When my baby girl, Aria, was about 4 weeks old, she suddenly had a night of non-stop crying. Usually, she is an easygoing baby – not too fussy, and easily comforted (as long as she’s held). But this night, she cried and cried as if in terrible pain, arching back her head and arms and extending her legs. She felt completely rigid and stiff, and her tummy was hard. We kept burping her…she would burp, then promptly go back to crying again. At first I thought it was just a bad case of gas…so I gave her Mylicon, then gripe water, then Colic Calm. But nothing worked, and my heart and nerves were getting increasingly wrung out with her constant crying. After a frantic (and tearful) call to the emergency room advice nurse, we were told to bring her in immediately, as it could be infant reflux.
Ironically, as we started to pack up and go, the baby fell into a deep, exhausted sleep. So we decided not to go in after all (the ER had no pediatrician anyway, so it would have just been an exercise in banging our heads against the wall). We instead made an urgent care appointment, where we learned that our baby had reflux. I went home and did massive research on the Internet, and discovered that reflux is only a problem if it causes the baby pain – most babies do have reflux because of their incompletely developed nervous systems, which helps close the sphincter that separates their esophagus from their stomachs. This is why babies “spit up” all the time.
If they spit up without pain, then they’re just considered happy spitters. If they are symptomatic – i.e., in pain, like Aria was – then that is when it becomes a problem. Our doctor prescribed Ranitidine, or “Zantac for babies.” I went to the pharmacy with a heavy heart – me, a Mom with a certification in Aromatherapy and a Master Herbalist diploma, a big believer in natural remedies, was about to give my baby a prescription drug. I’ll never forget how helpless I felt that day, or how inadequate I felt that night as I put the grape-flavored Zantac in a syringe and shoved it in between Aria’s cheek and gum, and then watched as she screwed up her little face and puckered her lips, as if she had bitten into a lemon.
I decided to get her off Zantac ASAP, so I started doing even more research on the Internet. And I found…HOMEOPATHY! And it worked amazingly well…within a week, I had taken her off Zantac completely, and she has been off ever since and is now just a “happy spitter” (she is now almost 16 weeks old). What did I do? I’ll tell you in my next post.