Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Colic vs. Acid Reflex

What I write to you today are about two subjects that I feel are very important to talk about. I have personal experience with both Colic and Acid Reflex, as do many moms with new babies.

It doesn't usually start until about two weeks after the baby is born. The baby will get really fussy at about the same time everyday and will fuss or cry for about two hours. From the book (The Nursing Mother's Problem Solver), author Claire Martin says that, "Symptoms of colic usually start during the second week of life. Babies prone to colicky behavior are relentlessly fussy, intense, extremely sensitive, and high-need. The fussiness peaks at 6 to 8 weeks of age and usually disappears when a baby is between 3 to 6 months old." She goes on to say, "Some pediatricians think that an iron imbalance can aggravate colic, often because mothers continue taking prenatal vitamins and/or iron supplements after birth. " Some say that colic may be associated with dairy allergies. Try eliminating (iron or the dairy) one at a time, again for the two period, and then work on the next one. If the baby is still fussy and hasn't been checked for Acid Reflex, that would be the next step to take to help the baby.

Acid Reflux-
After having my first baby, Reagan, I couldn't get enough of her and wanted her with me every minute. She stayed in my hospital room and slept with me most of the time we were there. The symptoms of reflux started the second day, but I didn't know about it at that time and I had no idea why she didn't want to latch on and nurse. One other symptom was that she never would sleep. I thought that newborns were suppose to sleep all of the time so it was weird to me that she didn't sleep very good. Well I started thinking that we just need to get home where we would feel much more comfortable. Well was I wrong. That first night and the first month was a nightmare. She would not sleep unless I was holder her and she would not even latch on the eat. I, being a first time mom didn't want to give her a bottle, so I about gave up until finally on the third day my milk came in and she latched right on. She was pretty much starving and she knew that she wasn't going to get much from nursing, so she didn't even want to try.

Everything was going much better after my milk came in except the sleeping and she started to spit up alot. She also had the hiccups all of the time. It wasn't like vomiting, but it was all of the time. So I had a hard time getting her on a schedule for a long time because she wanted to always eat, which is another symptom of acid reflux. Babies think that if they eat all of the time that it will make it feel better, but it does the opposite. It makes that reflux worse. So to be honest I was not enjoying being a mom and I was very, very tired and emotional not know what was going on with my baby. She slept fine during the day, but when it got dark, we were both awake most of the night.

Finally, I get to take her in for her two week appt and I just break down to her doctor. Explain to him how she won't sleep, is very fussy and spits up all of the time. Well come to find out my Pediatrician specializes in gastrology and knew exactly what was going on. He checks her out and she is way past her birth weight and is striving and looked good. Then he prescribes me a prescription of Axid. He also told me that I need to get off dairy and any other foods that might give her gas. So for the first year of her life, I didn't drink milk or eat cheese or yogurt. I also got of any foods that would make me gassy like broccoli, beans, peanuts, cauliflower, etc. I wanted so much to help her, that I was willing to do anything. Another thing the doctor said was to get her on a feeding schedule of every 2 1/2 to 3 hours in between feedings. That will help the reflux and teach her that she doesn't need to eat all of the time. So we give that medicine a try for two weeks (the required time for medicine to work with reflux). Well I noticed that the axid worked for about the first week and then stopped working. So I asked for a different medicine and the doctor put Reagan on Prevacid. This was the stuff. It worked right away and worked until she was a year. I gave it to her everyday for the first 4 months and then I would only give it to her when she would start spitting up alot. I did give it to her until she was a year. My doctor said that Acid Reflux can last from anywhere from 3 months to 1 year of age.

With my second baby, Adam, he would sleep well, but he was much fussier and had colic at the same time. So he had to be on both axid and prevacid at the same time. I would give him axid in the mornings and prevacid at night. If I remember right he only had to take the medicine until he was about 9 months old. Both of my children didn't talk really soon and Reagan wouldn't eat solids until about 8 months old. Those are both symptoms of acid reflux. So it is very important to get babies on medication.

Now that my daughter is 4 yrs old, doctors are diagnosing Acid Reflux more and not mistaking it for colic. I was lucky to have the doctor that I had to help with my little girl. Some babies are worse than others, but they all can be helped with medication.

Acid Reflux is really called, Gastroesophageal Reflux, meaning that a valve in the esophagus closed improperly, allowing the contents from the stomach to come back up. So in other words the baby always has acid from the breast milk and stomach coming up and burning them and putting them in alot of pain. I also found out that my daughters stomach was to high and so that made the reflux worse because she could digest anything. I took her to a specialist to help pull her stomach down to where it needed to be. The valve eventually closes as the baby grows up. Some children with acid reflux don't learn to talk until later and some refuse to eat solids. But make sure that you keep trying with the solids because they need to learn to be eating solids at least no later than 10 months.

Symptoms to look for in your baby:
*Frequent spitting up after feedings, sometimes with spitting or projectile vomiting in between feedings.
*Frequent hiccups
*Wanting to eat all of the time, but only for a few minutes at a time. (feed the baby every 2 1/2 or 3 hours and that will help the reflux and burning)
*Acting hungry but refusing feedings
*Arching back after or during feedings, drawing up legs
*Sleeping in short burst with crying in between
*Fussing after feedings
*Hoarse voice
*Excessive gassiness
*Sour Burps or bad breath
*Waking from sound sleep screaming
*Poor weight, poor growth
*Wheezing or excessive coughing
*Resisting solids
Don't change to formula because it makes the reflux worse. It is fine if you are using formula already, but make sure that the baby gets some medication for help.

Things to try to make the baby more comfortable:
*Hold baby upright for 30 minutes after feedings. Try to keep the baby from crying because excessive crying can aggravate the reflux, allowing to much air to be swallowed.
*Offer smaller, more frequent meals
*Burp well after feedings
*Keep the baby away from cigarette smoke
*Consider sleeping the baby in his/her stomach, only if you feel right about it. You can sleep the baby where you can watch it while it sleeps. I slept both of my babies on their stomachs, but that might not be right for everyone.
*Elevating the babies crib mattress so the baby would sleep on a incline and sleep the baby in it's side. Make sure that they baby lays on different sides each night to make sure that the babies head forms right.

I hope that what I have said about colic and acid reflux with help. We as mothers know our babies, so make sure that your doctors listen to you and that you get help for your baby. Make sure that as mothers that we all get help and get out to get some space from the baby.

**Some of the information was used from the article called, Bundle of Misery, by Kim Fernandez, Washington Post, Aug 2002**

Acid Reflex-

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