Acid Reflux in Babies
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Acid Reflux in Babies
Does anyone have any positive experiences treating severe infant
acid reflux with alternative medicines/practices? My 7 1/2 month
old still has a fairly bad case and I worry about giving him so
much Zantac. Please write if you've had success with other
--tired of Zantac
Your question about alternative treatments for reflux in a baby
really depends on what the diagnosis is relative to the reflux.
Does the reflux seem to exist on its own, or is it part of some
other condition related to your child's development? Feel free
to write me directly -- we've had experience with infant reflux.
Have you tried dietary changes? My 5-month-old is allergic to
dairy, corn, soy, and wheat. If I eat something that contains
one of those (I'm exclusively breastfeeding), he also starts
refluxing (in addition to allergic reaction). Dairy, in
particular, is known to be associated with reflux.
I can understand why you wouldn't want to fill your baby's body
with drugs like Zantac. Other more natural alternatives do
exist. One of them is gentle chiropractic care. We do take
care of babies and children in our office and have had many
excellent results. I would be glad to check out your son to see
if chiropractic is the right treatment for him. Just call me at
the office at 510.526-1559 Our children deserve to grow up drug-
free if possible.
Lori-Ann Gertonson, D.C.
Try liquid calcium. Get the good stuff from Rainbow Grocery
in SF. It would be in the chilled vitamins area. Also speak
with one of the nutritionalist there. They can better guide you.
I was taking liquid calcium several times a day when I was
pregnant for acid reflux and because it's just calcium, you
can take it as often as needed.
The Zantac will probably decrease you child's ability to let
his/her body learn how to create a solution. Zantac, like
most prescriptions, are only temporary solutions that cover
up the problem not heal it. And not only is calcium important
but, the cool and creamy texture of the liquid (similar to
Pepto-Bismol) might allow your child to heal naturally
without his/her body becoming dependent on Zantac.
Because, as your child gets older and the aci! d reflux
increases, your child will have to take heavier doses more
often. No fun! Nip this one in the bud!!
I'm curious, what is giving your young child acid reflux?
Our daughter was diagnosed with reflux when she was around six
weeks old and was put on Zantac. Various people recommended we
take her to see a chiropractor. Neither my partner or I had had
any experience with chiropractors, so we were skeptical and
didn't understand why people would be recommending this for her
reflux. I mentioned the diagnosis and suggestion to our TMJ
dentist and he agreed it would be very helpful. He explained
that the Vegas nerve which controls the esophagal sphincter runs
close to the cervical vertebrae. Sometimes the vertebrae can
get out of place during a long or difficult labor (which I had)
! and this can effect the esophagal sphincter such that stomach
acid will back up into the throat. At the first appt. the
chiropractor examined her and found that one of her cervical
vertebrae was indeed out of place. There was a huge improvement
after just one appointment. We continued to take her to weekly
appointments until she no longer needed adjustments. Within a
few months of starting chiropractic we were able to reduce the
amount of Zantac she was taking by half. By the time she was
seven months old she was off Zantac entirely. Our pediatrician
had never heard of this before and was really quite amazed. Our
daughter is now 15 months and has no problems at all. Please
feel free to email me if you have any other questions.
We had SEVERE reflux with our 9 months old son ! which was so
scary as it would trigger episodes of apnea, and he wasn't
gaining weight properly. We as well tried everything Western
(including Zantac and Reglin) we tried Osteopathy, and NAET
allergy treatments, as well as a non wheat, dairy, etc. diet
for me. Nothing worked until we went to a homeopath.
Coincidence or cure, he went from spitting up around 30 times
per day to 3-4 times a day the day following the treatment, and
it has held now for over 2 months. All this from one tiny
pellet, given one time (not once a day...). I'd recommend
exploring it. We saw Peggy Chipkin at Hahneman Clinic (sp?) in
Mill Valley. She's at (415) 389-8589. Also feel free to call me
at 510 595-1551. good luck!!
I have been taking my son to a homeopathic doctor (Sally
Savitz -- 655-9644) who specializes in traditional Chinese
! medicine for about five months. Sally was initially
recommended to me by my pediatrician because my 8 mo.
old son suffered from chronic ear infections. Having gotten
the ear infections under control, we have just begun to work
on my son's acid reflux. It is too early for me to say whether
the remedy that Sally has recommended is working only b/c
we have just started, but she did wonders for my son's ear
problem. She is very conservative and open-minded. My
son is on Prevacid (after using Zantac and then Prilosec)
and is also seeing a GI dr. at Children's Hospital. Sally's
philosphy is that we want to get the body to heal itself and to
find a remedy that will allow my son to gradually reduce his
medication. I'm generally very conservativeand cautious
about my children's health and only decided to see Sally
after I felt that I had reached the limits of allopathic medicine
in ter! ms of improving my son's condition. If you have more
questions, please feel free to e-mail me. Best of luck. P.S.
