Taste of Tuesday | Eating for Acid Reflux

No two kids are the same. You hear that over and over again, but like most "sayings", you don't know how accurate they are until you live it.  Wake and Lottie are no exception to the rule; they are such different babies. Wake was a starving child who ate grazed like a cow every 3 hours, 24 hours a day, until he was 7 months old.  Lottie on the other hand is an amazing eater but struggles to keep everything down because of her acid reflux.

Acid Reflux is 

"a chronic disease that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows into the food pipe and irritates the lining. Symptoms include burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and worsens when lying down."

Acid reflux sucks, but it's quite horrific when you're an infant because you're not eating solids, so the liquid just sloshes up and down your esophagus, and it gets worse when lying down...which is ALL THE DAMN TIME.  Before having Lottie I'd heard a million people say that their child had acid reflux, but until you watch your own child battle it, you have no idea just how terrible it can be.  

This has been a very frustrating two months for me.  Our daughter didn't smile for the first 2-4 week of her life because she was always in pain. She didn't sleep. She was always fussy. No one had answers.  I took her to the pediatrician (a person who is supposed to have the knowledge to fix this sort of stuff) and all they could tell me was that this was very common in infants and 1) try this crazy, stinky, expensive formula and 2) dose her with Zantac twice a day.  Lottie proceeded to projectile vomit that terrible formula across the room like a javelin and 4 weeks later I'm still not sure the Zantac is working as well as it should.  
Lottie at 2 weeks old. If she wasn't crying she looked like this; serious, not smiling, brooding...

So what do you do when your child is miserable and the doctors aren't helpful?  You research.  You ask. You share.  It wasn't until I was at the pool on Memorial Day with a friend of mine who's daughter had acid reflux that there was a major breakthrough.  She understood exactly what I was going through and let me know I wasn't crazy.  She was the first peron I had met since Lottie's birth that GOT IT....like actually got what it was like. She too had spent sleepless nights holding vigil next to the crib just to make sure their baby wouldn't choke to death on milk stuck in their esophagus. She had rushed to the ER when their baby started to turn blue because they too couldn't burp out the milk and were worried about asphyxiation.   She too dealt with the anguish of an unhappy baby that could never lie flat on the play mat or go to sleep right after eating w/o a good 15 - 20 mins of burping. My friend suggested that I go back to exclusively breastfeeding and strip down my diet of everything that caused gas/acid. It was also suggested that I try essential oils (thank you DoTerra) which have actually been amazing and made a huge difference.  

Since that day things have gotten increasingly better but only because I took the initiative to help myself.  The most frustrating thing though, is that if this is "soooo common" (as my pediatrician claimed with an eye roll) then why wasn't I told that breast is best, and to try to eliminate a list of foods from my diet first. AND...give me the damn list of bad foods.  Instead I force fed my child rotten smelling junk and then still had to scour the web, reading articles and blogs before I found a solid chunk of information regarding foods to eat/not eat, and the benefits of breast feeding for acid reflux. Now don't get me wrong...I am not passing any sort of judgement on formula.  We had to supplement Wake's diet with formula from the time he was 2 weeks old.  Plus to be honest, it is a lot more convenient having a baby that can take formula...especially with daycare 6 weeks away.  But, my frustration lies in being told that formula & medicine would be the key when it wasn't.

Little Lottie is all smiles now!

So...here we are back full circle with things much better and I'm off my soapbox.  The true purpose of this post is to give all of you struggling moms out there a resource.  Below is a list of foods I have learned can contribute to reflux (based on importance) and should be removed from your diet. I've also included a sample menu for what I eat so as to make your diet change a little easier.  If you are reading this and experiencing the same thing...YOU ARE NOT ALONE and this too shall pass. At least, that's what I tell myself!

* Dairy (of any kind)!! It takes 2 weeks for dairy to get out of your system so you won't know if there is a true dairy allergy until week 3. 
* Tomaotes and anything Tomato based; Salsa, Ketchup, Pizza, Spaghetti, Lasagna, etc...
* Chocolate
* Acidic Fruits and their juices; Orange, Grapefruit, and Pineapple
* Onions
* Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Radishes, Mushrooms, and Peppers (of any kind)
* Baked beans, lima beans, chilli beans, and kidney beans
* Sausage
* Peanuts & Peanut butter
* Fresh peaches & strawberries
* Soda
* Caffeine (I couldn't give this up so I limit myself to one cup of coffee in the morning)

Sample Daily Menu:
* Eggs any way 
* Fruit smoothie (raspberries, blueberries, banana, almond or sunflower butter, almond milk, kale)
* Toast w/ Almond or Sunflower butter
* Toast w/ mashed avocado, salt and pepper
* Cereal w/ almond milk (just watch the fiber count...gas in you = gas in baby)

* Ham or Turkey sandwich w/ avocado, arugula, carrots, cucumber and mustard.  You can add vegan cheese too.
* Salad w/ arugula, cucumber, walnuts, chick peas, carrots, and another protein (chicken, ham, turkey, tuna). Olive Oil & Vinegar as dressing.
* Plain hummus with veggies & plantain chips

Since most recipes from Pinterest, Food Network, Skinny Taste, etc... have either dairy or tomatoes in them I have two choices; I either go back to the basics or cook Paleo. All my Paleo recipes come from Pinterest or this website, and when I do "the basics" it goes like this...
1) Select a protein: chicken, pork, beef, fish, etc...
2) a veggie: green beans, peas, roasted carrots, zucchini, eggplant, etc...
3) and a healthy starch: wild rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes 

* Nuts (sans peanuts)
* So Delicious Coconut frozen treat (coconut milk ice cream)
* Talenti Raspberry sorbet
* Apple Pie Larabar
* Banana Chips
* Fruit


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