What you can be doing to help your child with acid reflux

Monday, June 13, 2016

We've been seeing a number of pediatric patients in our office with acid reflux. They come in, get treated, get better but then have to come in again after a few days because it starts to come back. We've been noticing a trend with something these moms are doing at home that could be making it difficult to maintain the results that we are seeing. What is it that they are doing? It's the way they are changing diapers.

The most common way we are changing diapers is lifting baby up by their legs. In doing so, a lot of pressure is put on baby's spine where it is being pivoted. Usually that point is somewhere in the low back. The nerves from this area come out to control our gut. Putting all that stress in this area can cause things like constipation and diarrhea. Something we don't want. The other thing that this is doing is pushing all the organs up towards the baby's head. When everything in the belly gets pushed up, it causes the stomach to get pushed up into the diaphragm as well. This is known as a hiatal hernia.

A hiatal hernia is when the stomach goes up into the diaphragm opening more than it should. A number of different things can cause this including everything getting pushed up. That's why acid reflux is common during pregnancy as well. Your esophagus (throat) comes down to connect to your stomach right where the diaphragm sits. The diaphragms acts as a sphincter preventing stomach acid from going up. Your stomach can handle all that acid that is in there to break down food but your esophagus cannot. When the stomach is up higher, the sphincter is essentially moved and this allows acid to go up into your esophagus. Once that happens, the esophagus can't handle that acid and your body will start to try to remove it by pushing everything up.

If the hiatal hernia isn't severe, it is often something that we can see an improvement with after an adjustment. To help keep the stomach where it should be, there's a new way we want you to try to change diapers to prevent this from coming back. Instead of lifting baby up by their legs, roll baby to their side to change their diapers. By doing this, baby's organs are not longer being pushed up and it will help prevent the stomach from getting pushed up into the diaphragm to help prevent acid reflux. We know that it won't be easy but it can surely help!

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