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Why Infant Reflux Matters Reviewed by Kathryn Downey PHN IBCLC

Why Infant Reflux Matters is another concise book by Pinter and Martin in the series of why it matters. This publisher has previously presented a range of topics from fertility through to starting solids and all in between. However, this latest title delivers a wealth of information from a renowned Reflux and feeding expert Carol Smyth. Smyth imparts her own experiences as a mother coupled with the in-depth investigations she has pursued in unravelling the modern-day conundrum of infant reflux. In this enlightening read, marrying reflux symptoms together with evidence, she proposes and acknowledges the misinterpretations of normal newborn behaviours and societal expectations which differ tremendously from the needs of our exterogestates.


Smyth presents her topic in two parts. Part one is a series of chapters addressing the question what is Reflux. She identifies how so many normal newborn behaviours could indeed be misinterpreted or lead to a series of misinterpretations for parents. Smyth draws on her own experiences as a breastfeeding parent as well as that of her interaction, assessment and support for the many women and infant’s she has supported on their breastfeeding journey. She further explores the cultural diversities of infant care and interpretation of need that is drifting further from accepted societal perceptions of that care. She clearly acknowledges that we as mothers and parents have been persistently fed inaccurate expectations regarding our infant’s behaviour.


Smyth delves into Exploring symptoms grouping these into categories covering Feeding Behaviours, Unsettled Behaviours and Medical Issues. Working through these categories Smyth reverts to the imperative and paramount need for a complete feeding assessment with a specialist to truly identify the cause of the symptoms before attributing these to GORD (Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease). She further explains concisely what reflux and GORD are and the positives and negatives of the available treatments.


She further discusses co-regulation and dysregulation to show us clearly how the infant system actually works. And herein, she offers us all, as practitioners and parents an opportunity to understand how we can switch from merely surviving to thriving during the fourth trimester.


This is a very concise and informative book, quick to read and practical to use. It has a logical progression and obvious evidence base. As an IBCLC I would most definitely recommend this book to Health Care Professionals caring for young babies as well as to parents who are struggling with reflux symptoms and looking for answers. A most unputdownable read.

Further Reading


Presenting at the ILCA 2023 In-person Conference in Las Vegas:  A Personal Account


ILCA 2023 Conference Presentation: Building Policy Coalitions


WHO/Unicef Congress