On May 8 of this year I received one of the greatest gifts in life: my first grandchild! She is the most beautiful, gorgeous and spectacular baby that was ever born. She is sweet and beautiful, and I can’t possibly get tired of looking at her – ever. However, her life is not problem-free, because she has newborn acid reflux. Her mother, my daughter, and I have done a ton of research on acid reflux in infants, and most of the literature suggests that her problem is the result of an immature digestive system. Supposedly, she will grow out of it when she is about one year old, but that doesn’t help right now, when she is screaming and crying because her tummy hurts so much. According to her doctors [who have been almost no help at all] there are two possible causes for this newborn acid reflux.
The first cause involves a valve between the stomach and the esophagus. This valve can be immature and not completely formed or it might relax too much. The result is acid leaking out of her stomach and coming up into her throat.
A second possibility is too much pressure from the stomach which causes this seepage of stomach acid that comes into her mouth. Often she waves her arms and legs in a way that lets us know that she really hurts.
Of course, digestive problems are rampant in our culture. In fact they are so common that there are few people who don’t have a digestive misery from time to time. Antacids are a huge bestseller becauseso many are searching desperately for acid reflux relief. Some unfortunates – like my precious granddaughter – have constant problems with stomach acid reflux.
Remedies For Acid Reflux
When we chew our food we begin the digestive process. When we swallow, our food goes down our esophagus into our stomach which is loaded with the acid that makes digestion possible. The classic acid reflux symptom is a burning sensation that comes as a result of acid backing up the digestive tract.
Those aren’t the only symptoms though. Some of the other symptoms are a terrible taste in the mouth [an acidic taste], hoarseness and, in severe cases, chest pain.in these more severe cases, heartburn and acid reflux can result in serious respiratory problems including continuous coughing and problems with breathing. If the acid reflux continues long enough there can be severe damage to the esophagus.
Most mothers know that the chance of heartburn and acid reflux during pregnancy is very high. Personally, that’s the only time I ever had acid reflux and it’s the result of all those dratted hormonal changes and because there is much more pressure on the stomach. Both times that I was pregnant I felt like I had no room in my stomach. If I ate a peanut I was so full that heartburn was almost assured. Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating but every pregnant woman knows what I mean.
The Symptoms Of Stomach Acid Reflux
One sure way to cut down on the possibility of an acid reflux episode is to chew your food thoroughly. That means really thoroughly: at least 10 times and possibly more. Wise advice on this subject says that we should even chew the liquids we drink. If the idea of chewing a liquid sounds weird, think of it this way: with drinks such as smoothies we can even take this literally. For drinks that are truly liquid, like tea, holding the beverage in our mouths for a while is a good idea. Why? Because there are digestive enzymes in the mouth and if we don’t allow those enzymes time to work our digestion will be impaired and obviously that will only lead to a higher incidence and possibility of acid reflux.
There are other habits besides thorough chewing that will help reduce the incidence of acid reflux. For example:
Give up all alcoholic beverages
Keep your weight as low as possible
Maintain a good posture with your head held high
Do not exercise vigorously right after eating
It is recommended that we not eat at least four hours before bedtime
And, naturally, WHAT we eat is critical. Fried food is a huge no-no. And forget about foods that are high in fat and especially stay away from liquids that are high in acid. Like coffee. Sorry.
And there are over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription medicines that help. However, don’t use these casually. Popping Tums all day is a habit that can lead to more severe side effects long-term.
If the situation is severely handicapping the patient, there is surgery that can be performed. This is a last resort and should not be tried before some of the less drastic measures above. Simply chewing your food slowly and thoroughly has proven to be a miracle for many people.
Newborn acid reflux is indeed horrible. Babies don’t understand and they have no experience with the world and can’t fathom why they’re in pain. Their misery is not their own fault. However we adults often contribute to stomach acid reflux. There are things we can do to stop it and it’s our choice about whether were willing to take the action necessary.