Part of the Alphabet of Infant Reflux series, today we start at the beginning. And what a beginning.
Image courtesy of https://www.twenty20.com/photos/c6d5bac1-7d1f-459d-931e-1286a187e666/?utm_t20_channel=bl
Aerophagia as the medical term for swallowing air, and can be a singular cause of reflux in babies.
It’s completely normal.
We all do it.
So why is this the first most important thing to understand about reflux?
The thing is that many babies struggle to move air through their digestive system effectively and so it can cause discomfort and pain.
Swallowed air must come out of the body somehow.
t either comes back out the mouth as burps or hiccoughs, or it passed through the stomach into the intestines and has a journey through to the other side.
How is air related to reflux?
When there is air in the stomach with milk / food, and when the stomach does it’s stronger contractions designed to move food down and out of the stomach, trapped air in the stomach can force food back out the top of the stomach. This is regurgitation.
The more air, the more forceful the event, so typically babies with projectile vomit are drinking way too much air.
Babies drink air for many reasons.
They swallow air when they cry, which is why it is important to comfort and reassure a baby with reflux because the crying can actually make things worse.
They drink air because they cannot get a proper latch on their milk source (boob or bottle).
They drink air because there is bubbles in their formula if it has been shaken to mix.
Do everything in your power to reduce the amount of air your baby drinks.
What are the signs that baby is drinking too much air?
Your baby is drinking air if you observe any of the following:
a clicking noise when feeding
you can hear milk sloshing in their tummy after a feed (because stomach churning without air is virtually silent)
if they experience gulping, choking, gagging or frustration when they are feeding.
Frustration when feeding (breast or bottle)
Spilling or leaking milk from their mouth when feeding
There is no such thing as a tongue tie that does not need resolving in a baby who struggles with reflux.
If there is no tie, baby might be experiencing tension or discomfort in their jaw or head. This can happen to any baby, and be from the position they were in in utero, or from birth, or from growth. A cranio sacral osteopath can work magical wonders here. A key observation that indicates baby should see a cranio sacral osteopath is if they cannot open their mouth really wide. Like properly wide. And if you observe this, you should have this sorted regardless or not of tongue tie.
But a tongue tie is not the only thing that causes a baby to drink air, so it is important to understand other aspects that could be going on, and what else could be causing the aerophagia or indeed the reflux. I've created a short online workshop for you to work through what could be going on for your baby, you can find it here: Whats Causing My Baby's Discomfort?
Please share this blog with others who might needs this information.
More information on all of these issues and how to pinpoint what is going on for your baby can be found in The Baby Reflux Lady’s Survival Guide.
If you want to know how to best help your baby now, complete this short quiz. Http://bit.ly/RefluxQuiz
And if you know you want help, I invite you for a 45-minute consultation - "Discover The Cause of Your Baby's Discomfort", a one-off appointment where I go through your baby symptoms in detail, give you my opinion on the cause of their discomfort and what develop an action plan for you to get your baby to a Place of Great.