If the Zantac your son is taking is the regular adult
medication (which is what most chain pharmacies offer), I
would highly recommend having it compounded at Abbott's
Compound Pharmacy in Berkeley (548-8777--ask for
Pharmacist Elliot Kwok -- he's amazing and so helpful). My
son hated the taste of the Zantac and would often throw it
up; also the volume was too much to get him to take.
Abbott's reformulated the Zantac, took out the alcohol (not
good for babies), flavored it (five to choose from) and
concentrated it so my son only took 1ml. My son improved
immediately after we did this. As I mentioned, my son is
now on Prevacid which seems to work the best of all the
meds and I still get it compounded at Abbott's. The only
downside of Abbott's is that they don't t! ake insurance and
are a little pricier, but I just submit my receipts to my
Our son, 6 months old, has had severe reflux since birth. On a
bad day he is spitting up over 30 times a day, on a good one
maybe 5-10. There are more bad days than good.
I am nursing and have given up dairy, wheat, caffeine, gas-
causing veggies, peanuts, etc. (Also briefly eliminated soy,
but didn't seem to make a big difference.) We have worked with
our pediatrician and he is on Zantac and Reglin to minimize
acid and move food through his system faster. The head of his
crib is elevated. I have taken him to sessions with an
osteopath and with an NAET food allergy specialist. He has had
an upper GI barium swallow and everything was normal. He has
started solid foods, and gets 1-2 bottles of formula a day
(we've tried regular, hypoallergenic, but not soy yet. He
doesn't seem to spit up any more with formula--maybe even less.)
Nothing seems to work--all of it, in concert, help slightly.
Two complications--he has suffered about 8 sessions of apnea up
to 30 seconds as a result of spitting up (he stopped breathing
at birth for 4 minutes, so this scares us to death), and at his
6 month checkup he is now in the 5th percentile for weight and
10th for height, and has lost ground since 4 months (which
could be the reflux, or the medicine, or both...)
He also does not sleep much -- between 10 and 12 hours in a 24
Any ideas of anything else I can try would be appreciated.
There seems to be a connection between asthma and reflux:
Try reducing exposure to triggers such as pollen, perfume and
Our son had extreme reflux as a baby and toddler. What saved him, and
was going to Dr. Paul Harmatz, a pediatric gastroenterologist with
Hospital in Oakland. Dr. Harmatz is thoughtful, warm, and very, very
put our son on the right mix of medications, and life improved a great
I really feel for you. My son has mild reflux that worsened at
7 mos. when we began introducing solids. He is 10
months old now and doing much better but only after a
million doctors visits and so much frustration. While I'm
sure you've already done alot of research, here's some
information that I picked up along the way, which I hope is
helpful. First, my son did not initially do well with Zantac b/c
of the bad taste, volume and maybe alcohol. I transferred
the prescription to Abbotts Compunding Pharmacy in
Berkeley (510-548-8777) and Elliott Kwoks, the pharmacist
I worked with was amazing. He reformulated the Zantac to
make it more concentrated so my son only had to take 1.0
ml, instead of something like .75 tsp. He took out the
alcohol (not good for babies he said) and gave me a choice
of five flavors (tutti fruity worked for us)--still doesn't taste
great, but my son improved immediately after that. (Per
Kwoks' suggestion, we also began to give him the Zantac
30 min. before he ate 2x a day--instead of during or
immediately after a meal as instructed by Rite Aid -- the
pharmacy that initially filled the Rx.) I also started giving him
Neocate formula which I order thru the pharmacy at
Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley (although I am told it can be
ordered directly from the manufacturer for less and that
some insurance companies will cover it). I have been
taking him to a homeopathic doctor, Sally Savitz, in Oakland
(510-655-9644). Sally has been practicing traditional
chinese medicine practicing for over 20 years and is pretty
conservative and careful in her approach with babies. I
initially took my son to her for chronic ear infections and he
showed amazing improvement within a few days. Her fee is
$250 for the first visit, which covers six months worth of
visits. I've also taken my son to Lisa Koenig (547-1494)
who is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist and is
working on his reflux as well. Lisa is also excellent and has
worked really hard to help improve my son's health.
