Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tummy Troubles

What is wrong with this world? Too often I find myself sitting around with other moms as they tell me that their child suffers from this or that, or that their doctor has prescribed yet another drug to treat their kid.
We have an over-medicated, over-diagnosed society. I totally believe that their are genuine cases out there, but I'm starting to really doubt some medical professionals.

The ailment that I'm hearing all-too-often with young moms with new babies is acid reflux. Their baby spits up quite a bit, and after invasive testing the doctor determines it to be acid reflux. The treatments range from sitting the baby up while sleeping, to medications, and sometimes even switching from breastmilk to formula.

AAAAACKKKKKK! Hold the phone! What's the deal here? I don't doubt that the baby is suffering or having some sort of trouble, but I do question our thinking. No two kids are alike, and too often we tend to think in terms of "normal." Guess what, folks, there is no "normal." You are this baby's mom, and you should always trust your gut. However, sometimes we as moms tend to panic when our kid seems different than someone else's kids (or different from what doctors tell us is "normal"). Some kids rarely spit up, others spit up all the time. My kiddos fluctated between both exremes. Before I go too deep with this, can I suggest a few alternatives? If you feel your baby is spitting up "abnormally" try these ideas BEFORE calling your physician:
  • Do a self check. If you're breastfeeding (and I hope you are) remember that your diet effects your baby. Duh. Are you drinking enough water? Are you drinking caffeine? Are you eating well? Could something you've eaten be upsetting the baby's tummy? A handful of suspect foods: chocolate, broccoli, cabbage, milk or any dairy product. Before you start thinking this is a baby problem, make sure it's not a YOU problem.
  • Talk to a chiropractor. You make think this is voodoo, or crack-pot medicine, but it works. Making sure that your baby is properly aligned can make a big difference in their digestive system. Please trust me on this. I've become all too familiar with the digestive system of wee ones, and I've seen this work.
  • Propping up baby to sleep can help, but also try laying them on their left side.
  • Burp, burp, burp. Or, as my 3-year-old calls it "bert." A baby needs to burp. Don't give up, you must get that child to burp. Try placing your hand on their stomach while using your other hand to firmly pat their back. That worked well for my husband (who has big hands). For me, placing the baby over my shoulder (making sure the tummy was pressing into my shoulder), and firmly patting worked great. Sometimes we both would work on a kiddo for 15 minutes before they'd give in and burp. Stubborn little twerps. (Whoops, did I just say that?)

Okay, so you've tried these things, and it still seems like more is coming out than going in AND now you're worried the baby is not gaining weight. Yet again, I'd like to suggest you talk to a lactation consultant first, but always trust your gut. If you feel seriously concerned, call your physician. *NOTE: Projectile vomiting is not the same as spitting up. If your kiddo is launching the entire contents of their stomach across the room several times a day CALL YOUR DOCTOR NOW.

So, in short, what you think is normal, may not be normal for your baby or normal as society belives. God made your baby the normal He intended, and don't be so quick to judge what God made perfectly normal. As I'm always telling my husband, I'm normal--everyone else is weird.

1 comment:

Rose C said...

Well, there are a lot of things wrong with this world, so i can't answer that. However, many moms are getting their information from a person they trust, many whom they have interviewed, yes, thats right, their pediatrician. Unfortunately, many of our ped's are getting information from their drug reps.

I would say that the epidemic could be better pinpointed on those who do not consider their own health their responsibility, and do not do their research. Although some children legitimately do have acid reflux and do need medication to effectively thrive and gain weight (case in point, Matt's cousin who is failure to thrive at the age of 11 due to severe, undiagnosed acid reflux from birth).

I don't judge those who listen to their doctors, as I once was one. It is sad that our physicians are influenced so, and that at times, do not see the entire picture.