Two of the most common conditions that young babies suffer from are reflux and colic. Both conditions can be very distressing for parents especially as there is a lot of conflicting information about what causes them and how they can be treated. We’ve previously posted aboutwhat causes reflux, how to prevent it and how to deal with it. We’ve also published a blog post answering the questionswhat is colic in babies? and how do you treat colic in breastfed and bottle-fed babies? Today’s blog post is all about:
Reflux is fairly well understood. In its simplest form, reflux occurs when the contents of someone’s stomach don’t stay put and are regurgitated. Silent reflux occurs when the partially digested food and stomach acid remain within the esophagus so there aren’t really any visible symptoms of the condition. Simple reflux occurs when the stomach contents and partially digested food are regurgitated into the mouth or beyond.
In humans, a properly functioning sphincter muscle normally allows food to pass into the stomach but then keeps that food and stomach acid from rising back up into the esophagus while also opening to allow swallowed air and gas to be released through burping. We know that babies are prone to reflux because this muscle is underdeveloped. In other words, babies have an immature digestive system.
Unlike reflux, colic is poorly understood. Researchers and medical professionals have some ideas about what causes colic but no one has been able to identify a universally accepted or definitive cause for colic. The latest thinking is that it is likely to have a number of causes.
Some of the suspected causes of colic are psychological but there are three proposed physical causes as well. Two of these are related, at least in part, to digestion. One is that colic is caused by a baby’s immature digestive system. The other is that it is caused by food intolerance or allergy.
So, as you can see, the underdeveloped nature of babies’ digestive systems may be a cause of both reflux and colic.
Provided a baby is suffering from simple or silent reflux rather than gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, it’s not considered necessary to treat reflux. This can be distressing for parents and carers to learn as babies with reflux can be quite a handful and, understandably, parents and carers don’t want to see their little ones uncomfortable or in pain.
When it comes to colic, very little research has been done into the causes and possible treatments of the phenomenon. A small selection oftreatments have been investigated by research scientists but few show any promise as cures for colic.
Here at Minbie, we’ve talked to many parents whose babies have suffered from reflux and/or colic and we’ve heard their heartbreaking stories. Being parents ourselves, we understand the pressing need for more research into treatments and cures for reflux and colic. That’s why we’ve done our own investigations.
We’re not scientists or doctors so we haven’t produced breakthrough medically-proven research results. But we do know babies and we‘ve talked to thousands of real-life families, so we know how things tend to work in the real world even if they’ve not yet been proven in a lab. What we’ve learned over the years may surprise you.
Many generic teats do not allow babies to latch onto a bottle with the same latch they use when breastfeeding. Similarly, these kinds of teats do not allow babies to feed with their instinctive breastfeeding motion. This leads to all sorts of problems likenipple confusion and also seems to contribute to reflux and colic.
One reason this seems to contribute to reflux is that not being able to feed with the instinctive breastfeeding technique prevents babies from gaining control over their feed. You see, when babies direct-latch breastfeed, they usually have to work at the feed in order to extract the breast-milk. Indeed, breastfeeding requires a lot of core feeding strength and coordination. When feeding this way, babies have to proactively control the feed for themselves. Once their mother’s milk-supply settles down, they are the ones that can regulate how fast the breast milk flows and how much is released from the breast.
When a bottle-fed baby drinks from a generic teat, however, Bub doesn’t have to work at the feed. Instead, the milk flows at the flow rate of the teat and the baby uses a relatively passive lazy feeding action. When feeding from generic teats, the instinctive breastfeeding technique isn’t supported and a baby’s feeding technique becomes reactive instead of proactive.
Apart from encouraging a lazy feeding action that can result in babies refusing the breast (among many other problems), this loss of control over the feed can lead babies to swallow air as they struggle to cope with an inappropriate flow rate. Some babies will also continuously de-latch from generic teats, which can also cause them to swallow air as they try to drink their milk/formula when not properly latched. Swallowing air is a significant cause of gas and wind pain in babies and it can also put increased strain on the underdeveloped sphincter, which contributes to reflux.
Swallowing air also seems to be connected with colic. Babies that need to be burped a lot typically spit up more frequently, which is logical given the role of the sphincter in burping and reflux. However, the link with colic is less clear.
