Gaviscon is used by adults to help with heartburn and GERD and if you suspect your baby is suffering from this you might be tempted to give them some in an effort to ease their pains. But is it something you want to treat them with, or are there drawbacks to giving it to your child at a young age?
Gaviscon is available without a prescription, which might make it sound like an easier fix than taking your baby in to the doctor, but OTC meds are still very powerful, especially when made and dosed for adults. They have to make them powerful enough to produce results for fully developed adults, which is why you’ll often find Childrens and Infants formulas to account for the difference in body mass.
Aside from all of this is the question of whether it’s a good idea to give your baby a drug for something that is preventable. Heartburn and indigestion are mostly caused by overeating, or eating foods that trigger it, so technically all that would be necessary is to not feed your baby too much at one sitting, and eliminate foods that are known to bring it on. While it might take a little more effort, this is a better way to go than just giving your baby meds and carrying on as normal.
Can I Give My Baby Gaviscon? Answer: Not Recommended
Gaviscon makes an infant variation, but this contains too much sodium to be used as a regular fix for your baby’s digestion troubles. The number one cause for indigestion in infants is overfeeding, so a better way to treat them is to stop feeding them before they get too full. This takes a little bit more attention and care, because a baby will keep eating long after they too full, which is why they end up spitting up the excess.
You have to experiment with their full level, stopping when you think they’ve had enough and see if that holds them over or if they start to cry because they’re still hungry. If they’re still hungry you can give them a little more and see how long that lasts. With enough trial and error you’ll have a good idea where their happy level is and you can stop when they’re satisfied, rather than stopping when they’re filled to the gills.
Signs and Symptoms
Since your baby can’t tell you it has heartburn, you might be misdiagnosing them based on the symptoms you’re seeing. Treating them for a problem they don’t have is not a good idea, and can sometimes worsen the situation. If this is a recurring problem you should ask their pediatrician what the problem is and see if you can work out a non-medicated solution. Getting into the habit of medicating your baby for simple things like indigestion is going to set them up for problems later on, and could stunt their immune system from developing properly.
When You’re Breastfeeding
It’s especially hard to control portions when you’re breastfeeding, because the instinct is to feed them until they stop suckling or until you run out. That’s why many moms run into trouble with indigestion at this time. Lots of them use infant Gaviscon in conjunction with their breast milk, but this is not right, as it’s adding a ton of sodium to your baby’s diet and is negating some of the healthy attributes of breast milk. If you pump out the remaining breast milk you’ll be able to feed it to them in increments so their digestive system can keep up.
When it comes to things like Gaviscon the question becomes whether you should give your baby something like this or not. Of course you can, and there might not be any immediate negative effects, but that’s not looking at the bigger picture. Of course you have your own way of raising your child, and you’ll have to make up your own mind on your stance towards mediation, both prescription and otherwise, but try not to confuse a concern for your baby’s well-being with a need to give them medication for each and every problem that arises.