Acid Reflux in Infants and children are on the rise. According to statistics not only do 50% of all infants suffer from acid reflux, 20% of the total population who suffer from acid reflux are infants.
The medical establishment’s answer is anti-acids. But acid is needed to digest therefore to block production of or neutralize all acid is to inhibit the takers ability to digest.
Understanding the cause of reflux will help us make a better decision.
There are 2 sphincter muscles on either side of the stomach similar to the muscle at the rectum. The purpose of these muscles is to pinch off the openings coming in and going out of the stomach to keep acid from regurgitating up the esophagus or escaping the stomach prematurely.
A mucosal membrane lines the digestive muscles of the esophagus through the stomach and past the duodenum. If this lining is thick and healthy the sphincter muscles can easily and completely pinch close the openings at the top and bottom of the stomach.
Mother’s breast milk should be the proper pH of 8.0 or higher in order to foster a healthy mucosal lining of the digestive system. Baby Formulas are almost always acidic, but sometimes even breast milk can be acidic causing a pH imbalance in the infant/child which can erode the valuable lining.
Instead of formula, many people use the next best thing… raw, fresh goat’s milk.
To help correct the pH of breast milk, I would add a prudent amount of Marshmallow Root (keeping in mind too much can make the milk too thick) and have the mother eat an alkalizing diet. (Please refer to pH article).
Another common cause of reflux stems from the position of the baby or child’s stomach. If it is pushed up past the diaphragm, the kink in the esophagus and pressure that results can cause stomach contents to escape past the upper stomach muscle.
To help correct the position of the stomach, you could gently massage, starting at the sternum (where the ribs connect in front) and using 2 fingers make stroke like motions ending slightly below the belly button.
Between the large and small intestine is another sphincter muscle called the ileocecal valve. If it is not fully closed, the pressure from the peristaltic action of the large intestinal muscles plus any gas build up which often occurs in that part of the intestine can cause immense pressure in the reverse direction. Massaging the ileocecal valve, using your fist in a circular motion, can often encourage it to close, relieving the problem.
There is a 1 in 2 chance that any given mother will have to deal with her child’s reflux problem. While doctors use anti-acid, we believe in using the above information and if you need a little extra help, we suggest putting ½ tsp of slippery elm with 10 drop catnip and fennel with enough water to make the texture of runny pudding and using a syringe, have the baby/child suck it down between meals.