onto her tummy or get her nose stuck in something soft. I googled and googled and found very few suggestions, but this ended up working really well for us! Baby’s head goes toward the higher end of the crib, and you put baby in the middle of the “U” with her bum or feet at the bottom of the “U”. You could also use a sleeper like this that’s elevated.
Do a diaphragm release by starting in the center just under baby’s rib cage and softly and slowly pushing down. Move from the center out to the sides. Also, you can trace baby’s intestines clockwise around her tummy. Lastly, bicycle baby’s legs and push them up to her chest. You can do this without anything, or add a little coconut oil and lavender or chamomile essential oil to help calm baby.
Elevate baby’s head while eating
Put a pillow under baby’s head so that as she eats, so the milk goes down into her belly instead of staying up in her esophagus.
Hold baby upright for 20-30 minutes after feeding
This also helps the milk go down into the tummy instead of burning up in baby’s throat. Plus you get extra snuggle time and who doesn’t love that?! I just hold Lilah against my chest and rock her in the glider. This is a great contraption for baby as it’s elevated.
Nursing mom elimination diet
Some babies get reflux because their tiny digestive systems reject certain foods from the mother. If you are nursing, you can try an elimination diet where you cut out certain foods and see if it helps. You can cut out several foods at once, and then add them back in one at a time and see if any of them bother baby. Some common irritants: dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, gluten, caffeine, spicy foods.
I was so skeptical at first that any of the natural remedies would actually work for us. But they did!
For the first three months of Lilah’s life, she often looked like the photo on the left. And now she looks like the photo on the right (at least a lot more than she used to).
Lilah’s days of baby reflux are long gone
We stopped Lilah’s medication and never looked back, because we didn’t have to! We’ve also made some really big changes in the way we care for Lilah. Instead of looking first to medication, we try to find natural remedies. We’ve clearly seen positive changes in our lives already, and we hope and expect that this lifestyle change will make us a healthier and happier family in the long run, too.
How about you?
Have you experienced the sad trials of baby reflux? How did you treat it? Share it with us in the comments below.