Colic / Reflux
As a 3rd time father, I know what it’s like to have a fussy child. Even though Milah, our newest, is a dream, I am currently wearing her to keep her happy as I create this blog. I, on the other hand, wasn’t soothed with anything my mom knew to do as an infant. As she tells it, at one point, she feared the neighbors were going to call CPS because the screaming child must be being neglected. I’ve seen the face of mothers who, like my own, were at their wits end before someone told them that Chiropractic could help. By the time they make it in, they’re willing to give anything a shot, but there’s no reason to wait so long.
One of the most common reason parents bring their child to a chiropractor for the first time is for help with unexplained, prolonged crying. Many times, the go-to term or “diagnosis” for this is colic. Unexplained or prolonged crying for any length of time is unsettling, and can certainly leave a parent feeling concerned and a bit helpless – and desperate for any type of solution that might help. Aside from crying, other symptoms that can label one as “colicky” are difficulty digesting, rigid stomach after feeding, uncomfortable feedings, constipation/gassiness, difficulty nursing or infants having a preferred side to nurse, strong aversion to tummy time.
There can be a variety of precipitating factors that often include birth trauma or other structural concerns. Prolonged labor, or baby gets stuck in birth canal, potentially putting pressure on the neurological system causing poor communication between brain and digestive organs. Vacuum extraction, forceps and breech presentation increase the chances of this occurrence. Cesarean section delivered babies can experience a lot fo pressure and in some instances pulling – putting tension on the spinal cord. In addition, babies born via c-section miss out on the physiological changes that occur while going through the birth canal (compression/expansion), as well as exposure to the flora present in the mother’s system that should be the baby’s first exposure to the outside world.
Chiropractic plays a role in assisting Colic, reflux and constipation as they are often a symptom of an underlying nerve miscommunication. If the nerves that travel from the brain to the stomach and digestive organs have less than 100% communication effectiveness, symptoms can present. In cases of colic, excessive fussiness, difficulty sleeping, constipation and discomfort with tummy time are some of the most common symptoms that present. Chiropractic adjustments are meant to correct subluxation (pressure on the nerves) and allow the body to heal and function the way it was designed.
In retrospect, I would love for someone to have mentioned to my mom that there was a possible solution found just a few miles away in town at Dr. Gilbert’s office. In reality, I believe my family experience allows me extra compassion for those moms that come into our office wondering “What more can I do?!”
Breastfeeding & Natural Alternatives and Supplements
We all know that breast milk is best for babies. A mother’s milk is nature’s perfect and complete food for babies and can’t even come close to being reproduced. Studies show that infants who are breastfed have fewer illnesses and infections (including ear infections), less colic, constipation and fussiness, less incidence of eczema, and sleep more soundly through the night. baby formulaThe benefits of breastfeeding don’t stop there, though. Children (and adults who were breastfed as infants) have fewer health concerns than those who were bottle-fed. Mothers breastfeeding should continue using their pre-natal or other multi-vitamin, and should also take an omega-3 supplement to help their baby’s neurological development.
While we acknowledge that breast milk is best, there are a few circumstances where new mothers supplement their infant’s diet with formula. Here are a few recommendations to ensure your baby gets the healthiest of alternative diets:
Choosing a Formula
When using pre-made formula, be sure to choose a DHA-enriched formula. This healthy fat is essential for the baby’s neurological health and development: Earth’s Best Organic Infant Formula with DHA & ARA. Avoid Cow’s Milk!
Most children do not respond well to cow’s milk-based formulas. We do not advice using store-bought dairy at all. The proteins in cow’s milk were designed for baby cows – not human babies. Cows have 8 stomachs, and they digest differently than humans. In store-bought cow’s milk, we know that there are more than 30 cow vaccines, medications and hormones that make their way into our bodies (gross, right?!)
Say “No” to Soy
Try an alternative based-formula like Enfamil’s Nutramigen or Similac’s Expert Care Alimentum. It is not advisable to use a Soy-Based Formula at any time.
Supplement with Probiotics
Supplement your child’s formula with pro-biotics. These healthy bacteria not only ensure optimal Gl function, but are also essential for a healthy and strong immune system. Your probiotic should have 8-10 strains of healthy bacteria.
Feed on Both Sides – even with a bottle!
Feed your baby while holding them on both sides. This simulates breastfeeding and helps ensure the baby receives information from both sides, enhancing brain stem development.
What about Medication?
While medications often mask the symptoms of reflux, they do not correct the cause. In addition, all medications have potential side-effects. They also change the pH balance in the stomach and digestive system, and can lead to a change in physiology that pre-disposes the young infant to having continued digestive issues later in life. If you’re choosing to discontinue reflux medication, please know that symptoms often get worse temporarily, but that in most cases, will subside quickly when the infant is getting adjusted and when the advice above is followed.