My little guy will not eat, is cranky and spits up all the time. I’ve pulled out all the “mom” tricks out of my bag (and the hair out of my head). I don’t know if it’s colic, reflux or GERD! Here are some definitions of the three, a valuable parent’s checklist and video to help you distinguish between the three:
COLIC: A colicky baby is usually a healthy baby, within a few weeks old, who crying period only lasts typically 3 hours a day. For most babies the period of crying is in the evening and is not caused by a medical problem. The symptoms could be brought on by gas, overfeeding, constipation, diet, food allergy. Generally babies will outgrow colic by 12-16 weeks.
REFLUX: I have found with my experience with my son, that reflux was actually a pretty common thing. It freaked me out as he would go on his projectile “Linda Blair” episodes that could clear 4-6” and were extremely embarrassing in public, and the Pediatrician just looked at me like, “he’ll be fine.” With the little guys they refer to reflux as “spitting up” and for the most part are healthy provided they are gaining weight and seem to be thriving. Reflux is generally painless and can be controlled by diet and OTC medicines.
GERD: GERD aka Gastrophageal reflux disease is a little more of an area of concern. GERD is when your child refluxes but the stomach contents travel back up the esophagus, including the gastric acid (which is needed to digest the food). This can lead to refusal to feed, failure to gain weight, stomach pain, respiratory problems, esophagitis and/or bleeding. Treatment can include OTC medicines, Rx medicines and in extreme cases surgery.
Check out the following Parent’s Checklist for Reflux in Infants 0-12 months old checklist from Gastro Kids, a website that was recommended by my son’s GI Specialist. I have found it to be an extremely useful resource tool.
There is also a video, Infant Reflux and GERD: Distinctions and Management which you might also find useful.
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Video Credit: https://www.gastrokids.org/files/multimedia/pedgerd_v3_final.swf