Acid reflux refers to a condition wherein, there is a backward flow of food and stomach acid into the esophagus ("the passage between the pharynx and the stomach"). This causes irritation and discomfort, especially in toddlers and younger children. When it comes to toddlers, this condition can give parents quite a challenge to deal with. This is due to obvious reasons that toddlers cannot put into words what is bothering them. So this makes it very essential for parents to watch out for the various symptoms that are indicative of acid reflux, and take the required measures in time.
What May Indicate Acid Reflux?
The ideal time for the symptoms to occur happens to be around meal time. However, the flare up may even occur at any given time.
As this condition mainly deals with eating, affected toddlers may begin to dislike their food or eat less than what they would normally. This behavior links to their feeling during or after meal time, which is definitely not a pleasant one. So, poor eating would be the first symptom of acid reflux in babies and toddlers, which parents must notice. Also, if this continues, then it does not take long for the kids to lose weight.
Then comes irritability; one common symptom exhibited by toddlers and children with heartburn or acid reflux. It usually occurs after the child has eaten. If the toddler has been behaving alright before eating but become irritated post meal, then there are enough reasons for parents to worry about.
Nausea and vomiting is again, one of the common indicants of acid reflux. After they have had their meals or post sleeping or playing, affected toddlers may suffer from an upset stomach and this is manifested by nausea and vomiting.
Acid reflux in toddlers could also manifest into a persistent cough which intensifies during bedtime. Development of sore throats and a hoarse voice are also indication of this condition. Due to the reflux, toddlers might experience pain and discomfort in the chest or abdomen. And this would be manifested in the form of sudden and constant crying by the babies.
Other symptoms of this condition may include stuffiness, congestion and wheezing. These symptoms usually occur when acid reflux leads to infections of the ears, lungs or sinuses.
Acid reflux in toddlers, should better be handled by a pediatrician. It has been studied that most toddlers outgrow this condition once they are a year old. Apart from following what the doctor advises for the treatment, parents can take a few measures to make their babies comfortable. Parents must position their kids upright during feeding and few hours after it. Make them burp by placing them on your shoulder and stroking their back gently. Spicy, fatty and acidic foods must be avoided as toddlers are not fully grown to be able to adjust to such foods. For medications, a pediatrician must always be consulted.
Apart from keeping a close watch on any symptoms, and taking appropriate and timely measures for the treatment, it is more important is to take care of the affected child's emotional needs. It is natural for parents to get irritated by the constant crying and screaming of their toddlers, but it is to be remembered that their babies are not doing it for fun; something's troubling them and all they have is their parents to turn to.