Q and A: Grandparent's Concern
My daughter in law is sure their new baby has acid reflux. The doctor even put this little baby on medications and I am just sure it is only gas. What should I say to the parents? They are already annoyed with comments I have made about placing the baby on Zantac and I don't want to make it worse.
We definitely live in a society that wants a quick fix for everything so it can be worrisome when medications are used in such little babies. There are some more natural things that can be tried before medications with the pediatrician's approval. Colic calm is one that many parents swear by. It can help some babies with their pain but it doesn't work for all of them. (Unfortunately It didn't work for any of mine).
Probiotics can also help. They are the "healthy bacteria" in the gut that can get out of whack pretty easily with poor diet, medications or infections. Some doctors are even trying probiotics as a first line of defense against reflux symptoms in infants. We had really good luck with probiotics as an adjunct therapy in addition to medication. Formula changes or elimination diets while breastfeeding are also more natural ways to address the issue as well.
Since the baby has been diagnosed with reflux and placed on zantac then I am
assuming the doctor has done a thorough examination and follow up care. History and physical can be all the doctor needs to see to suspect reflux. If the zantac has helped then it is likely that reflux was the issue. It is often how doctors can identify reflux in infants. If the trial run of zantac improved symptoms than they can assume it was reflux. They do this "trial run" as opposed to testing because it is less invasive and less dangerous than the
testing. Zantac only treats excess acid so it is unlikely to cover up another issue.
Most of the time the issues that can occur from untreated reflux are far greater than the risk that the medication may have. Of course, that being said, all medications have side effects and it is always important to have a "plan" for getting off of the medication as soon as it is not needed. Thankfully zantac is one of the lower level medications for reflux so it is less likely to cause side effects than other medications, like PPIs.
If they are in fact dealing with a reflux baby then they are going to need support. It can be very stressful to see your baby in pain and not be able to help. Some reflux babies also have issues with feeding, sleeping and even breathing. It is definitely not something to mess around with if it is truly what is going on. It may help to ask the parents what you can do to help. If they ask your advice feel free to offer it. Be careful though, no one wants to feel like their parenting is being criticized.