Recently, I changed my son's medicine from Zantac to
Prilosec because there is apparently evidence that Prilosec
works a little better. Finally, we are seeing a
gastroenterologist at Children's Hospital in a week. As a
side note, I'm generally very conservative about my
children's health and do not necessarily prefer ''alternative''
medicine over traditional. However, I do feel that there are
limits to traditional medicine and when I exhausted all
possible remedies with my incredibly wonderful
pediatrician, I felt that I needed to explore other options. I
consulted with my pediatrician on everything I was doing
with the other doctors; she actually referred me to Sally
Savitz when I asked for the referral.
During this whole process, I spoke to a colleague of my
husband's whose daughter was diagnosed with severe
food allergies and a rare disorder called eosinophilic, which
has to do with white blood cells in the esophagus and
digestive tract which cause an allergic reaction to food (this
is probably not the clinical definition). Children with this
disorder do not respond to reflux medicine. I've listed below
a website you might want to check out, as well as some
others that this colleague gave me.
www.parent-2-parent.com/forum (there is support group forum just for reflux)
If you have any questions about any of this or any of the drs.
I mentioned, please feel free to e-mail. I know how hard
these last few months have been for me so I can only
imagine how hard the last six have been for you. Best of
You seem really worried about the spitup. Is it such a concern?
The apnea is very concerning, but why do you think it's from
spitting up? He certainly isn't having apnea 5-30 times a day.
I just want to send a message to hopefully decrease your worry.
A number of babies spit up a lot and it just takes time for
them to develop and this to go away. I doubt you can ''cure'' it.
My first son spit up 20-40x/day and we didn't count little
dribbles down the chin. This tapered off when he was close to 1
and ended soon after he was one.
He was gaining weight and didn't seem to be in pain from the
He had a bout of vomiting (hard to tell apart from spitup,
really) once and tore some of his esophogeal lining and bled.
He then had some specks of blood in his spitup occasionally for
the next few weeks. We did a course of Zantac then in hopes the
decreased acid would decrease irritation to his esophagus while
it healed. It didn't change the spitup and we stopped w/ the
zantac. Around 6 months my son dropped from the 10% or so in
weight to 5%, too. I attribute this to him starting solids and
me not being as good about giving him as much as i should have
and his digestion probably not handling the solids as well as
the breastmilk. His weight came back up by the next visit,
Management: The best things we found for reducing spitup was to
keep him as calm and upright after eating as possible and to
use and change bibs continuously. We never changed him soon
after eating (induced spitup).
Re: soemthing in your breastmilk - I tried changing my diet,
too, but nothing helped and formula didn't seem better. My son
ended up w/ a serious milk allergy, but even eliminating all
milk protein from my diet didn't help his spitup.
Our second son also spit up more than the average baby, but
nothing like the first child (maybe only 5-10x on bad days and
rarely in bed. He stopped around 8 months.
So, hang in there. I know it's hard having a baby that spits up
a lot - I fed ours every 2 hours, went through enourmous
quantities of bibs and spit up cloths, changed my and his
clothes frequently, layered receiving blankets on the crib to
change them more easily than the sheets, as it was continuously
needed, washed his toys a lot (many that say surface wash only
can go in a washer. if they have paper inside, they lose the
crinkle sound, tho), etc.
Do realize a number of babies spit up a lot and they generally
stop between 1/2 year to 1 year.
I hope this helps and good luck!
Sounds like you have been through the ringer. Have you
considered homeopathy? Christine Ciavarella (spelling?) in El
Cerrito is great.
Also, perhaps addressing his sleep (or lack thereof) might be
important. Many health things improve drastically in a well-
rested child. I know my daughter is always worse off when too
tired. 10-12 hours is pretty minimal for his age. I like
Weissbluth's book, ''Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy CHild''; although
I can't tolerate lots of crying, I find his other info very
helpful, especially in understanding how profoundly lack of
sleep can affect children.
My 3-month old son has recently become very gassy, spitting up a lot
after feedings, and very fussy--crying inconsolably, writhing in pain and
then puking all over me...I was hoping that hitting the three month mark
would mean that things would get easier (as the baby books say) but it's
getting harder. I just started trying Mycolon drops, but they don't seem
to make a big difference. I was reading about GERD/reflux and he has
some symptoms, not all. This doesn't happen at all at night--I am
breastfeeding, feed him and he goes right back to sleep, a little burp but
no big spit ups. Help! I am going to quit all dairy, started today, as both
his father and I are lactose intollerant, and I have been eatting cheese.
The fussiest time is the evening--hours of fussing, crying, spitting up,
wanting to nurse for hours but spitting up. He's droolling alot lately too.
Anyone else had these things happen with their baby? Any advice?
