What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux (sometimes called heartburn or GERD) is a common digestive problem where stomach acid backs up into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash of stomach acid irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes pain.
Some people with acid reflux experience chest pain; some develop chronic hoarseness because the acid has irritated the voice box; and some cough constantly for months on end.
What are gas pains?
The intestine produces lots of gas during digestion, which helps to move foods through the bowel efficiently. But too much gas can cause abdominal distention, discomfort, pain, bloating, belching, and flatulence. These symptoms often occur after eating certain foods that you might not tolerate well, or that might irritate or trigger your acid reflux.
What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
If your baby has acid reflux, s/he may show signs of crying while feeding or after eating, arching his/her back, pulling up his/her legs toward the stomach while lying on the back, drawing his/her knees to the chest while lying on the stomach. Also, you may notice frequent burping, vomiting or spitting up food and/or milk.
If your baby cries a lot after eating and seems to stop if he/she is laid on his/her stomach, you might suspect acid reflux. If s/he has these symptoms often during the day, call her pediatrician.
What are common foods blamed for causing acid reflux?
People often blame certain food triggers for their acid reflux symptoms. Commonly cited culprits include caffeine drinks (coffee, tea), chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, fatty foods, and spicy foods.
Several studies have shown that some people whose main symptom is heartburn get relief when they cut down on how much caffeine they drink or when they stop drinking all caffeine beverages. However, there's no good evidence that other foods play a role in causing acid reflux. Some people find certain foods make their heartburn worse, while others do fine with a few bites of food they usually can't eat at all.
Many people blame chocolate for causing heartburn and acid reflux. There's no good evidence that chocolate causes symptoms of acid reflux. If you get heartburn after eating chocolate, it may be because you ate too much of it or ate it at the wrong time. Chocolate contains caffeine, which is a stimulant that can relax the sphincter keeping stomach contents where they belong (in your stomach). It also stimulates acid secretion.
Citrus fruits and juices
Many people blame citrus fruit for triggering their acid reflux symptoms. However, there's no evidence that these drinks cause regurgitation when consumed in moderation. Eating smaller portions may help prevent symptoms when combined with dietary changes to reduce the number of fatty foods eaten in one meal or during the day overall.
And sometimes, people who eat citrus fruits find that they cause heartburn only if the fruit is consumed less than an hour before lying down. That's because it takes about one hour for food to pass through the stomach and enter the small intestine, where acid secretion is less.
Fatty foods may trigger or worsen reflux symptoms in certain people. A high-fat meal increases the amount of time it takes stomach contents to empty into the small intestine. This can prolong acid exposure on the esophagus, which may increase heartburn symptoms. Eating fatty meals also relaxes sphincters at both ends of your digestive tract – including one at the bottom of your food pipe (esophagus). The more relaxed that sphincter is, the easier it is for stomach contents to flow up into the esophagus.
What is the usual treatment for acid reflux and gas?
- Acute Treatment
The usual or common approach to treating acid reflux or heartburn is through lifestyle changes (dietary modifications) and short-term use of medications such as antacids, H2 blockers (such as famotidine [Pepcid] and ranitidine [Zantac]), proton pump inhibitors (PPIs; such as omeprazole [Prilosec], lansoprazole [Prevacid] and pantoprazole [Protonix]).
Acute treatment is used for the relief of symptoms (such as heartburn, acid regurgitation, and nausea) and pain relief. Treatment is usually short-term (2-4 weeks), but many people use these medications daily long-term, which can result in medication overuse headache.
A warning sign that you're taking too much medication is if your symptoms come back soon after your previous dose wore off. In this case, stop taking the meds until you talk with your health care provider about an alternative approach.
In some cases, lifestyle changes alone work to treat the problem, particularly when symptoms are mild or infrequent. Lifestyle modifications include:
- Eating smaller portions at a single meal
- Limiting certain high-fat, high-sugar, and/or spicy foods
- Avoiding food triggers of acid reflux (listed above)
- Eating upright (such as sitting up or leaning forward during meals)
- Losing weight if you're overweight. Being overweight can make GERD worse because the extra weight puts more pressure on your stomach and esophagus, making heartburn and regurgitation more likely to occur. For people who lose 5 or more pounds and still have symptoms, doctors typically recommend medications.
Antacids lower the amount of acid in your stomach and provide quick relief from heartburn caused by acid reflux. People use antacids for longer periods when they have frequent heartburn, acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Antacids that contain calcium carbonates, such as Tums and Rolaids, also work to neutralize stomach acid. Some antacids come in chewable form because it allows the medication to dissolve more quickly. However, other medications don't need to be chewed – you can let them dissolve or take them with a small sip of water. (Calcium carbonate, Bismuth subsalicylate, Aluminum hydroxide, Magnesium hydroxide).
How to choose the best formula for your baby?
When your breast milk is not enough or you want to mix it with formula feeding, then a question about the most suitable formula for your baby will appear. The best way is to find a solution that fits both you and your baby.
