The journey through pregnancy might have been hard or even productive, as most moms-to-be will have scoured through every piece of baby-related information piece they could get their hands on. You might be perfectly well prepared with a list of your own mother’s tried and tested methods for everything from burping to treating a nappy rash – but what you may face now might be something you could not prepare for;
Your baby is refusing their feeding, or won’t drink nearly enough for it to help them grow.
This can be exhausting, trying your best by breast or bottle, to get your tiny little baby to drink. The crying never stops. There is an outfit change, six times a day. Your have barely had time to wash your own hair in days. You may even still be recovering from the birth, if a C-section was done.
Chances are, your baby may be suffering from a treatable condition, and you just need to figure out which one it is, and what symptoms to look for.
Tongue-tie / Lip-tie
Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) or lip-tie (maxillary lip-tie), is a condition that is presented since birth.
With these conditions, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue will either tether the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth or tie the lip to the gum area too tightly. This restricts proper movement and may cause pain and difficulty latching to the breast or bottle.
Inevitably, your baby might refuse feedings, lose weight and struggle with swallowing – ultimately swallowing a lot of air. When your baby feeds, you may hear a clicking noise or see milk dripping down the sides of their mouth.
Unfortunately, this condition is often misdiagnosed as acid reflux. If the condition is mild, your doctor may opt to not do anything, but give it time. However, if this condition is interfering to the point where your baby is not feeding, a simple surgery to sever the ties may do the trick.
Acid reflux with your baby, also known as infant reflux, occurs when food pushes back up from your baby’s stomach, causing them to spit up. This happens because the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), or in layman’s terms, the “non return valve of the throat”, is not quite mature yet. They will usually outgrow this by the age of 18 months, but it is still at least a solid year of changing outfits, washing all the blankets and being absolutely frustrated with having to prepare for another feeding.
Many will say, it is “no cause for concern” as long as your baby is healthy and growing – but think about how awful it was to have constant heartburn during your pregnancy. It can’t be pleasant for your baby to have that sensation all the time either.
If your baby is suffering from reflux, have a chat with your doctor or paediatrician to figure out what the cause is, and how it can be treated best.
Your baby may have a variety of symptoms including but not limited to; projectile vomiting, spitting up bile, refusing feeding or getting fussy after feeding.
In more serious cases, your baby might have blood in their stool, develop a chronic cough and spit up blood.
There are causes that contribute to acid reflux; your baby’s stomach contents may be acidic enough to irritate the lining of the oesophagus, or the valve between the stomach and the small intestine is not allowing the stomach to empty fast enough. Often, the reflux may be caused by an allergy, a blockage or simply something you may have been eating that unknowingly could affect your breastmilk.
Once you have figured out the cause, there are some things you can try to soothe your baby’s reflux; you can let them have smaller, more regular feedings. Make sure to keep them upright after a feeding, and burp them well.
You lift their head a bit when they are sleeping so gravity can assist in keeping food down. Make sure you are eating appropriate foods for breastfeeding, and make sure your baby is not suffering any food allergies.
If the condition is severe enough, your doctor may prescribe a medication.
Never hesitate to ask questions and include all your baby’s symptoms when you are talking to your doctor about their needs. Anything and everything may be relevant and could help to diagnose and treat your baby. The Mopani Pharmacy Homegrown Babies Clinic also offers assessments on tongue- and lip-ties, and can assist with breastfeeding difficulties.
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