Pain associated with untreated acid reflux can cause babies to display long periods of inconsolable crying, wakefulness leading to sleep deprivation, and distressed and avoidant feeding behaviour resulting in poor growth.
One of the lesser known (and obviously less frequent) consequences of severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is the need to tube feed some children. Babies can learn very quickly that the act of feeding hurts and as a result will refuse to feed. Despite the notion that feeding should be instinctual, there are some instincts that take precedence, like preserving oxygen flow or avoiding pain.
Sensory processing difficulties appear to be common for children with reflux. Approximately 51% of children with reflux also present with a major feeding difficulty such as food refusal, food selectivity, dysphagia or poor oral motor skills. It is interesting to note that 93% of feeding difficulties are found to result from a combination of organic causes (such as reflux) and secondary behavioural characteristics (such as avoiding meal times).
This book is simply awesome. Get it and read it. Its available from the RISA library but I thoroughly recommend buying it.
In fact, if you’re a reflux parent, I’d be keeping a copy of this, Reflux Reality and Colic Solved on the shelf. And use the regular baby books to prop up the cot!
Read on for information about alternative treatments to reflux medications, appetite stimulation and long term use of laxatives.
This book is written by Dr Joel Macht, an educational psychologist from the US, and documents what he has experienced over several years working with 200 children with eating problems. Dr Macht talks about creating an individual plan for each child, and acknowledges that what worked for one family may not work for another as each child is different and must be approached individually.
Managing a feed refuser can be a tough assignment and quite exhausting work. And everyone has their bit of advice to give. Its made that bit more tricky with kids who are also allergic or intolerant to a variety of foods so please take all of these hints and tips with a grain of salt and consult your doctors / dieticians and other medical professionals with regard to new foods that might be an issue for your child. Please also take into consideration the developmental milestones of your child.
For some reason there seems to be a tendency toward salty foods for some reflux kids. Salty foods also have the added bonus of making them thirstier for liquids (preferably with some calories in them). This could be because of an electrolyte imbalance because of a loss of bile, but for some reason, some of the following salty foods seem to work when others don’t: