Examining the relation of infant reflux, psychomotor development, and maternal mental health
A 2011 trial has shown an association between infant reflux/GERD and maternal psychopathology that may have a strong effect on the infant’s motor and mental development. Anyone who has worked with infants that have suspected reflux knows how distressing it can be for these mothers who struggle to understand and meet the needs of their fussy babies. Often, infants with reflux have extreme difficulty feeding and parents struggle to soothe them. Mothers may feel a sense of rejection from their babies, leading to increased likelihood for anxiety, depression, and detachment. There is a convincing case for these mothers needing close psychological follow up in an effort to protect their infants against compromised psychomotor development as a result of decreased social interactions with their mothers. Infants of mothers with postpartum psychopathology and who are struggling with feeding difficulty as a result of reflux/GERD, should be flagged for potential early interventions to ensure appropriate development.