How to Recognize Acid Reflux in Your Child
One of the most important steps toward treating your child’s condition is first identifying it. Unlike adults, children have a much more difficult time identifying the origins of health concerns, so your child probably won’t be able to help you much. However, you can look for some characteristic signs or symptoms of the condition to help you determine if your child has reflux.
Some of the most common symptoms of acid reflux in children include vomiting, heartburn, stomach upset, weight loss and breathing difficulties. Additionally, kids with reflux often exhibit patterns of wheezing, recurrent pneumonia, and unexplained sore throats. Babies with reflex often spit up more than usual and may seem fussy or even colicky.
Common Causes of Acid Reflux in Kids
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse explains that most children experience reflux because of an immature or poorly coordinated gastrointestinal tract. Because of this lack of development, many children are able to outgrow the condition following key stages of development. Nevertheless, sometimes other contributing factors are at fault. Additional factors that contribute to childhood acid reflux include overeating, eating spicy foods, drinking caffeine, obesity, and certain medications.
The Safest, Most Effective Natural Cures for Acid Reflux in Children
Seeking professional medical care is an important first step for treatment as a doctor can help you determine the severity of your child’s condition and offer some suggestions for an effective route of care. However, in addition to doctor prescribed treatment, you may want to consider natural options. Many times children respond well to home remedies such as apple cider vinegar, dietary changes, coconut oil, and even peppermint or lemon.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
One factor that contributes to acid reflux is acid – obviously. So, controlling the acid in your child’s body is an effective way to mediate reflux. Apple cider vinegar helps to alkalinize your child’s body and can reduce symptoms of the condition. Try preparing a drink for your child that contains ¼ to ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 6 ounces of water. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of organic honey for added flavor and nutritional benefits.
2. Dietary Changes
Dietary habits may be another contributing factor to acid reflux. Consider changing your child’s eating pattern to 5 to 6 small meals a day rather than 3 larger ones. Also, remind your child how important it is to carefully chew so that his or her body has enough time to produce the saliva needed to appropriately digest food. Specific dietary changes you may also want to consider include eliminating certain “trigger” foods such as dairy products, gluten, or wheat. Eliminating certain foods from the mother’s diet is also an effective remedy for treating reflux in breastfeeding babies.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an effective anti-inflammatory, so it naturally calms inflammation from reflux. It also helps lubricate the digestive system so it functions more effectively. Try adding 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to a warm drink or simply swab your baby’s mouth with the oil 3 to 4 times a day.
4. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil has specific soothing properties that calm the digestive system and ease the symptoms of acid reflux. The oil also helps with inflammation and promotes better digestion. Try giving your child 2 to 3 drops of peppermint oil diluted in water or oil. Alternatively, you can find peppermint oil capsules at many natural health food stores.
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Source: Earth Clinic
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