This year the National Infant Gastric Reflux Awareness Week has been renamed to include Children – National Infant and Child Gastric Reflux Awareness Week
Gastric Reflux in Infants is common and normal due to immaturity of the sphincter at the top of the stomach. The baby may be a bit unsettled and may have periods of crying. Crying in a normal infant with Gastric Reflux will usually peak in the second month and settle around three to four months. They may have short bouts of painful crying associated with a spill, but this crying is not prolonged. Spilling may also disturb sleep. Gastric Reflux does not need to be treated with conventional medication.
Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) is relatively rare and occurs when Gastric Reflux causes some sort of complication usually including pain. The predominant symptom may be a high-pitched pained scream although this is not always the case. Some babies may have feeding difficulties, not grow well or have problems with sleep. GORD can be managed in a variety of ways including diet, upright positioning, parenting techniques and as a last resort medications. Not all cases of GORD will need medical treatment.
The bottom line is you need to take your baby to a doctor for a proper diagnosis if you think they may have gastric reflux and it is a problem.
The Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust acknowledges the impact that coping with Gastric Reflux can have on families and hopes that by promoting Awareness that although Gastric Reflux is common, it is normal to feel overwhelmed when faced by all that Infant Gastric Reflux includes. Please don’t feel that you are alone because you aren’t. There are many other parents who understand.
Most Infants outgrow Gastric Reflux as their digestive system matures, but a few continue to suffer from this invisible disability into childhood. As they get older a preschooler may develop problems with their behaviour, appear tense or be overenergetic and can’t concentrate, or have difficulty expressing their feelings. School-aged children with gastric reflux are often very self-conscious about being different from other children and want to be normal. They may try to put up with their symptoms and won’t ask for help until the very last moment. They usually do not use their condition to seek attention.
On www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz there is more information on Gastric Reflux, National Infant and Child Gastric Reflux Awareness Week Posters can be ordered and the Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ (GRSNNZ) can be joined free of charge for access to our Newsletters and Private Local and National Support Networks. This gives opportunities to discuss gastric reflux related issues with others in a safe and confidential setting.
In addition to Crying Over Spilt Milk (www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz), this year GRSNNZ launched a new website Spilt Milk (https://www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/yes/) recognising that many parents are coping with infants who spill and/or are irritable, but do not meet the criteria for gastric reflux.