Once Eby was home from the Birth Center, she slept a lot. I’m not exaggerating. She was hard to wake up to feed, actually impossible to wake up. This was a red flag for me as a Momma. Eby had some trauma from birth due to me pushing for six hours. The midwife called it a muffin top. (We used arnica right away) The doctors who saw her later said she had a hematoma. This bruise, as it healed, caused her to have moderate jaundice. She had numerous heel sticks (blood draws) to test her bilirubin levels the first two weeks. At home we had her in a bili-blanket to bring her levels down. We also took her outside daily for a dose of natural sun.
Once the sleepy coma stage was done (jaundice was gone), Eby struggled with GERD or reflux. How did I know she had reflux? She would spit up more than a normal baby, she would gag/choke/swallow and her breathing was worrisome (she would gasp). I took her to a mainstream doctor and he prescribed Zantac. What would any natural momma do when a doctor prescribes a mainstream pharmaceutical drug to her child? I looked up everything I could on the drug and reflux. My conclusion: I wasn’t comfortable giving Eby this drug. Why? Zantac makes it difficult for a child’s developing body to absorb much needed nutrients. It also doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Breast milk naturally soothes reflux. So, I continued breastfeeding on demand and monitoring Eby’s reflux. There were times it wasn’t bad, and I felt like she was “normal”; but then there were times I was very concerned. We tried having her upright upon suggestions. It helped slightly, but it wasn’t enough. We tried some gripe water and homeopathics. They helped temporarily but weren’t getting to the root of the issue.
I started to notice certain foods I ate made her reflux worse, so I asked our Naturopathic Doctor if we could do a food sensitivity blood panel on Eby. This allowed us to see what foods Eby’s body was responding to that I was eating. I already knew some of the culprits, but there were clearly more.
When we got the results back, they confirmed my suspicions, but also included more foods I had to avoid. I was already avoiding my own food sensitivities (dairy, wheat, yeast, peanuts, asparagus, pork, tuna, corn etc.). Now I was forced to relearn cooking and baking all over. Eby is sensitive to corn, rice (two main wheat alternatives), halibut, sardines (no loss there), sesame seeds, apricots, lemons, grapefruit, oranges, red grapes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, yeast, CHOCOLATE (boo), crabs, and honey (boo). *sigh* Interestingly enough the strongest responses she had were to foods I ate A LOT of in pregnancy (chocolate, rice, corn, potatoes, apricots, oranges, and honey).
Anyway, when I avoided all of Eby’s trigger foods, Eby was a normal baby without reflux. Every time I slipped and had one of the foods, her symptoms of reflux would come back. It was really hard at first, but seeing Eby in pain and suffering was a driving force to eliminate her trigger foods from my diet.
One of the things we bought that gave me peace of mind at night was this:
This monitor allowed me to sleep at night, knowing the alarm would go off if Eby stopped breathing. Before we had it, I was constantly checking on Eby and not able to sleep.
Now that Eby is older and on solids (in addition to breast milk), her reactions to the foods I eat aren’t as scary; but she still reacts. For example, If I eat chocolate, she gets a mild rash and a sore bum. It’s proof that diet really does play a significant role!
My favorite gripe water/homeopathic for gas/reflux is this:
I gave this to Eby whenever she had belly issues, gas, or I ate one of her trigger foods (I’m human, and being on a limited diet is hard!)
If you have a baby with reflux, I feel your pain. It’s hard to watch your child suffer. I suggest keeping a food log and writing down when your child has a reaction to see if certain foods correlate. Obviously, this only works with breastfeeding mammas. However, if you aren’t breastfeeding, you may want to look at the ingredients in your formula to see if they are triggering reflux (and try a new formula).
Amber Necklaces are great for reflux too! I originally had this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071MQ0NG/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0071MQ0NG&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20 Every time we took it off we noticed things got worse. When our first necklace got lost, we bought a hazelwood/amber necklace. Hazelwood works to balance the body’s ph (helping reflux) and amber is a natural analgesic. We get lots of comments. Most people think we have it on Eby just for fashion. Some are concerned. The necklace is knotted between each bead for minimal spillage if it were to break. If Eby were to pull on it, which she never has, the clasp is designed to pull apart. I’m a firm believer these necklaces work, and every mom who has one feels the same. I want to get one myself to see if it helps with headaches.
By the way, if you are an adult suffering with reflux and heartburn, it could be a food sensitivity as well!