Sush - posted on 04/18/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )
Given how many discussion there are now on acid reflux and it is the diagnosis du jour, I thought I would share my experiences. I hope this is helpful.
Solutions - I have found that there are two good substitutes/complements to strong medications for our children in some cases of reflux:
1. Structural Work - This is the most common cause cited for reflux and yet doctors don't recommend chiropractic or crano-sacral therapy. I now believe that this is what we should try first. The best person I found who actually cured my daughter is Maria Curez @ 650-964-1568. She only speaks Spanish and charges very little. She has been massaging babies since she was 7 years old and is now in her 60s - its not about the money for her. She describes her work as healing techniques from ancient times. Plus she isn't trying to drag anything on - she fixed the situation in two visits. And, was clear up front if it was fixable by her and in how many visits it would get fixed. She was a miracle for us after many visits to many chiropracters, CSTs, naturopaths with many degrees and large bills. She gave us our life back.
2. Homeopathy - In cases where there is a chemical component to the reflux, homeopathy seems like a good bet. The problem is that there are many not so great homeopaths and not so great remedies. After seeing many different homeopaths including one who aggravated my daughter's reflux for 2 months with the wrong remedy, I have found the most thorough and experienced person. Her name is Raquel Blech at Realhomeopathy.com. She will genuinely try to cure the child and has been the best person to work with in terms of follow ups and responsiveness.
The long history (optional) -
My baby girl began to throw up a few times after her second week. Her colic started around 2.5 weeks and ended at 6 weeks – 4 hours of crying and fuss feeding every day from 4 -8 p.m. After 6 weeks, she had a tendency to spit up 2-3 times a day typically in the morning and the evening. And, also had a couple of fuss feeds a day. Honestly, we were so new at this that we weren't even burping her well.
A lactation consultant diagnosed her as having acid reflux and suggested Zantac. Frankly, I was confused and so was her pediatrician. She slept nights, gained weight, and had happy times. But she never gained “satisfactory weight” as per the pediatrician and she did have these difficult feedings every day. Discussions included things like “is she throwing up or just spiting up?”, "is she eating only 80% of what she can eat?" etc.
We became a miserable home for the following reasons instead of enjoying our daughter.
1) Confusion on acid reflux reigned, which as you can imagine was quite harrowing on a first time mom. I would sit down in terror every time wondering if the feed would go well or bad. The whole house would have a discussion if she cried during feeding to see if she was in pain or not, was it heartburn or not, was she arching her back or not, was she throwing her head back or not. Plus there was the comments galore – you don’t have enough milk, you have too much milk etc. At the pediatrician's recommendation, I went on a diet removing dairy, wheat, nuts, soy etc. to make sure she wasn't allergic to what I was eating.
2) The pediatrician kept harping on us about formula to make her gain more weight and we got increasingly scared that we were starving her. I believed that if she had reflux, she would do better on breastmilk, which many doctors agree with. Multiple attempts at the pediatrician's request to supplement her only resulted in her taking a half ounce or less of formula after breastmilk. Plus she seemed more miserable with stomach aches after formula. Thickened formulas made her spit-ups/throw-ups projectile. They began to work on me to start substituting breastmilk for formula instead of supplementing because it was then easier to measure what she was taking. I began to starve as I kept taking things out of my diet just in case they were affecting her.
3) This was now month 3 and 4. To avoid strong medications, I took my daughter to a highly reputed naturopath and a popular wholistic pediatrician. They prescribed Chinese herbs and a homeopathic remedy. Within a day, we were in the ER with my daughter throwing up after every feed. Although we managed to make things better over the next few days, my daughter now began to throw up or spit up continuously for these 2 whole months. I felt like a "incompetent/bad mother" for endangering my daughter and not giving her fomula, which was after all food. I was told that I was self-centric, enjoying the breastfeeding instead of doing what was in the best interest of my child. I was told that my diet [which they had recommended] may be making my milk weak and without much calories. And, frankly by now my daughter was herself miserable. And, we imagined every cry to be reflux.
4) I caved and gave her the Zantac. And, she was often given different formulas over these months just in case the breastmilk was "bad".
She, in fact, began to loose weight on Zantac instead of improving her "inadequate gain". She not only threw up/spit up digested milk but starting spiting up undigested milk. We were hospitalized for a couple of days because the pediatrician got worried, and blood was drawn, invasive proceredures performed etc. By now, the whole house was focused on keeping her upright.
The GIs now wanted me to put her on Prilosec since Zantac did not work. But since the Zantac didn't work, I didn't stop with my quest for natural remedies and I didn't put her on Prilosec. My pediatrician finally began to agree with me that things were not clear enough to give her Prilosec.
Throughout this whole time nobody could/would clearly tell us if my daughter had GER or GERD, and to what extent it was an issue, i.e. was she a failure to thrive. We were confused and scared out of our wits. And, it is through this journey that I found Raquel Blech and Maria Curez. Maria cured my daughter. She still spits up but more like 2-3 times a day - which was her original self before the acid reflux journey began. And, she is now, wholey and squarely, a happy spitter.
I also got a new pediatrician - much more knowledgeable on breast feeding. She has helped with many different feed management issues. And, is much more balanced about not focusing on weight gain but on growth curves.
In hindsight - now my daughter is 7 months - I suspect that she did have a moderate case of reflux. And, the wrong natural treatments aggravated it. But because the cause was probably not "excess acidity", as the new pediatrician pointed out, just more likely structural, Zantac was not the right solution. Zantac may in fact have reduced her ability to digest causing her to loose weight. And, Maria Curez and time were the better structural solutions.
Who knows...this may all come back and she may ultimately need Prilosec one day...but I tried many avenues to get at the root cause as opposed to suppress her symptoms with strong medicines. I know these medicines have helped many, many babies so I don't want to discount them. But I also wanted to share a story where there were other options since acid reflux has become a popular diagnosis. Maybe doctors should tell us to try these first before putting our little ones on these meds...