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The Bulls1ht Series - Busting The Myths of Reflux

Maybe its being Irish, maybe its the complete frustration I feel when another mum replays her last conversation with the doctor about her baby's reflux. 

It's time to stop lying to ourselves.

It's time to stop believing that everything a doctor says is true because they are a doctor.

Sorry, this is not the case, and you probably know this already in your heart but are scared to admit it because it might mean that no-one has answers. And this is a scary place to be.

Give me a few minutes, read some of these myths below and see how you feel then...

Are you ready?

1. Reflux is Normal - eh no it isn't

This, and other myths that doctors spread, really anger me because they are completely incorrect.

The entire system is set up poorly. The NICE Guidelines are bullshit too.
Saying that reflux is normal is saying:

  • it’s completely normal to be in constant pain. - it’s completely normal to throw up every meal you eat
  • it’s completely normal to be unable to sleep because of pain and discomfort - it’s completely normal for you to be unable to participate in LIFE because your body is in constant discomfort

This is completely wrong, and unethical.

This is NO WAY to treat our youngest and most vulnerable members of society.

If you, with your own voice, explained your baby’s symptoms to a doctor as if they were your own, would they ignore you?

Would they tell you “it’s normal, you’ll be fine in 12 months time”, and if they did say this, would you think it was an acceptable answer?

It’s NOT an acceptable answer. It’s cruelty in action. And I’m calling time on it.

Yes, I want to change the NHS, and that is going to take time. However I’m not waiting by the sidelines until the doctors are ready to entertain a better way. I’m here, now, helping people just like you, change their lives.

I’ve been there. Twice. I know the heartache of holding your screaming baby, helpless to ease their suffering and feeling clueless as to what to try next.

Let me tell you that this doesn’t have to be a guessing game. This is not about “trying” the next thing.

When we read all of baby’s behaviours and symptoms as a pattern, we can figure out, rather quickly (within an hour) what is causing their discomfort.

And when we do this, we know what specific action to take to help them.

If you want to learn how to read your baby's symptoms, go here for my free symptoms tracker.

2. They're just a colicky baby - eh no they aren't

Colic is probably the most unhelpful diagnosis a doctor will give a baby, and lots of babies are officially diagnose with it.

It does 𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 to help baby, or parents, and allows the medical profession to cast us aside without a care in the world.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that the term “colic” is a complete write off.

𝙲𝚘𝚕𝚒𝚌 𝚒𝚜 𝚘𝚏𝚏𝚒𝚌𝚒𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚢 𝚍𝚎𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚍 𝚊𝚜 “𝚌𝚛𝚢𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝟹 𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚜 𝚊 𝚍𝚊𝚢, 𝚊𝚝 𝚕𝚎𝚊𝚜𝚝 𝟹 𝚍𝚊𝚢𝚜 𝚊 𝚠𝚎𝚎𝚔, 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚊𝚝 𝚕𝚎𝚊𝚜𝚝 𝟹 𝚠𝚎𝚎𝚔𝚜”. If your baby is screaming for 3 hours in a day, 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗴. 

It could be that their “routine” is out of sync with their needs, are they getting overstimulated too often and therefore too tired?

Are they reacting to something in their food and so are uncomfortable and trying to tell you this?

Where there is a repeatable pattern like this, there is a reason. 𝘼𝙇𝙒𝘼𝙔𝙎.

In my work, I have always found that colic is strongly (like 95% of the time) associated with digestive discomfort, and this is 100% 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒗𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕.

You see, our babies have a naturally immature digestive system, This means that they do not have all the digestive capabilities that they will have as they grow. This is why some babies "grow out of" colic and reflux, it’s actually because their digestive systems have matured.

The truth be told, is that when a baby is upset and the medics have checked that there is nothing sinister going on, it’s time for us, as their parents to 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙤𝙗𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙘𝙡𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙮. When we observe everything that is going on for our babies we can completely resolve their discomfort and pain because we can make changes in how we are supporting them. But only when we listen to them.

The medics don’t help, because the guidelines they need to follow don't ever ask "why is a baby unhappy / uncomfortable / in pain?"

You already know that your baby is unhappy for some reason, and the start of deciphering what is going on always starts with observing their symptoms. Start here.

3. You baby is gaining weight so cannot have reflux - not true

Babies with reflux can gain weigh perfectly, gain weight excessively and lose weight depending on how their reflux is affecting them.⁣⁣

𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭, 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧? ⁣⁣

Babies with reflux experience pain and discomfort of stomach acid burning and irritating their oesophagus. They learn very quickly that the act of feeding washes this acid back into the stomach and so they ask for more milk to soothe the pain.

Additionally, if baby has trapped gas or constipation, they instinctively know that the act of feeding and swallowing stimulates peristalsis in their entire digestive system and so they drink more to move this along to be more comfortable. Hence, baby can be asking for food a lot, and feeding a lot, and gaining plenty of weight, with or without vomiting some of the milk.⁣⁣

𝐈𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐛𝐚𝐛𝐲 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐮𝐱 𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭, this happens because they cannot keep enough of their milk down to gain sufficient weight.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
In both instances, the answer lies in figuring out the 𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙡𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙘𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙧𝙚𝙛𝙡𝙪𝙭. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
When baby is gaining weight perfectly or excessively, the answer lies in understanding why baby is uncomfortable all the time and what is causing this discomfort. When we resolve the discomfort, baby doesn’t need to ease their own discomfort and so starts to ask for milk on a hunger basis.⁣⁣

Then baby isn’t gaining sufficient weight, the answer lies in figuring out 𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘊𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘒𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘔𝘪𝘭𝘬 𝘋𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘥𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴. Not changing the consistency of their milk to make it more difficult to vomit out. ⁣⁣

Yes, this helps some babies, the side effects of thickening agents are threefold: ⁣⁣

  1. they continue to absorb fluids as they pass through the digestive system and can contribute to constipation
  2. they are complex carbs that many babies cannot digest properly so they ferment in their gut causing trapped gas, bloating etc⁣
  3. the thickened milk now holds more air bubbles within the milk which are not released in the stomach to be burped out, so go into the gut contributing to more trapped gas and abdominal discomfort.⁣⁣

Our doctors do not apply this approach because the WHO does not tell them to. In fact, there is no recommendation to ever understand the cause of reflux.⁣⁣

And yes, I'm repeating myself here - the free symptoms tracker is where you start.

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