Some babies with colic appear to be suffering from a lot of wind pain but this is not true of all colicky babies andmedicinal treatments for gas do not appear to be effective in treating colic. Perhaps it is simply that colic is caused by problems with an underdeveloped digestive system and swallowing air puts extra pressure on a system that is already under strain.
Alternatively, it may be that generic teats contribute to colic in another way and swallowing air is merely an unfortunate side effect that occurs at the same time. Indeed, we have observed that the improper feeding action promoted by generic teats does have another significant and detrimental consequence.
When generic teats interfere with the instinctive breastfeeding technique they seem to also prevent babies from swallowing as much saliva as they do when they direct-latch breastfeed. This seems to contribute to both reflux and colic and we believe we know why. It’s all to do with the pancreas.
Much like the rest of the digestive system,a baby’s pancreases is not fully developed at birth. For instance, a newborn’s pancreatic cells canmultiply more quickly than those of an adult’s, however, a newborn’s pancreatic cells also have areduced ability to secrete a range of hormones including:
In particular, a baby pancreas’scapacity for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion increases as a child ages. Furthermore, full-termbabies only have 0.2-0.5% of the adult amount of amylase.
This last point is particularly important to note. You see,breast milk contains amylases that help make up for a baby’s pancreatic amylase deficiency. This means direct-latch breastfed babies and babies that are fed expressed breast milk get access to more amylase than what they are capable of producing themselves and more than what formula-fed babies have access to. This may not boost their amylase levels to that of an adult but it does go some way to helping them properly digest their food (milk/formula and solids when the time comes).
Similarly,colostrum plays an important role in digestive health. This early form of breastmilk containsimmune molecules, a wide range of vitamins, growth factors and other hormones like insulin, amino acids enzymes and beneficial bacteria. Colostrum has also been shown to helpnewborn babies develop healthy ecosystems of bacteria within their digestive systems. Thisgut microbiome is vital for proper digestion and helps develop immune cells.
Saliva is also high in amylase so a baby’s saliva helps with digestion too. This is why babies dribble so much, especially in the weeks and months leading up to the introduction of solids. The amylase in saliva is helpful when milk, formula or solids are in a baby’s mouth and so is especially effective for solids as chewing food exposes it to saliva and amylase for a longer period of time. Milk and formula, however, spend very little time in a baby’s mouth so the real contribution of salivary amylase in this instance occurs when a baby swallows his or her saliva. Swallowed saliva accompanies milk and formula (and food) through the digestive system and so the salivary amylase has more time to aid with digestion.
When generic teats prevent babies from swallowing the normal amount of saliva, they’re impairing the digestive processes of those babies. As an underdeveloped digestive system is the key cause of reflux and probably contributes to colic, this interference is likely to be a primary reason why generic teats appear to contribute to reflux and colic in so many babies.
Now, you will notice that so far in this blog post I’ve referred to issues associated withgeneric teats. Thankfully, Minbie teats are specifically designed to support the instinctive breastfeeding technique and help reduce the chance that a baby will suffer from reflux and colic. They do this in a number of ways:
By specifically designing Minbie teats to encourage babies to feed with their instinctive breastfeeding technique, we have designed products that actively support breastfeeding. Fed is best, so whether you are almost exclusively direct-latch breastfeeding, mix feeding or entirely bottle-feeding your baby, Minbie helps to keep the healthiest infant feeding option open for your family should you decide that direct-latch breastfeeding is something your family wants for your baby.
Of course, it’s all well and good to design a product to fulfill particular requirements but the only way to know whether it performs as anticipated is to test it. And we’re happy to report that parents around the globe have been telling us that feeding their babies with Minbie teats has resulted in:
My son has severe reflux, and different bottles had not helped. I purchased that (Minbie) when he was 3 weeks old. I received it last week ago he loves it no reflux!” Jasilyn W.