Soaking in spit up
I think that you might be nursing your baby too often in the
evening. My second child had a similar pattern, especially in
the evening. She would shriek in pain with horrible gas. I
found that if I calmed her down by nursing she would throw up
and then the cycle would start again. At three months your
baby probably doesn't need to nurse more than every three
hours. The Nursing Mother's Companion talks about having the
baby nurse for 5 minutes, really take the time to burp, switch
sides, nurse 5 minutes, burp and repeat two more times. The
baby still gets the hindmilk, but you make sure that he doesn't
have as much gas. Also, look at the clock, or make a chart for
yourself and try waiting longer before feeding again. Find a
different way to soothe him. Walking around works well for my
kids. If all you are eating is a little cheese and he is not
throwing up all of the time, I doubt that it is your diet that
is making him fussy.
Hi -- My baby had very similar symptoms, and my suggestion is
that you go to a gastroenterologist (sp?) immediately. If your
baby is spitting up quite a bit, then your baby has reflux and
not simply gas pains. For that reason, changing your diet
probably won't help, nor will mylecon drop (which studies have
shown have no effect, anyway). The reason things are better for
your baby at night is because the same things that help your
baby to sleep also smooth the lining of the stomach during the
night. I, like you, tried everything I could think of short of
going to the doctor (giving up dairy, changing nursing
positions, over-the-counter rememdies), and it didn't get better
until we started my baby on medication -- zantac and then
prevacid. Really, there is no harm in going to an expert right
away, and a lot of good can come of it. Good luck -- I know how
difficult this stuff can be --
Gas is just something babies get and it usually doesn't cause
much trouble. And spit up often doesn't mean anything important
either. But crying and fussiness that *starts* at 3 months
rather than *ending* around then isn't ''just colic'', and
spitting up that starts then rather than getting better then
probably isn't overactive letdown, so there may be a medical
cause. Perhaps he's an early teether, or he has an ear
infection or other illness -- and he's nursing for comfort,
which causes him to take in more milk than he really needs,
which causes the spitup. I'd suggest a visit to the
pediatrician, to rule out infection, and trying some infant
Tylenol or ibuprofen. It's odd, though, that he's happy at
night, since illness and teething (and reflux) tend to cause a
lot of nighttime fussiness. Could he just be overtired? Does
he nap well during the day? Has something in his daily routine
changed recently that might be causing him to get overstimulated
or that's affected his feedings?
I hope you can figure it out -- or that it turns out to be one
of those incomprehensible things that just goes away as soon as
you start to worry about it!
This sounds pretty normal to me. You probably want to check
with the pediatrician, but I think a lot can be solved with
changes in your diet. Cutting milk products is good. You may
try cutting veggies in the cabbage family (broccoli, kale and
other leafy greens) - they are very gassy. One thing I did was
keep a diet journal, with columns for what I ate, when, when I
nursed my son, and his symptoms. I didn't find anything about
my diet that triggered fussiness in him, but you may. The
drool is probably the very beginning of teething - my son
started drooling a lot around then too, and got his first teeth
at 5 months.
I could have written that same message a couple of weeks ago. My
son is 3.5 months old and was throwing up huge amounts of milk.
In addition to not eating dairy and soy I also cut out cow and
pork products - apparently they are as irritating to an infants'
system as dairy is. I have been doing this for only a week and I
can now go half a day without changing my shirt! Apparently it
takes at least two weeks to really see any changes, but it is
working for us. Good luck!
Our pediatrician just told us that our 6 week old son has reflux.
He spits up just about every time after he eats. He's very
congested as well (mostly at night), which she says is related.
Has anyone out there had success in finding ways of making their
infant with reflux more comfortable during and after eating and
while sleeping? He's gaining plenty of weight, so that's not an
issue, but he just seems to be so uncomfortable, and it's hard to
listen to him struggle to breathe during the night.
We've tried having him sleep in the car seat (which he hates, and
doesn't seem to work to relieve the congestion), and would be very
appreciative of suggestions on how to sleep with him propped up in
bed or in the co-sleeper.
Any suggestions or information would be greatly welcomed!
Abby in Berkeley
My son did a lot of spitting up as well but it never seemed to
bother him, and his weight gain was fine, so we didn't do
anything about it.
I don't really think your baby's congestion would have anything
to do with reflux -- reflux means his esophagus isn't fully
developed and allows the contents of his stomach to come back
up, whereas if he's having trouble breathing at night that's
because of congestion in his nose. Which is actually very
common in newborns and their noisy breathing usually bothers
their mothers a lot more than it bothers them!
