Baby Heartburn

It can be very difficult as a first time parent, or even as a second or third time parent, to distinguish the different types of crying a baby makes. However, there is a consistent cry that is obviously pain. If your baby is waking every half hour or hour in the night, but in fact not really waking but crying and twisting in pain in a twilight zone hardly awake, then he or she may have baby heartburn. If he is doing this consistently both day and night, then it is possible that your baby has a medical condition call acid reflux which presents as baby heartburn.

It is not just heartburn, but very often severe chronic heartburn which leaves you and your baby exhausted. Acid infant reflux, where the baby is vomiting up their milk, is relatively easy for a doctor to diagnose as the baby often fails to put on weight. This is an immediate worry and many parents and professionals recognise that there is a problem early on.

However, with silent reflux, where the content of the stomach is coming back up the oesophagus and into the mouth but not being vomited up, it is much harder to know why a baby is in pain and not sleeping. The heartburn is likely to be more severe as the acid liquid continues to run up and down the gullet and only when the baby is in an upright position with gravity working in her favour does the content of the stomach settle down.

Along with the severe medical heartburn there can be other side effects. Problems with breathing can occur and should be taken very seriously, as well as sore throats, sore gullets, raw sinuses and generally runny noses. All these are due to the regurgitation of liquid.

It is important to get medical advice for your baby for various reasons:

  • To check that it is silent reflux causing the heartburn and not some other underlying cause.
  • To receive support and advice from a professional to help with your worry over having a baby regularly in severe pain.
  • To get advice on medication and feeding which can help to diminish your baby’s symptoms, leaving the baby with less heartburn and you and your baby with more precious sleep.
  • To gain reassurance that your baby will grow out of silent reflux probably by her first birthday (or if very severe) by her second birthday and be fully well.

It is one of the most underestimated child care difficulties. It is very ill understood in the general population as well as by many professionals in the field. Many people think it is just a fancy name for a bit of wind or a form of colic but it is very distinct from either of these and its life as a problem for your baby is considerably longer.

Baby heartburn also needs medical checking and treatment or at the very least a carefully managed feeding routine different to other babies. Less food more often is the general guideline, though it can be very hard to tell when a silent reflux baby is hungry or just craving something to sooth their throat and oesophagus which is raw from the regurgitation of liquid in their stomach.

Severe medical baby heartburn is a very good way of describing you baby’s condition to people. Heartburn is something that many people can understand and have experience of or know someone who suffers from it and it gives them a gage as to just how painful this is for your child and just how difficult for the baby and the rest of the household to sleep as a result.

One of the difficulties for mothers with babies who have silent reflux is that there is no visible problem. Many people therefore have advice they think is helpful regarding baby routines and ways of dealing with constantly crying babies. If they can understand just how painful the problem is, then they are more likely to stop offering kind but misplaced advice and be willing to help by sometimes holding the baby while you sleep.

Baby heartburn means that sleep becomes something rare and very important for you, your baby and the rest of your household; especially if there are other young children in the house. Take any help offered and although you may well want to be the one holding your baby when she is in pain, it is important that you stay well for the long haul. Say yes to help and get some sleep whenever you can.

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