Posted By Posting
Oct 28, 2011
Possible reflux - is there anyway to treat it without medication?
My 3 month old boy has been getting progressively worse when it comes to feeding and sleeping. We have got a referral to see a paediatrician in 2 weeks time. In the mean time are there any other ways to treat reflux which don't involve medication? (which will keep me sane) I have read some disturbing articles on the possible side effects of zantac on babies and would like to avoid it if possible. Symptoms - feeding for 4 mins then pulling off, arching his back, becoming stiff and screaming. Constant vomiting after feeds and sometimes an hour after a feed. Poor sleeping - approx 30-40mins max at a time during the day and 2-3 hours at night. I also read in a previous blog that someone was talking about swallowing issues and wind. Well my son doesn't latch well and constantly takes in air, i was told he has a high palate and nothing can be done to change his feeding style..... does anyone have experience with this?? Thanks
Oct 30, 2011
Lorenzo b.4/25/07 1 week in NICU w/ aspirate pneumonia from a reflux episode; diagnosed GERD at 9weeks; Used Zantac for 5months. Currently using Chinese Medicine and Craniosacral Therapy. GERD, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder. Ask me about breastfeeding a refluxer! Pic: day 5 in the NICU.
That's a tough question. The things that must always be considered are not only the potential side effects of medication, but the potential ramifications of not using medication -- like chronic pain (which can lead to other issues down the road) and esophageal damage, which can lead to very serious issues, including esophageal cancer, later in life.

When my son was first diagnosed with GERD, I was dedicated to finding an alternative to medication. We started using Chinese Medicine, but he was still in so much pain and I was so concerned about potential long term damage that I opted to use pharmaceutical medication in addition. I do believe that the Chinese Medicine worked (and continues to do so), in that we were able to wean him off meds at about 9 months; however, he was still refluxing and had, by that time, developed sleep apnea. We added Cranio-Sacral Therapy to the alternative approaches, and while he has never been back on medication the reflux has never gone away completely. I believe that the Chinese Medicine and Cranio-Sacral Therapy are largely responsible for the improvement of the acidity situation for him. (We eventually had a pH Impedance Probe done, when he was 3, to confirm that he was not a candidate for surgery or Reglan -- since he was still refluxing, it was impossible to know for sure if there was enough acidic reflux to cause significant damage. What we discovered is that most of his reflux is not acidic, however, due to some other issues he has, even the non-acidic reflux causes some troubles -- just not long term physical damage to his esophagus.)

I guess the short answer I have to your question is, it totally depends on your particular child's situation, but I would never discount using medication without balancing the lack of it against the potential for greater harm in the long run. As with so many aspects of parenting, there is just no easy answer...

Have you already explored the possibility of food allergy/intolerance, at least as a contributing factor to the reflux?

Nov 06, 2011
PAGER Volunteer Services Coordinator
Melina 7/24/02 now reflux free!!
Ella 5/3/05 GERD, asthma, hypotonia, food intolerances, esophagitis, IBS //
Ava 5/3/05 asthma, food allergies
Pic: My girls! They are getting so big!
I would think about whether there are dietary trigger contributing. There are elimination diets that can help determine this while you are breastfeeding. It can also be helpful to include some probiotics, with your doctor's permission. We had good success with BioGia liquid drops for our reflux babies. I have a friend who recently said that a chiropractor helped her child.

I can also say that my oldest was on zantac for three years and is now off all meds. She is 9. We never saw any side effects from the long term use. My youngest has even worse reflux and required prevacid. They do keep an eye on her labd (like liver function and electrolytes) just to be safe but we have not had any issues. Again, it is an issue of which is worse... the medication or the damage from untreated GERD. Remember that untreated GERD can cause huge issues and pain...

If you do need medicines I would keep the conversation going with the doctor. Frequently update them and wean your child as soon as the medication is no longer needed.
Check with your
doctor first!