Weaning Causes Reflux to Get Worse in 54% of Babies

The natural immaturity of baby's developing digestive


Babies are born immature.

They cannot walk, they cannot talk, they can't even see properly at first. And it takes quite some time for these skills and others to develop. 


We accept that the invisible stuff is also immature - like their emotional development, their bone structure, their muscle control and much more...


So why, then, do we assume that their digestive system is any different?

Because it isn't.

A paper published in 1989 in a WHO Bulletin by James Akre outlined detailed the enzyme differences between a baby, an older toddler, and an adult.  And when we take into account that these natural immaturities take time to develop, then we start to understand that it can be a source of discomfort to our children.

 This image (taken from The Baby Reflux Lady's Survival Guide) gives an overview of what is happening inside your baby's body.



It is so important because when we understand this, we can make different food choices for our babies that support their bodies rather than causing irritation.

The detail of how all this impacts your baby is important, too, and it's all outlined in my book. The overview: your baby cannot break down complex carbohydrates or complex proteins properly in the first two years of life, and so they cause irritation:

  1. They ferment in the gut, causing bloating, wind and abdominal discomfort.

  2. They can absorb lots of fluid from your baby's digestive system and cause constipation.

  3. They can be misinterpreted by your baby's body as threats, and so instigate an allergic response.

All of these things your baby will "grow out of", or rather, their digestive system will mature normally to be able to digest normal foods. However, if they experience too much irritation of their gut in the early years, this can cause inflammation. And inflammation in the gut is not a pretty thing.

In fact, inflammation in a baby's gut means that their digestive system cannot develop normally, and they may continue to suffer indefinitely from digestive issues.

Other things that are associated with poor gut health in children are bad behaviour and poor sleep, and kids even get labelled as having ADHD when, in fact, the root cause is unresolved reflux due to an immature digestive system.

Now, an immature digestive system doesn't only affect babies with reflux, and it is not the only cause of reflux either. Read this post on the causes of reflux. 


When Will Your Baby's Digestive System Mature?

You will know your baby's system is maturing when they start getting their teeth. Funnily enough, the teeth are a part of the digestive system, so that we can use them as an external gauge of their internal maturity.

In the meantime, your baby needs foods that are going to build their brain. 70% of the brain is fat, and your baby's stomach has a superpower of fat digestion in the first two years of life to support this time of brain development and growth. Because at no other time in life does the brain grow so quickly or so rapidly. 

Your baby is designed to thrive on fats. Good quality fats. So don't be worried about giving them to them. Interestingly, fats are the only nutrient that the WHO does not have an upper limit on. They state, "Fats should not be limited to children under two years."


A word of warning about fats for babies on reflux medications:

if your baby is taking gastric acid suppression medications (e.g. ranitidine or omeprazole, etc.), then they drastically change your baby's stomach's ability to break down fats correctly. We can speculate on the impacts of these because no one has yet done any research on them. There is a whole other set of researched impacts of the medications, which, if you want the full details - sign up to my mailing list here.


Weaning Without Reflux

I've written an entirely new approach introducing solids to babies with reflux because of this natural immaturity. When we give our children the foods they need and can digest, they thrive. Click here to find out more about my Weaning Course.

If you're breastfeeding your baby and it's something in your diet that is causing an issue, then the Breastfeeding Masterclass is going to explain a LOT more of what is going on and HOW to TRULY identify the culprits of your baby's issues, especially with a diagnosis of multiple FPIES foods. 


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