A friend emailed me today – both his grand babies born recently are suffering from reflux. I share with you here what I shared with him, and with many mamas.
My dear Friend –
Usually, there are 1 or two key factors, and 1 or two things which do the trick:
- Many of us have an intense milk let down at start often babies take in too much air and milk too fast. I learned a trick from one of my twice around postpartum clients: briefly take baby off sucking when this happens. Support her head with your opposite hand – press your near forearm against your nipple and areola for a few moments to diffuse the spray throughout the breast, and then let baby latch again. This is often a big help, and does not create problems of any breast congestion that I have seen with many mothers. Baby just can suck the generous supply without being forced.
- Try nursing with feet lower instead of your “Boppy” pillow level, so air bubbles don’t go out the long way. similarly, burping helps.
- Bottle feeding often results in very quick delivery of milk, and Baby takes a lot in at once.
- Either way, if baby takes in too much food, it won’t be just air bubbles that push milk out – it can be the excess milk itself.
Feeding too often – less than every 2 hours from end one feeding to beginning of another for breast milk, or – with formula feeding maybe less than 3-4 hours as a minimum, I’m not sure. In either case –
- Feeding too often is such a common issue, and results in poor food combining for Baby self induced. Ie, fresh milk on top of sour or partly digested milk makes for a confused tummy, maybe gas, bloating, or general uncomfortable feelings.
- It is like for us, after snacking on top of a full meal, we tend to feel ucky or mucky, and then gassy in the gut.
- It is complicated by Baby’s common need to suck which goes beyond her need to eat. Sucking balances hemispheres when they get out of sync, and gives him or her bliss.
- So of course they want to suck, for that reason alone. Even if tummy hurts, sucking at other times makes a tummy happy.
- So babies do need our help and guidance with their instincts, not just with diaper changes and rocking and cuddling and loving.
Feeding baby while distracted, arguing, talking business, on phone, movie etc –
- Here is a test of this – does the reflux happen at night too? Often it does not.
- It results in baby sometimes not doing the mind-body integration dynamic as well – He often will eat too fast or anxiously, again causing confusion, tensions or indigestions pushing milk back up.
- It is better to try feeding in quiet place for a while and see how that works.
- Similarly, this is an obvious probably to you – be slower and gentler with a baby who has just eaten – whether in burping, bouncing, bending or any other activity putting crimp on the tummy’s process.
More on food combining
- I have seen common that some formulas now have two or more types of protein – dairy, soy, whey….even a raw milk formula with raw liver and 3 kinds of oil in it. Simpler is better, easier.
- Complementary feeding of formula on top of breastfeeding can complicate digestion or overfeed also.
More on difficult digestion issues
- With breastfed babies often mama’s diet is compromising baby’s digestion, creating gassy or hot stomach. We call them VATA or PITTA aggravating foods, respectively. We can talk more about this if you like.
- For more useful input for most people, I’d like to send you to my e-cookbook, “Touching Heaven, Tonic Postpartum Recipes with Ayurveda.” It is in the Sacred Window online shop with a companion handbook. Recipes are annotated, menu planning for Mom is basically by weeks postpartum, and even Baby’s first foods are discussed.
- For formula fed babies, we must remember formula is heavier – and takes longer to digest. It has “old” or low prana (life force), and is not exactly what Baby’s biology was designed to handle. It is not just about chemistry, it is about life force and other things. So indigestion, gas, bloating, or just tension or tummy ache are more common with formula, and can easily trigger the body to move food back out. It does depend on the formula recipe, and Baby’s constitution, imbalances and circumstances such as above, how well she handles formula or other influences on breastfeeding.
- Essential oils choices depend if the need is for calming, tummy aches from gas, acidity, ama (accumulated impurities) from overfeeding, even parasitic influences….we can talk about this more soon.
- A lovely book by author, Ashley Montegue, “Touching” reports we might scientifically consider newborns as premies until they are 6 months of age. It is an interesting thought – how compared to other animals and brain size, humans at 6 months old are where other mammals are at birth, but that size head would not fit through the birth canal well at all! He proposes what from a different perspective, Ayurveda speaks of, that the newborn digestion is quite immature for about 6 months.
Colic Calm gripe water, which is homeopathic and FDA regulated, has also proven to be effective for reflux. Since it’s natural, and has a 94% efficiency rate, it’s worth trying before giving your LO meds. Here’s a link to their ingredients: http://www.coliccalm.com/gripe-water.htm