Always follow the SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping recommendations for positioning your infant for sleep. These suggestions are to help them sleep safely and reduce the risk of sudden infant death.
Tummy time is important for all infants as it contributes to their motor development and reduces the risk of infants developing flat spots on their head. Tummy time should be started soon after birth; schedule as many tummy time sessions as possible each day, before feeds and while your infant is awake and alert.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux is so common it can be seen as ‘normal’, or even trivial, and people often do not understand how difficult life can be for many families, or understand the impact reflux can have on their lives! They may think of it erroneously as ‘just a bit of vomiting’, or ‘just a behavioural issue’. They don’t see that it can impact on the child and family in many ways. Not only can reflux affect a child’s eating, sleeping, growth, behaviour or quality of life, it can also affect relationships between partners and other children, the family’s quality of life, their finances and even their leisure time. The truth is, only families who have experienced it firsthand really understand.
Many people are not aware that a Speech Pathologist may be able to help when their baby or toddler is difficult to feed, having difficulties chewing, food refusing or is a fussy eater. Often babies or toddlers with reflux will have difficulties related to eating. Very early on, babies with reflux associate eating with pain and discomfort and begin to fuss or even completely refuse feeds.
While many children seem to improve throughout their first twelve to eighteen months, others continue to suffer from reflux beyond that, and there is increasing recognition that Gastro-oesophageal reflux can be an issue for older children and teenagers.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about the difference between Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GOR, reflux) and Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux DISEASE (GORD). Many people don’t realise there is a difference, that reflux can be anything more than a ‘happy spitter’, or that it can present in so many different ways.
There are many myths surrounding infant reflux and silent reflux. We try to debunk a few here…
Parents should always seek medical advice if they are worried in any way about their infant, or themselves. In relation to gastro-oesophageal reflux, parents should especially seek medical advice if:
The word reflux means to flow back or return; ‘gastro’ is a term related to the stomach; and ‘oesophageal’ relates to the oesophagus (food pipe). Following this, the term ‘gastro-oesophageal reflux’ is where stomach contents (comprising food and stomach acid) flow back into the oesophagus.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux can range in severity from being an occasional nuisance, to being severe and debilitating; it can also improve or worsen for a variety of reasons, with a child having good or bad days or weeks.