HOW TO SPOT...

Baby ill­nesses are part of grow­ing up, but with a lit­tle knowl­edge, you’ll learn to recog­nise the symp­toms and make it bet­ter

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Realadvice -

Re­flux is when the contents of a baby’s stom­ach travel back into his oe­soph­a­gus or mouth. Pae­di­a­tri­cian and M&B ex­pert Dr Scott Dun­lop says many ba­bies re­gur­gi­tate milk. “How­ever, if it be­comes reg­u­lar vom­it­ing or is ac­com­pa­nied by acid pain, we usu­ally di­ag­nose re­flux,” he says. Re­flux usu­ally oc­curs at be­tween two and four months of age.

What are the symp­toms?

Ba­bies with re­flux vomit and hic­cup a lot. Some­times they swal­low their vomit, which is called silent re­flux. If your baby swal­lows a lot when he’s not feed­ing, this is a sign. And you’ll know when he has oe­sophageal pain be­cause he’ll look mis­er­able or wor­ried, and will cry or scream in pain when­ever you lie him down on his back.

What causes it?

What is it?

Food should travel in one di­rec­tion: down the oe­soph­a­gus, into the stom­ach and through the bow­els. In ba­bies with re­flux, there’s a weak­ness in the band of mus­cles in the lower oe­soph­a­gus, which act as a valve to the stom­ach. If this valve doesn’t close prop­erly, milk can travel back up the oe­soph­a­gus, re­sult­ing in vom­it­ing. “It’s nor­mal for the lower oe­sophageal sphinc­ter to be loose in ba­bies,” says Scott. “In most cases, the mus­cle tight­ens by six months of age. This, com­bined with be­ing in a more reg­u­lar upright pos­ture at that age and start­ing on solids, usu­ally leads to an im­prove­ment of symp­toms,” he adds.

What can you do?

Keep bub as upright as pos­si­ble when feed­ing him, and for at least 30 min­utes af­ter­wards. Carry him around in a sling so he spends more time upright in gen­eral, or place him in a rocker so his body is an­gled up­wards slightly.

See your GP if...

Your baby starts pro­jec­tile vom­it­ing, his chronic re­flux is com­bined with re­fus­ing food or he’s not putting on weight. Your GP will as­sess him, pro­vide a proper di­ag­no­sis and rec­om­mend strate­gies to help you man­age the symp­toms. John­son’s Baby Lo­tion 200ml, $5.49

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