Acid reflux in babies is a problem I hear about really frequently in my work day. Many babies I see have been diagnosed with reflux and are on drugs to help settle the acid in their stomach. Looking into the research regarding reflux in babies though there really is little evidence to support the percentage of babies I see who are having trouble with "reflux".
If I look at the various different presentations for acid reflux in babies some of them don't include actual vommiting - so called silent reflux - and I'm sure this can be really confusing for new parents.
Now all these things make sense for a baby who is suffering from pain of acidic stomach juices coming back up the food pipe, BUT, and this is a big but, they also make sense for a condition that is a little less talked about.
The term lactose overload sometimes makes mothers think that their baby muct be allergic or intolerant to dairy and that they must have to go off dairy to have any impact on their baby's pain. This is not the case.
A baby with lactose overload in fact is having trouble with a hind milk/fore milk imbalance. What I mean by this is that they are getting lots of sweet fore milk and not enough fatty hind milk to balance it. This causes wind and bloating in the bowel, making them very uncomfortable and unsettled.
Often but not always, their mothers have a really large milk supply (and fequently a very forceful let down reflex too) which makes it difficult for the baby to feed easily (cause of them pulling off the breast during a feed).
This oversupply sometimes means that the baby is getting more milk than they need and so they posit (a small vomit) the excess milk up after the feed.
They have a lot of gas build up causing pain in the guts which can sometimes lead to excess burping, and in a younger baby's case some more positing - even a long while after a feed.
The gas build up makes them uncomforable when lying down making them arch their back during feeds, and be very unsettled when lying down.
Now the clincher - a baby with lactose overload will have green frothy bowel motions, lots of gas and trouble passing wind (sound like colic anyone?).
So you've got an unsettled baby, who is probably making you very tired from constant carrying and bouncing and not sleeping. What do you do?
First of all, if you think lactose overload might be part of the problem it's important to get that fore milk/hind milk imbalance addressed.
If these steps don't work, it is more likely that you are dealing with reflux as well, go and see your doctor.