So if you’re a reflux parent you know how few people understand what you’re going through. And that includes medical professionals – not just your relatives and friends. That’s why RISA exists, right?
While the prevalence of GORD in the general infant population runs somewhere between ten and 20 percent(1), the incidence among premature infants is significantly higher ‐ recent studies suggest around 90%!(2) Perhaps unsurprisingly, the incidence among the general infant population is not dissimilar to the incidence among the general adult population.
Frighteningly, the risk factors for Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) are the same as the symptoms for reflux bubs(3). Risk factors for post‐natal depression (PND) include symptoms experienced by GORD babies & their families.(4)
At the same time, we all know that too many parents going to visit their GP or paediatrician are met with distain and dismissal ‐ many thinking that GORD isn’t real, that “all babies cry” and telling parents to just put up with it. When in reality we know that the babies are in constant pain ‐ the only reason for their screaming, spewing and feeding issues.
So we think it’s time to set about increasing awareness. RISA has recently formed an Advocacy Sub‐Committee and we’re starting by writing to federal and state Health Ministers to try and seek funding to support the work RISA Inc does.
It seems logical that government could deal with a number of issues at the same time by increasing awareness of GORD in babies and children with new mothers and the medical community. It makes financial sense, medical sense and save a lot of parents’ sanity.
Here are some of the things we would like to do:
- Write to pharmaceutical companies who make reflux meds to encourage them to fund RISA projects to raise awareness among hospitals and the medical profession
- Create a small brochure for parents of premmie babies (or all babies) that could be distributed through neo‐natal wards, special care nurseries and baby health care centres
- Make contact with other organisations who may be dealing with parents of reflux kids like Beyond Blue or AustPrem
- Make an argument to government for screening of infants for GORD during post‐natal checks. (Mothers are screened for PND, babies are screened for hearing etc).
And this is just the tip of the iceberg… If you agree with any of this or think you could contribute to our efforts to making this better, please email the Advocacy Sub-Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on board. Even the smallest contribution would be welcome!
1. Vartabedian, B., Colic Solved: The Essential Guide to Infant Reflux and the care of your crying, difficult‐to‐soothe baby; Ballantine Books, 2007, pg 3
2. Whitney, H., Reducing Gastroesophageal Reflux in Preterm Infants, Advances in Neonatal Care, 2010, 10:3 157
3. Barr R. Curves of early infant crying and SBS incidence, 2002. Paper presented at: Fourth National Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome; Sept 12-15, Salt Lake City, Utah & Ludwig S, Warman M. Shaken baby syndrome: A review of 20 cases. Ann Emerg Med 1984;13:104-107
4. National Health and Medical Research Council Information Paper on Postnatal Depression endorsed by NHMRC at its 136th session, Canberra, 31 July 2000