By Dr. Janet Levatin
The Journal of Pediatrics recently published a commentary, “Over-Prescription of Acid-Suppressing Medications in Infants: How It Came About, Why It’s Wrong, and What to Do About It,” authored by Dr. Eric Hassall, a gastroenterologist who is licensed in both California and British Columbia.
Dr. Hassell suggests some factors likely responsible for this dramatic increase in the use of these drugs. First is the medicalization of a normal phenomenon: babies are often fussy, or “colicky,” for reasons that are really not well understood by us adults. Turning these symptoms into a “disease” that can be treated with a drug allows doctors and parents to feel like they are doing something to help. It also helps Big Pharma rake in BILLIONS of dollars in sales….
This brings up another likely reason for the increase in over-treatment of fussiness and GI symptoms in infants: Pharma’s direct advertising of drugs to the public. Consumers go to their doctors demanding the latest and greatest pill (or in this case liquid) for whatever ails them… or their kids. Unfortunately, most doctors are willing participants in these dynamics, handing out prescriptions with little detectable regard for the probable downside of over-drugging babies. In the case of proton pump inhibitors for reflux, side effects may include rebound symptoms of worse reflux when the drug is stopped. Lowering stomach acid interferes with gut flora, the absorption of B-vitamins, the digestion of protein, and more.
To his credit, Dr. Hassall mentions a few non-pharmaceutical, tried-and-true solutions for reflux and colic, such as properly positioning the infant, altering feeding schedules, and deleting allergens from the diets of breastfeeding mothers. It is refreshing to discover an MD who promotes simple, old-fashioned measures and less, not more, drug use!
There are a few more factors contributing to fussiness and gastric distress in infants than are mentioned in the article. I always want to point out the negative effects of the hepatitis B vaccine that has been routinely given to one-day-old infants in the US since 1991. This vaccine can have very negative effects on the GI tract of infants, and undoubtedly contributes to colic and reflux. In her book “When Your Doctor is Wrong: Hepatitis B Vaccine & Autism,” Judy Converse describes the terrible effects this vaccine had on her infant’s GI tract and development.
Our highly processed conventional food supply undoubtedly contains more genetically modified foods than we are aware of. Most diets also contain highly inflammatory non-fermented soy, food additives, processed carbohydrates, and chemicals. These changes in the food supply no doubt also contribute to colic and reflux in babies.
Here are some suggestions for parents who have fussy babies. We would be happy to help get your infant on the right track with any of the following therapies or care plans:
- All breastfeeding mothers should eat a wholesome diet of freshly-prepared whole foods, avoiding packaged, processed, and allergen-containing foods. At TIMC we can advise you on appropriate nutrition.
- TIMC has treated infants as young as six weeks old who had serious reflux and other problems, using our gentle, effective proprietary Sensitivity Reduction Technique (SRT), a method for reducing reactions to foods and irritants in the environment.
- Homeopathy is another gentle, non-toxic, easily-administered therapy that is often helpful for infants with colic and reflux symptoms. An individualized homeopathic medicine can be prescribed for your baby.
- Chiropractic and/or craniosacral treatments can also help alleviate colic and reflux symptoms by helping to optimize body alignment and promote healthy circulation throughout the body.
- All vaccines must be avoided in infancy, as the toxic ingredients they contain are very likely to irritate your baby’s nervous system and digestive system.