Treating Acid Reflux in Infants
GER (Gastro Oesophageal Reflux, a.k.a. Acid reflux) in infants and babies is very common and is typically due to an immature digestive system. The muscular ring or ‘sphincter’ at the top of the stomach is not fully grown and so milk returns up the oesphagus and out the mouth. Other times it opens and regurgitates food back up. Almost all babies will regurgitate or “spit up” after some feedings whether they are bottle fed or breast fed.
This is distressing for Mum as she is unsure how much food the baby has digested. As a baby needs to triple their birth weight in the first year, a relaxed feeding pattern is essential.
Acid reflux is distressing for the baby also as the symptoms are similar to adult heartburn – a burning feeling leading to an upset acidic stomach. GER is common in approx 65% of healthy infants and peaks between the ages of 1-4 months. GER usually resolves by 6 – 12 months.
How CST can help – Baby Sarah’s Story:
Sarah at 6 weeks had been diagnosed by her doctor as having reflux. The Doctor recommended that she change her feed to a non milk-based formula and to feed the baby in an upright position – as well as not to bounce the baby after feeding!
Her Mum explained that Sarah had been born by c-section and was very “mucusy”. I explained that as c-section babies had not travelled down the birth canal – the baby’s lung muscles had not received that “contracting massage” which helps to get rid of mucus.
I worked with Sarah using craniosacral therapy over 5 sessions. We were able to release areas of restriction in her abdomen, diaphragm, throat and the back of her head. (Stress or distortions in the diaphragm, due to retained moulding, can affect the efficiency of the sphincter).We also resolved the tension which was causing irritation of her nervous system.
After each session Sarah was very tired. After the first and second session she was cranky and out of sorts for the rest of the day. However, she soon settled and by the fifth session she was much less bothered by reflux and as a result, a much more contented baby.
I used craniosacral techniques to work with Sarah to help establish a well-balanced CS System. This helps the body to be more free of tension and restriction and in turn, helps baby to cope with a troubled digestive system and whatever growing pains come their way.
NOTE: Babies that present with reflux are usually thriving and represent the majority.
If your baby shows secondary signs or symptoms of inadequate weight gain, failure to thrive, feeding or oral aversions, respiratory difficulties or oesophagitis please seek medical advice.