Treatments for Baby Acid Reflux

Desperation is a feeling that is often experienced by parents of babies with acid reflux. Often a parent feels conflicted about treatment of the child with medication because newborns are so little. However if a child is full of acid and gas there may be no other way to treat it but with chemicals that are known to work when it comes to dissolving gas breaking up gas.

If the colic is due to acid reflux then there are medications that can help your child recover.

The goals of treatment of acid reflux are to

· Relieve symptoms
· Promote normal weight gain
· Heal inflammation
· Prevent complications

The medical approach is very straightforward. It involves addressing the issue of stomach acid, which creates the pain of the reflux and stomach emptying which are the key initiators of reflux. If you can get these two problems in line you will have a happier baby.

Gas Drops are the first line of over the counter treatment for gas. Before prescribing you any medicine your doctor may suggest that you try gas drops. Gas drops are over the counter preparations that help break up gas. Most formulations contain simethicone.

Simethicone is a compound that does a great job of breaking up big gas bubbles in the intestine and breaking them down into smaller ones.

However if the baby is taking in a lot of air due to constantly screaming then these gas drops may simply not be enough to handle the problem. Unfortunately the baby's natural inclination is to gulp more air.

If stomach acid is the trigger that is making your baby scream then your doctor will prescribe an acid suppressant.

There are two classes of mediation that are used to suppress acid in babies. These include histamine receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibiters.

The histamine receptor antagonists are known to most of us as Zantac, Axid and Pepcid. They have been in use since 1981. For the baby with mild symptoms of reflux esopoghagitis these medications are a reasonable treatment option. However the drawback of using them is that they are a symptomatic treatment that loses its effectiveness with time.

Proton pump inhibiters actually stop the stomach from producing acid. This can help give the esophagus time to heal. The drug that is mainly used to treat children with reflux is called Prilosec. Children over the age of 11 can also take a similar drug called Nexium.

Prokinetic mediations are designed to improve your child's intestinal motility. They do this by —

· Helping the esophagus squeeze close and stay closed
· Increase the LES pressure so the child does not regurgitate as often
· Accelerate the emptying of the stomach contents

The two most popular of the prokinetic medications that are prescribed are called Reglan and Bethanechol. Both medications are given to a child four times a day.

Reglan has quite a few side effects including sleeplessness, jittery behavior, tongue thrusting, arching and head turning. This means the side effects of giving your kid this drug is just as bad as the colic itself.

Colic and Feeding Disturbances

Reflux and milk allergies definitely impact the way your baby feeds. As you may be able to imagine an irritated throat and esophagus make for painful swallowing. When your baby is in pain it does not feel like eating and it will grimace and push the bottle or the nipple away. The baby then remembers it is hungry and tries again. This cycle repeats itself for half an hour to an hour until either the parent or the child becomes so frustrated that they give up.

As the child's intake of food is impaired the parents try to compensate by feeding the baby sooner than is normal. However the feeding pattern of trying and grimacing and pushing away followed by long bouts of crying just continues.

Colic caused by reflux is actually quite likely if you notice an improvement in your baby's feeding habits at nighttime. When babies with sever reflux esophagits are half asleep they feed better because they are all out of fight and they are more relaxed.

Strange as it may seem voracious feeding, which means the baby feeds in a fast and furious manner is also a symptom of infant reflux. These babies will act as if they haven't been fed in days and make squeaking and slurping noises as they suckle.

You will also probably notice that babies with reflux have a lot of gas. Gas comes from the baby swallowing too much air when they are suckling. When a baby with GERD fusses too much around a human or bottle nipple the air creates a gas filled belly. This in turn leads to the pain irritability and crying that is associated with colic.

As gas makes it way through the intestinal tract bowel movements may seem difficult for the baby. Simethicone drops such as Mylicon which typically break up tiny air bubbles can help break up the air bubbles that cause pain.

Chronic irritability is a common symptom in the baby with reflux and milk allergies. As acid washes up into esophagus and throat repeatedly the lining of the esophagus can become inflamed. This is called esogphagitis. With each subsequent reflux even the baby will experience chest and throat pain that makes the cry and cry

the colic is due to colitis then your baby will not like to be on its back.

There is a good anatomical reason for this. The esophagus connects to the stomach closer to the back than the front. When a child is on her back this allows for fluid and stomach contents to flow backward and collect over the LES.

As that LES valve opens milk and stomach acid can pass freely into the esophagus causing discomfort and other symptoms.

As a general rule the irritability that comes with colic caused by esophagi is worse after meals, accompanied by regurgitation and when lying down. The baby may also arch its back, stiffen its legs and turn its head to express that it is in agony. If your baby is doing this convince your doctor to check it for an acid reflux problem.