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A diagnosis of GER (gastroesophageal reflux), whether technically correct or not, says little about the underlying cause of a baby’s distress, and treatment with GER medications seldom provides notable resolution for such symptoms. Frequently, chronically unhappy babies are reacting to foods in their breastfeeding mother’s diet, or in their diet through formula or solid foods. Strict, selective food avoidance usually brings relief.
Here are some signs that diet could be causing your baby’s problems:
Inconsolable fussing and crying.
If your baby can be easily consoled by picking up or a little rocking, then plenty of snuggling is all baby needs. If it regularly takes heroic jiggling efforts to appease your baby, or baby is simply not consolable, likely something is causing pain. Once the healthcare provider has eliminated more serious possibilities, the most common cause is reactions to diet.
Mixed messages at the nipple.
For babies with food intolerance, nursing can be both comforting and a source of distress (sometimes even recognized by taste at the time).
Bouts of loose, watery, or mucoid stools; bright green streaks; regular appearance of red or black blood; and sometimes constipation are all signals of inflammatory reactions. In the absence of fever, suspect food reaction.
Slow weight gain.
Inadequate nursing, frequent diarrhea, and poor nutrient absorption across inflamed tissues can impede weight gain or even cause weight loss.
Rashes on the face, in the diaper area, or elsewhere.
One study found that 52 out of 52 children with eczema revealed intestinal inflammation even when diarrhea was not present. Biopsies show that intact proteins are being absorbed across the intestinal wall (a risk for immune reactions) at a rate 10 times higher than in normal children.
Red anal ring.
A bright red ring around the anus may signal inflamed tissues on the inside.
Sleeplessness, waking with screams.
It’s difficult to sleep with a burning, gnawing gut or sharp gas pains.
Sure, a little gas is normal, but if baby is frequently, uncomfortably gassy, abnormal food reactions may be the source of the problem.
Frequent vomiting or spitting up.
Vomiting, spitting up, and reflux often occur when the body’s reaction to foods begins in the throat or stomach.
If your baby has one or more of these signs, be aware that food allergy or intolerance is likely the cause of baby’s distress. Eliminating problematic foods is very important in restoring health and harmony.
For the older child, be aware that signs of food intolerance can include ear infections, chronically stuffy nose, asthma, uncontrollable mood swings, tantrums, hyperactivity, malaise, ADHD, and bedwetting.
Finally, having your child’s spine checked by a doctor of chiropractic may reveal nerve system stress affecting digestion or immune tolerance.
View article references and author information here: www.pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html
01 June 2008