Anyway, it's usually helpful both for mild reflux and for nasal
congestion to elevate the head. The simplest way to do that at
night in a regular bed (or in the baby's crib) is a firm foam
wedge under the mattress, or on the mattress but under the
sheet. If the baby is in a bassinet or playpen, you can also
try putting blocks under the legs at one end.
You can also use saline drops or, believe it or not even better,
breastmilk in the baby's nose to help drain it out before
bedtime. A humidifier in the room can help as well.
Our second daughter had reflux, and because she was a premie, she
had not developed the ''gag'' reflex, so she simply stopped
breathing when vomitus got into her upper esophagus. But that's
Our pediatrician prescribed tagamet and reglan. These helped the
reflux itself. Perhaps if the reflux can be treated, the
congestion will diminish. (Note that neither of these drugs have
been approved - or even evaulated - for babies, but given that we
had a life-threatening situation, we decided to give it a go.)
Ask your pediatrician if this is a reasonable course of action.
It may be a bit extreme in your case.
It's not uncommon for babies to begin to associate eating with
heartburn, and literally avoid eating. That's a bad thing. As
long as your baby is not going down that road, you're in good shape.
As for alleviating the congestion, I seem to remember that it
eventually just went away. It's a tough time, but they do grow
out of it.
--johnt ** No war on Iraq! **
My baby too had reflux. What helped most was to bring her
to a cranial sacral therapist (a massage therapist with
special training in cranial sacral manipulations) and give
her some sessions. We saw Nancy Burke, who I can highly
recommend. She works a lot with babies and young
children. Her phone number is 236-1007, and her office is
Is your baby having GER from breast milk? From my reading/research, it may be
that your child has allergies to what she is getting in her milk. Both reflux
stuffiness are symptoms of allergies in adults too. If you can, find Janet
Zand's book, SMART MEDICINE FOR A HEALTHIER CHILD, and see what is
potentially problematic that YOU are consuming (assuming you are
breast-feeding). The list includes commercial dairy, gluten-containing grains,
eggs, citrus, chocolate, beef, etc.
My son had pretty severe GER. The good news - they grow out of
it. The bad - it might take a year or so. My son stopped at
around 1 year. At 9 months, he was still spitting up an
appreciable amount ( 1 tsp-1TBsp) 40 times/day on a bad day. If
a tsp doesn't sound like a lot, try spraying a tsp of milk across
What can help - we found keeping our son calm and upright for
awhile after eating, with no pressure on his belly, helped. He
spent a lot of time in an infant chair. We raised the head side
of his mattress for sleeping - a lot for just after eating, a
little for the rest of the time. This also works wonders for
adults, such as w/ pregnancy induced GER (just put the head end
of the bed on 1 brick/leg). Diet for me or him didn't matter.
My son didn't seem bothered by it. Since yours does, it might be
another issue. It sounds like the congestion is more of an issue.
It's possible that will pass in very short time. I remember my
son was quite a noisy breather around 6 wks, but that passed.
Good luck and happy laundering!
My now 7 year old had reflux for almost the first year of his
life. He was a big baby (9 lbs) and gained weight just fine. But
he spit up probably 10 - 15 times a day. We just learned to carry
a spare cloth diaper with us at all times. I also bought a piece
of fabric used for table padding - vinyl on one side and padded on
the other. I used it vinyl-side up on the floor whenever I put
him down as he started to sit up and crawl. It spared our floors
and rugs and was easy to wash. We tried all different positions
after feeding to see if they helped but nothing did. Good luck -
it will end! (But for years afterward I would find small amounts
of dried spit-up in unlikely spots like the base of the rocking
chair we read his stories in!)
I am also going through a struggle with reflux with my one month
old. He would choke/gag and cough after every feeding. He
would spit up half of those times. He is too young to be on any
medication, and after researching we found that you can give
babies mylanta. I am amazed at the difference it has made in
his life. He now chokes/spits up at the most one time each
day. He is adopted and we are unable to breast feed, so we are
using alimentum. After several formulas we found that this one
is easier for him to digest, another aid in his wellness.
Another trick to try is to add a little rice cereal to the
formula, or feed your baby a little before feeding. My doctor
told me to have my baby at a 30 degree angle on the stomach
while sleeping. (we sleep him on his back)
There are specific diseases in which reflux is a major symptom
from birth. If your baby has reflux along with other symptoms,
such as low muscle tone, lung congestion, difficulty nursing or
difficulty in regulating body temperature, you should suspect
something other than general reflux that the baby might grow out
of. If you have a baby with these symptoms, feel free to contact
me. We had a similar experience and much difficulty in getting
an accurate diagnosis.
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