What is Reflux?
The meaning of reflux in medical terms means "a backward flow". Babies have a little door to the stomach which can be quite soft at birth and gradually strengthens over the first year of life.
When this door relaxes or opens a little you get a backward flow of the stomach contents up to and past the oesophagus into the mouth.
A great book, which I read a few years ago is called 'Sick,Tired and Grumpy' by Dr Rodney Ford. Many children with food allergy/intolerance can be described as “Sick, tired and grumpy”. I think about babies who turned out to be gluten intolerant who were often windy and reflux as babies and told they would just grow out of it but they didn't - babies can turn into toddlers and then children with reflux.
In babies' reflux 'is a word used to describe the backward flow of generally milk from the stomach. But the problem is also acid and mucous from the stomach which can make the baby vomit lots or spill a little of the stomach contents. Sometimes you may notice your baby blowing bubbles from the mouth when laid flat after a feed or they might just scream lots after a feeding especially if they are put to bed in a horizontal position as the acid can cause a burning sensation and is painful.
Remember most babies spill a little, which is normal and can cause no issues for babies or parents. The reflux I am focusing on is a medical term for babies that are truly struggling, screaming, not gaining weight which is very distressing for parents or they are power vomiting everywhere.
Reasons to give a soother/dummy
- Try not to use a soother/dummy until feeding is going really well on the breast or bottle and you know babies feeding and hunger ques to ensure they are feeding and gaining weight well.
- If breastfeeding ensure you have good milk supply as some babies will get the latching techniques between dummy and breast confused then start doing a shallow latch on the breast which can reduce your milk supply or cause sore nipples, blocks ducts or mastitis.
- Never tie dummy around baby neck as it can cause choking.
- Never put honey or something sweet on dummy to make baby like it. But you can soak your dummy income breastmilk to make it taste better for baby.
- Your Milk supply is plentiful and weight gains are normal for baby. But baby wants to keep feeding and gets more wind and reflux, sometimes I find using a dummy can give you a gap to let the digestive processes happen and have rest from processing all the milk.
- Can be helpful for a baby who needs some sucking practice or struggling to latch due to birth positions or birth delivery methods, this is often combined with waiting to see an Osteopath to check that jaw and tongue movements are functioning to their optimal ability.
- When baby is struggling to settle to sleep and crying and mum needs a break but the breast is the most natural dummy especially in the first 6 weeks so a baby may not find a dummy comforting.
- Best to wait till feeding going really well before offering a dummy for settling.
which can be supportive in reducing issues.