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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Zantac, Breastfeeding, Reflux

Do we really need Zantac? Things come in spurts and these past few weeks, it seems I've seen an increase in breastfed babies being treated for reflux with pharmaceuticals like Zantac, Axid, and Propulsid.

As far back, as I can remember working in hospital nurseries, babies have always been treated with Zantac. Zantac and head elevation has been the first line of treatment for reflux and regurgitation in young babies. It's just that now it seems like more mothers are questioning this treatment. Not until I got involved with breastfeeding did I learn that reflux and vomiting in an otherwise thriving breastfed baby can often be corrected with simple changes in hold, positions, and patterns of breastfeeding. If the baby is getting formula supplements, eliminating the formula is the first thing to do. NEVER was that mentioned in my earlier nursery days. But other things to consider are oversupply and fast let-down (more common than you would think) and sensitivities to something in the mother's diet. Zantac and these other medications just cover the problem! They do not resolve the underlying issue.

I've had breastfeeding moms come to me in various stages of "awareness." Those that know the prescription doesn't work and want other options. And moms convinced that the baby has serious medical problems and it is almost a challenge to reassure them that simple breastfeeding techniques can control the problem.

I imagine many babies on diets of formula unfortunately may need Zantac when breastmilk isn't an option. There are many babies in a Pediatrician's practice on formula, so the doctor is 'comfortable' with using Zantac. I am not.

Babies loosing weight may have other issues to consider (latch and transfer). But in the thriving breastfed baby, prescription medication should never be the first line of treatment for reflux and regurgitation.


Catalina said...

I need to show this to a friend of mine! Most doctors aren't really looking for a cure ... they just want to pull the plug and disconnect the "low oil" light on the "car" (our bodies). That doesn't treat the problem ... only makes it as if it weren't there for a little while.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! I had a fast letdown and had an abundant supply since I was pumping and nursing. My baby spit up a lot and once I stopped pumping the spit up disappear...I never made the connection until now.


Permission to Mother said...

This post gets the most hits from search engines than any other. PLEASE let me know if it answers your question.


Natalie said...

What are the changes I can implement to reduce reflux in my baby? You mentioned a change in position as well as fast let-down, but you didn't really cover how to adjust. Any advice?

While we're on the subject...what about Mylicon gas drops? Eva is extremely could confuse her with a grown man, but the gas drops do absolutely nothing.


Permission to Mother said...

You are right! Mylicon does nothing but introduce proteins to a newborns intestinal track that should not be there (and lead tyo more damage). The only thing Mylicon has for it, is a history of a good marketing campaign. I never recommend it.

Dr. Jack Newman, my mentor and model in breastfeeding medicine, lists some common solutions in this colic handout:

All his handouts on this site are great and contain solutions to many breastfeeding problems.

Lava said...

I have a 3 week old breastfed baby that cries and wails now right after feeding for a little while.
Like you mentioned the doc immediately prescribed zantac.
I am also very wary about giving it to her.
What alternatives do u suggest i should try ?
I tried the sitting up the baby to feed but that does not seem to help as much.
I have a very bland diet.
Any help will be useful.
So far her weight gain has been normal.

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