Babies get heartburn, too!
How Baby’s GERD Affects a Family
It’s difficult for families to cope with a baby with GERD because of the constant screaming and demands made on the parents. There’s a tremendous fatigue factor as well as an emotional drain as you worry about the future for your infant. Will the crying and vomiting ever stop? Will you ever have time to do anything other than clean up the mess from your baby’s spitting up? Will you ever have any leisure time again?
Fatigue and Frustration: Of course you’re tired … and frustrated. This is not what you expected when you had your baby. Friends and family may offer all kinds of suggestions that make you feel totally incompetent. You sometimes may feel like shaking the baby to get him or her to stop crying, but don’t. NEVER shake your baby! According to experts, the number one reason a baby is shaken is because of constant crying, and almost 25 percent of all babies with shaken baby syndrome die.
If you’re having a hard time coping with the crying, put your baby in a safe place, such as a crib or playpen, and leave the room for a few minutes. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths to get back in control. If that doesn’t work, call a family member or friend to come and relieve you for an hour.
Guilt: The guilt factor also may raise its ugly head, especially with mothers who worry that they may have done something wrong during pregnancy to cause GERD. Could it have been that one glass of wine? The night you made love shortly before going into labor? That last two-mile run before labor began? If you’re worrying you are somehow at fault, chase those thoughts from your mind—nothing you did caused your baby to have GERD.
Resentment: You also may find that the baby’s siblings grow resentful because you never seem to have time for them. What’s more, the darling baby brother or sister you promised them seems to be more of a screaming banshee. They may want nothing to do with the baby and don’t want you to either. What can you do? Don’t keep them in the dark. Explain in age-appropriate terms that when the baby throws up, the stomach acid being regurgitated burns his or her esophagus. It hurts the baby and that’s why the baby is screaming.
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