Gastroesophageal reflux is the passage of stomach contents into the esophagus, with evidence of vomiting or regurgitation.
It is good to distinguish it from gastroesophageal reflux disease, a pathological condition in which there are a series of symptoms due to reflux and frequent episodes of vomiting: inflammation of the esophagus, bronchospasm, apneas and weight loss.
In this article we talk about gastroesophageal reflux, that is when the phenomenon is limited and of minor entity, and the remedies to give relief to newcomers.
Gastroesophageal reflux in the newborn
In most cases, the newborn's gastroesophageal reflux spontaneously evolves towards healing, which usually occurs when a solid diet is passed and the child begins to sit more often or stand upright.
Why is the phenomenon so frequent? The main reasons are as follows:
- for feeding the newborn, which is exclusively liquid ;
- because babies are almost always lying down ;
- because the cardia is not yet mature. The cardia is a valve that connects the stomach to the esophagus and has the task of preventing the ascent of the gastric contents.
How to promote breastfeeding
Gastroesophageal reflux and breastfeeding: what to do?
In case of gastroesophageal reflux do NOT stop breastfeeding. If someone has told you that your baby's reflux depends on your milk because it's too difficult to digest, don't believe it.
False myths about breastfeeding abound. Mother's milk is made to be digested by the young intestine of her newborn.
Do not thin out the feedings in the belief that you have given the baby too much milk. Breast milk must be offered "on request", not at regular intervals. If we lengthen the time more than necessary, the baby risks getting hungry and feeding with voracity, facilitating vomiting. It is, on the contrary, advisable that the feedings are more frequent, so that the child takes a smaller amount of milk at a time.
It is also important to properly attach the baby to the breast because incorrect sucking can promote reflux. In case of difficulty, contact a midwife.
And if the child is breastfed with formula ? In this case the pediatrician will be able to recommend a thickened milk; however, do not take this provision on your own initiative.
Discover natural remedies and precautions in case of vomiting in children
Gastroesophageal reflux in newborns, practical advice
- Keep the child as upright as possible and then in the arm or in the baby carrier, rather than lying in the crib.
- When the child is lying down, make sure that the head is slightly raised with respect to the body . Usually wheelchairs have a mechanism that allows you to increase the height of the side on which the baby's head rests. In any case, the newborn must be put to sleep on his back, to avoid the risk of SIDS, that is, sudden death in a cot, and therefore should never be put on his stomach.
- Avoid any stressful situation for the child as much as possible and keep him in close contact with the body for a long time.
- Check the child's weight often ; if you lose weight or do not grow enough, consult your pediatrician. Contact the pediatrician even in all cases where the child shows signs of suffering.
- Do not give the child medication, unless the pediatrician has prescribed it.