An article written by Rebecca D. Williams in an FDA Consumer Magazine simply states, “When it comes to nutrition, the best first food for babies is breast milk.” The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous and include :
- Promotes digestion
- Fights infection
- Perfect temperature.
Additional studies show that another benefit of breastfeeding is that it helps infants with reflux. An article written by Laura Barmby in New Beginnings magazine states, “Breastfed babies seem to cope better with GER than artificially fed babies. During breastfeeding the motion of the baby’s tongue triggers peristaltic waves along the gastrointestinal tract (Lawrence 1994). These muscular contractions help to move the food down into the stomach and on to the small intestine. Human milk digests more completely and almost twice as fast as formula. The less time the milk spends in the stomach, the less opportunity there is for it to back up into the esophagus. In addition, breastfed babies are generally fed in a more upright position than artificially fed babies, and gravity may help to keep the milk and gastric acid in the stomach where they belong.” If your infant has reflux, then you might want to try breastfeeding to see if it helps. However, if you are unable to breastfeed or simply choose not to, then there are several formulas on the market that work great for infants with reflux.
Over Supply & Overactive Letdown: The Battle against Oversupply (always get help!!)
HellBennt writes: Do not let ANYone tell you you must stop breast feeding!! Research all you can! Unfortunately, you’re not the first mama to go through this 🙁 Don’t ‘just ‘ listen to me or anyone else for that matter! Knowledge is power!!! READ! Learn from the MANY who have been through this before you! Hang in there, mama! You CAN do this! Personally, I would not quit breastfeeding & change to formula without FIRST learning *how* to make your milk be like a special formula. Many mamas quit breastfeeding & take forever to *find* the right formula (formula roulette), when it might have just taken two (2) weeks on the (Dr. Sears) Total Elimination Diet (TED) to learn what exactly it is (or isn’t) that you’re eating, that affects your baby. I did the TED & found I could not eat some “odd’ foods: eggplant, tuna & some not so odd: tomato & citrus. For my baby, it was not a milk or soy (mspi) issue. I am so glad I did the TED, figured it out & also found MEDS at the proper dosing & the proper form. You can do this! 🙂
The first thing you might want to know is: What is an Intolerance? What is an allergy?
This is the BEST Explanation about food intolerances vs. allergies (after you click this, wait one second for the site to bring you to exactly the correct place on the page; if it does NOT, scroll to Post #11630). Perhaps you’re curious about How Elemental Formulas (Neocate & Elecare) Work; After you read this, please make sure to scroll down to read the second part; this is a forum thread (string of posts) regarding common misconceptions about how these elemental formulas work. While you’re in the forum, feel free to surf, and search, around!
Do I really HAVE to do the TED? (Total Elimination Diet)
No, of course not! How are your baby’s poops? Normal? Then sit back and decide later! Are they frequent, watery and green? Green & foamy, like shaving cream? Then look into Overactive Let Down also known as hyerplactation and fore/hind milk imbalance. Do they look like jelly? Cottage Cheese? Stringy, like the inside of a banana peel? Slimey? They do? Well, it’s up to you but you might want to consider some sort of alteration to your diet….You can cut out proteins, one by one, starting with milk and/or soy, or, you can go for it and do the TED.
Breast Aversion/Baby not Interested in Feeding
What if your baby is refusing to eat/is difficult to feed? Make sure her/his pain is addressed by proper medication: dose, form, and administration. Is it ‘mechanically’ difficult for your baby to eat? Have your baby checked for a tongue tie and a lip tie, as this can affect eating. You can also get your baby’s mechanics of sucking/swallowing checked out by a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who can conduct a Swallow Study, which also checks for aspiration. Something else to consider is Delayed Gastric Emptying (DGE), also known as gastroparesis. This is when the stomach doesn’t empty as it should, so your baby may be feeling full when it’s time to eat. There is a test for this called a Gastric Emptying Scan. If you are desperate, ask your doctor about Sulcralfate (Carafate): it helps protect and coat the lining of the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine by shielding their exposure to stomach acid, so that healing can occur.
Yay or Nay? Your doctor might tell you to thicken your baby’s bottles. This is up to you. This advice is controversial; it tends be ‘old-fashioned’ and would make me wonder what other old-fashioned notions your doctor subscribes to… Research! You decide! Some parents, and doctors, swear by it. The theory is that by making the formula ‘heavier,’ then it has more of a chance to stay down. But what if your baby has silent reflux? Good question! But what about the fact that your baby already has an overly sensitive digestive system? Good question! What if your baby needs the extra calories because s/he keeps spitting everything up and can’t gain weight? Well, your doctor would be working with you, and perhaps a nutritionist, to fortify the formula (if you’re formula feeding) with extra calories, with a prescribed ratio for extra formula/water. As for breastfed babies: you can’t thicken with cereal. The enzyme, amylase, in breastmilk breaks down the cereal (it digests carbohydrates). What about thickening because your baby is aspirating as s/he feeds? There’s a test for this called a Swallow Study. After the test, the SLP (Speech Language Pathologist, which sounds odd since infants don’t produce speech, however it’s the mechanics of the suck/swallow that SLPs address in infants) will work with you and your doctor and prescribe a very particular thickness/consistency that have a particular name, for example: ‘nectar.’ If your baby is choking, gulping and gagging, and you’ve ruled out Over Active Letdown, a SLP can check for dysphagia. What if my baby won’t eat and so it’s been suggested to thicken it my milk? Have you checked for tongue and/or lip-tie?
For More, Review the Breastfeeding Resources Page 🙂
NOTE: The information on this page is not exhaustive and complete accuracy is not guaranteed. Please consult your doctor with any questions you may have regarding the treatment of your child.