Food

November 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - November 2017

Original article by Meg Faure

In my practise and the work I do with moms, around half of babies I see (admittedly they are the more fussy of babies) have been diagnosed and/or are being treated for reflux. To put this in perspective and offer some advice, lets look at what we know about reflux.

What is reflux?

‘Reflux’ is short for Gastro-oesophageal reflux – which is basically regurgitation of stomach contents. It occurs in many babies and for by far the majority, who suffer from ‘reflux’, is actually not something to worry about.

Many babies posset or bring up milk curds and stomach acid. Some actually vomit or spit this up and others simply swallow it down and you would hardly know they have posseted if you didn’t notice a little swallow or gasp as the curds come up. In fact, so many babies regurgitate small amounts of milk curds that we could almost consider it ‘normal’ in the population. By far the majority of these babies continue to gain weight and thrive, even though they are bringing up a portion of each feed.

For other babies, the ‘reflux’ is a medical condition (GERD – GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease), which does require intervention. These babies are not thriving and are very unwell, many suffering from repeated lung infections and significant discomfort and pain due to the oesophagitis that develops when stomach acid burns the food pipe. These are the cut and dried cases and are very unusual.

A number of babies, however, are not ill with the reflux but are irritable and it is hard to discern if they are simply irritable babies or if the reflux is causing such great discomfort that it needs to be treated. These babies are thriving and not ill but are miserable. They fall into a very grey area and the question arises about whether they should be treated medically.

Should we be medicating?

The medical treatments for reflux generally involve neutralising or blocking stomach acid production or thickening the milk that the baby ingests.

In cases where babies are unwell, not thriving and have breathing problems or lung infections, due to the GERD, treatment is necessary.

For all other reflux, in otherwise well babies, the new thought is not to medicate as the treatments that alter stomach acid may lead to other issues with digestion.  If you can manage reflux conservatively in these babies, it is a way better route to go:

  • Smaller feeds
  • Limiting length of feed
  • Interrupting feed to burp your baby
  • Keeping baby upright for a little period of time after the feed
  • Raising the head of the cot for sleep time

Sensory threshold

Looking at reflux from a sensory perspective can be useful.

Sensory sensitive babies have a tendency to hyper respond to all sensory input – they are easily woken by sounds, cranky at bath time due to the change in temperature, fussy with new teats and dummies, become over stimulated in a busy setting etc. These babies have a low threshold for all sensory input. It stands to reason that interoception (sensory input from within the body) will also cause these babies to react.

So for babies with a low threshold, the mild burning or discomfort of ‘normal’ reflux makes them very irritable and they hyper respond to interoception from the oesophagus that another baby may not notice.

Sensitive babies are more likely to over react to reflux.

Before jumping into medical treatment if your baby is generally well, do the following:

  • Find out your baby’s sensory personality
  • If your baby is thriving, try not to medicate but rather manage the discomfort by not overfeeding and by raising the head of the cot.
  • If your baby is irritable look to the sensory world to calm them, before jumping into meds.
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June 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - June 2017

MW-Newsletter-June-2017
Original article by Meg Faure

Your baby is born with a natural immunity that is passed on to him during pregnancy. This wonderful immunity in combination with the antibodies found in colostrum and breast milk protects your baby from illness to a great extent for the first 6 months of life. Over the next few years, your child will be working at developing his immunity so that he can face the germs he will be exposed to in life, without becoming too ill.

Breastfeed

The best way to boost your baby’s immunity in the first year is to breastfeed. Even once your baby is on solids, breast milk continues to carry some of your antibodies to your baby.

Vaccinate

The most important boost of your baby’s immunity is inoculations against dangerous childhood illnesses, such as tetanus, meningitis and whooping cough.

Eat a healthy varied diet

A healthy diet will help to build your baby’s immunity by providing micronutrients. Make sure he eats fruit and veggies as well as fish, meat, nuts and wholegrains – all of these contain vitamins and micronutrients needed for immunity

Supplements

If your baby is a fussy eater (common in the toddler years) it is a good idea to offer a natural supplement, which is best absorbed by the body and provides a wide spectrum of nutrients to ensure that your little one gets everything he needs. Bio-Strath is a natural supplement that provides essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids in an optimal form, to support your little one’s immune system as well as benefit their overall development. In addition, a multivitamin for babies and young children, with Vitamin C and Zinc can help boost immunity.

Exposure

Once your little one is attending crèche or school, he is likely to catch at least 8 infections per year. The next time he is exposed to the same virus the illness is much less severe. This is why children tend to get better and have far fewer infections after the age of 4 years. By this time they have been exposed to the vast majority of normally occurring viruses and the immune system has memory for these viruses.

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