There are many types of formulas available in the market, but it does not mean all options are suitable for your child. In addition, there are special formulas for infants with allergies or mothers who do not produce enough milk. Therefore, when buying formula, consider which type suits you and your baby's needs the most. For example, the type of formula produced will be different, by cow's milk or soy.
Compare to a formula based on cow's milk, formulas based on soy do not contain lactose and are better for infants with milk allergies or tummy upset after drinking milk. However, there is a concern about the digestibility of Formula Soya compared to that of breast milk or cow's milk-based formula. It may also be difficult to meet your baby's iron needs if using a soy-based formula alone.
The best formula for acid reflux and gas
In addition to choosing the best formula for your baby, you must consider how long it can serve as a food supplement until the age when your child reaches full-term eating habits. Most manufacturers offer formulas for infants or children up to 2 years old, but others are suitable until your child reaches the age of 3. If you want to buy formula for an older child, check with your doctor first.
A good formula for a baby with acid reflux should:
Easier to digest: Milk protein is very difficult for infants to digest, and it can cause colic and acid reflux. It is not recommended that you give your baby cow's milk before their first birthday because of the high lactose content.
Have DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid): Found in fish oil, DHA improves brain development helps make brain cells more conductive. For babies who drink formula, adding DHA will promote mental development as well as visual acuity. The best source of DHA for babies is from breast milk or supplements such as those found in infant formula. After age 1, switch to whole-fat dairy products and offer seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week.
Have prebiotic supplements: Look for infant formulas containing the ingredient Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). These are short chains of natural sugars that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in a baby's digestive tract, which helps prevent illnesses such as diarrhea and eczema.
- Contain Omega 3 fatty acids
- Have a high caloric density
Also, you should avoid formulas with:
Iron- The risk of iron overload is greater in infants. However, anemia must be treated with iron supplements or injectable iron if your baby needs it.
Sodium bicarbonate- Sodium Bicarbonate may cause diarrhea and interfere with the absorption of other nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus. It should not be used as a replacement for antacids such as Mylanta and Tums, which contain aluminum hydroxide and calcium carbonate to neutralize stomach acid.
The best formulas for babies with colic
This is the normal age when babies begin to show signs that they are feeling hungry, such as crying and fussing. To help calm your baby and give them a sense of security:
- Hold the baby in your arms
- Speak softly and quietly
- Rock or walk with the baby in an attempt to comfort them
At this stage, you may also try feeding the infant again after he has calmed down. If this does not work, it is time to consult a pediatrician.
A good formula for a baby with colic should:
- Be enriched with 30% lactose: Lactose is the sugar found in breast milk and formula. It works as a mild laxative, which can help ease colic symptoms.
- Have an easy-to-digest fat source: Infants with colic often have digestive problems that affect the absorption of dietary fats and can cause painful stomach cramps and bowel gas. Using medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) as the sole fat source helps reduce these issues because it produces fewer gastric effects than long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA). MCT also absorbs easily into the baby's intestinal tract without breaking down, so it does not require bile salts for digestion as LCPUFA does.
- Contain short-chain polypeptides: This helps to reduce the symptoms of colic and fussiness.
- Contain lactic acid: This is a beneficial bacteria that inhibit the growth of pathogenic organisms in the gut, which helps to relieve irritable bowel syndrome. Lactic acid also breaks down proteins into amino acids for easy digestion, which makes it easier to digest complex proteins found in formula.
- Be soy free or hypoallergenic
Best formulas for infants with allergies
An infant who has an allergy to cow's milk protein is usually allergic to all mammalian kinds of milk. However, sensitive infants may be able to use special infant formulas that are extensively hydrolyzed proteins (EHF) or amino acid-based formulas (AAF).
These are hypoallergenic and easier for the baby's body to digest because they have been processed in a way that breaks down most of their protein into individual amino acids instead of shorter chains of molecules still found in regular milk.
These can be used in addition to breastfeeding until your baby is at least six months old, but you should check with your pediatrician first before switching over.
A good formula for a baby with allergies should:
- Contain MCT as the main fat source: It helps reduce gastric effects and does not require bile salts for digestion.
- Contain Prebiotics: This helps to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibit the production of pathogenic organisms in the gut.
- Not contain lactose or soy
TOP-5 brands of nice baby formula
Here is a list of some popular brands of infant formulas:
- Similac Advance Infant Formula with Iron
- Enfamil ProSobee Infant Formula
- Gerber Good Start Gentle Powder Infant Formula
- Baby's Only Organic Dairy Based Toddler Drinkable Formula
- Earth's Best Organic Soy Non-GMO Toddler Formula
In conclusion, whether you are looking for a formula to help with colic or allergies, there is one out there that will work best for your precious little one! Be sure to consult with your pediatrician about any concerns you have about what type of formula is best for your baby.
If you feel as if the doctor has failed to give you sufficient advice, do some research on your own to find the best formula for your baby because there are plenty available.