“I don't want to medicate my baby!” Nobody has a baby with the intention of putting them on medications and we understand how difficult that decision is. But the truth is your baby may be in a lot of pain and not treating baby reflux can cause long term problems in addition to the pain they're in. This page is not intended to scare you but rather give you as much information possible so you can make an educated decision.
The use of medications that are considered very safe and using them for a very limited time (normally discontinuing treatment at or before one year of age) rather than sticking it out, letting your baby continue to suffer and potentially acquiring both short-term and long-term symptoms, is a reasonable option.
Pain: This is
probably the biggest reason you found this site. Your baby has been
crying a lot or showing signs of pain before, during or after eating and
in some moderate to severe situations may be in constant pain. This is difficult to
watch as a parent as well as making this first year of life for your
baby an unnecessarily painful one.
Tissue damage: It is true that the tissue in the esophagus can heal quickly but the persistent exposure to acid over months can lead to changes in the esophagus, that may include hiatal hernia development and cellular changes that may lead to a higher likelihood of GERD as an adult.
Eating Aversions: Imagine having a cut on your tongue or on your throat. Now eat a lemon. That's how it feels up and down your baby's throat when the infant GERD has caused tissue damage. The tissue is raw and inflamed and every time your baby eats, it hurts. I can't tell you how many times I see posts on social media from moms telling me that their baby who is now one year old or older and won't eat, is an extremely fussy eater, or has feeding aversions. Have you ever seen a skinny baby? This is possibly the result of the pain association to eating which are very difficult to reverse and typically last a long time if not a life time.
Chronic Ear Infections: These are also are caused by long term effects of reflux. You can read all about how and why here.
Chronic Throat and Respiratory Infections: When the respiratory tract (such as sinuses) or throat area (larynx, pharynx) are involved, the problem is known as LPR (LaryngoPharyngeal Reflux, also known as ExtraEsophageal Reflux (EER)- these symptoms are also referred to as called atypical GERD. The LPR symptoms create their own problems as acid can affect the eustachian tube (and that is how infants develop ear infections and repeat ear infections), the lungs (causing apnea, ALTE, pneumonia) and other effects such as sinusitis, coughing, congestion, wheezing and noisy breathing, and snoring. LPR is reflux into the larynx and pharynx. It can lead to Laryngomalacia. PLEASE READ THIS PAGE.
Hiatal Hernia: This is a condition in which a small part of your stomach that bulges through a hole in your diaphragm. This hole is called a hiatus. The hernia itself can play a role in the development of both acid reflux and chronic GERD.
There are many, many other long and short term symptoms of GERD and infant reflux that you can read about here. Some of you moms (and dads) might be seeing some of the mild or severe reflux listed.
Getting your child on a treatment regimen that works is key. Then as your baby develops, assist you in weaning your baby off medications as soon as possible. A weaning treatment plan
is put into place to help.
So now is the time for you to decide. Are medications going to be a part of my baby's infant GERD treatment?
Connect with one of our caring support staff to help you get set up with the right provider and get you reimbursed from your insurance.