“They're awesome! My 4 month old had no nipple confusion, doesn't get super gassy and eats well.” Bailey Roth Betts on Facebook
"Awesome! Love these Minbie bottles so much! My little guy is mixed fed, and he's had no issues with nipple confusion or taking in any air! I highly recommend these to anyone hoping to transition from breast to bottle or mix fed bubs!" Kate O
“Thank you so much Minbie, I have struggled getting my son to take to a bottle and was going to give up when I found you! It was amazing, he took the Minbie bottle without any hesitation and when transitioning back to the boob he had no issues either! Kohen gets reflux/ colic quite bad and I was concerned a bottle would only make matters worse but he had no issues after feeding on the Minbie, he burped as normal and was a happy content little munchkin afterwards! Thank you so much we are so glad we found you!” Tori L.
In particular, many parents tell us that Minbie has minimized, reduced or even completely solved their baby’s reflux problem.
“Thankyou so much for this bottle! Charli had awful refluxy symptoms off any bottle given and also terrible nipple confusion. We tried her with the Minbie bottle and now won't use any other! She's 9 months but we bought the 3-6 month teat so she doesn't get milk to fast as this causes issues and it's been great! No nipple confusion and no reflux!! Wish I'd found this bottle a lot sooner!!” Kirsty Jepson on Facebook
“My baby went onto bottle after three weeks of exclusively breast feeding due to reflux and she transitioned perfectly with minbie. [I] have used other bottles meant to help reflux in the past with my other children and [Minbie teats] are the best by far.” Lyanne T.
We believe Minbie teats help to prevent reflux and colic because they:
When babies are fed exclusively using Minbie teats whenever they are bottle-fed and when this is done from the very first bottle feed, they are never exposed to generic teats that may encourage the lazy feeding habits that cause so very many problems for babies.
For babies that have developed bad habits as a result of being feed from generic teats, Minbie may help to reduce and possibly even eliminate reflux and colic. Minbie teats actively encourage babies to develop or re-learn the correct breastfeeding latch and motion even when they’ve developed bad habits, because Minbie teats require babies to work at the feed in order to extract milk/formula. Similarly, Minbie teats may even help to reverse the symptoms of reflux and colic in babies that have had trouble breastfeeding due to a physiological impediment such as atongue-tie.
If your baby suffers from reflux and/or colic, or if you want to avoid your baby from suffering from both conditions, the first thing to do ischoose Minbie teats when bottle-feeding your baby. It’s also best to make sure you’re using your Minbie correctly, so check out the instructions delivered with every Minbie purchase.
Next, make sure youburp your baby regularly. Your baby may also benefit from being fed in a semi-upright position. Some babies will also benefit from being fed more regularly so each feed is a little smaller. Check out the information in our posts onreflux andcolic for even more tips.
Here at Minbie we’re all parents just like you and we understand how you just want what’s best for your little one. We know that reflux and colic can have a huge impact on your family socontact us now using our 24/7 live chat feature and let us help you choose the right Minbie flow-rate for your little one. We’ll help get you off to a great start with Minbie teats.
Also, if your baby really suffers with severe reflux and/or colic symptoms, especially if Bub isn’tgaining enough weight or if you’re struggling to cope, don’t hesitate to seek help from a medical professional. This can help you get the support you need but it’s also important because there may be some other underlying medical condition that can be treated.
After having frustrating and distressing results with other bottles I'd decided I couldn't leave my baby with anyone to babysit until I came across minbie bottles. I'd read loads of fantastic reviews and stories I could of written myself. So thought this is my last shot. I was amazed by how quickly he took the bottle. No screaming. No chocking on fast milk flow and no nipple concussion after. I was amazed. I'd recommend it to any breast feeding momma or any parent that is having colic or too fast flow issues with other bottle brands. Thank you so much minbie you've given me peace of mind and the chance of a small social life away from my baby while still on my breast feeding journey x Hayley M
My daughter suffered terrible colic for her first 3 months and only really got comfort in breastfeeding, as a result I was delayed in offering a bottle and by the time we did, she wouldn't have it. After a couple of months of trying I ordered a Minbie bottle after seeing the Facebook reviews. She was immediately more comfortable with the bottle and after a couple of attempts was taking it with no quibbles. As I still had so many other brand bottles I tried to see if she would now also take the other bottles, but she was having none of it. So there's no turning back, we ordered more Minbie bottles and teats. With her starting nursery next week its a huge relief!! Thank you Kirsty D.