Reflux in Infants

Reflux in Infants

Why does my baby have reflux?

Reflux is where milk escapes from the stomach and flows up through the oesophagus (or food pipe) and back into your baby's mouth, often bringing stomach acids with it. This is common in babies as they have an immature or weak valve between their stomach and oesophagus. This allows the stomach contents to leak back up. Reflux usually happens following a feed.

How can Chiropractic help?

Chiropractic and Osteopathy have developed gentle and effective techniques for this problem often giving results in 2-3 visits. During the birth process, the ongoing uterus contracts compressing the babies spine in the neck region and also the mid back region near the shoulder blades (dorsal area). These areas are often tender to touch after the birth. And are noticeable when holding or bathing the baby. From this region of the back, spinal nerves go directly to the stomach, effecting the digestion.

Chiropractic treatments help the nerves from the spine that regulate the stomach area, these nerves also improve control of the upper valve of the stomach. It is this valve that links the stomach and the oesophagus. With treatment it strengthens and the reflux will reduce.

By the time your baby is 12-15 months of age, symptoms have usually resolved altogether.

Is my baby in pain?

Some babies with reflux do not seem upset by it. Enough milk is usually kept down so that your baby is not hungry and grows normally. It may simply be a messy business where you feel there is no end to washing clothes – baby's and yours! However, the stomach contents are acidic and their escape into the oesophagus can cause pain and irritation in some babies.

What can I do to help my baby?

Breastfeeding is the most compatible nutrition for babies and you should continue feeding as normal. If you are already bottle feeding and your baby has a simple case of reflux, ask your healthcare professional for advice about feeding options. Some practical measures that may ease the irritation of reflux include avoiding clothing and nappies that are too tight, placing your baby in an upright position after feeding and burping baby if possible. Giving smaller more frequent feeds may also help.


Why does my baby have colic?

Colic usually appears at around 2 to 4 weeks of age and no one knows exactly why it happens. What is clear is that babies with colic cry excessively for long periods of time (sometimes for 3 hours a day) and appear to be uncomfortable or in pain. They may pull their legs up to the stomach, become red in the face, clench their hands, pass gas, refuse to eat or become fussy soon after eating. Symptoms tend to worsen in the evening and your baby may find it difficult to fall and stay asleep.

A Research Study

Danish National Health Study - including chiropractic treatment.

A Danish National Health Service recruited 50 infants meeting the criteria for colic. After they were reviewed and monitored, they were randomly assigned to two groups: dimethicone(a drug used for colic) daily for two weeks or spinal manipulation for two weeks by a local chiropractor. The 25 infants under chiropractic care received treatments to the upper and mid-thoracic area. The infants in the chiropractic group received an average of 3.8 adjustments.

During the two-week treatments, the parents kept a colic diary, noting the hours of crying a day. Nurses visited the families to administer a weekly "infantile colic behaviour profile." The results were the graph that follows. The graph was for hours of crying a day, orange for the drug (dimethicone) group. Blue was the chiropractic group.

Chiropractic treatments for this condition has proven an effective method of treatment.

Is colic serious?

Colic is not usually serious and babies continue to eat and gain weight normally. In between bouts of crying they may seem perfectly happy. Being unable to pacify an inconsolable baby though can be exhausting and constant crying can create stress and anxiety for families.

What can I do to manage colic?

Breast milk is the most compatible nutrition for your baby and you should continue to feed as normal. The good news is that colic usually resolves without any form of treatment by the age of 4 months. If you are already bottle feeding, adjusting your baby's feed by lowering the lactose content may be all that's needed to help reduce your baby's 'colicky' symptoms. Replacing the lactose with other easily digestible carbohydrates can reduce wind, abdominal discomfort and distress.

There are practical measures you can take to help ease the burden of colic. Sometimes a gentle massage on the tummy can do the trick and if there seems to be a lot of gas, burp him or her frequently, or take them for a walk in the pram. You could also wrap your baby snugly and walk around or keep baby moving in a baby swing or rocking chair.

Chiropractic Helps.

Chiropractic methods have been effective for many babies with colic and reflux. It is gentle and gets results quickly, and the pleasant part is that they often stay asleep during the treatments.

DISCLAIMER This information is provided for Educational Purposes Only and has NOT been designed to diagnose, treat or cure any health conditions. Please consult a qualified Health Care Professional to diagnose your health conditions and avoid self-diagnosis.