A Facebook mom writes that her infant never burped and also had reflux. Mom was taking high blood pressure meds for a few weeks during the pregnancy and had a planned cesarean section. Now at eight years of age, the child still cannot burp even after ingesting a carbonated drink. He sometimes holds his throat during eating, even though it does not hurt.
Since this is my first exposure to a non-burping infant, let’s see what the scientific literature says about the physiology of burping:
“A reflex is initiated, leading to relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), upward movement of the air through the esophagus, and finally passage through the upper esophageal sphincter (UES), during which an audible belch can sometimes be heard. So, belching is physiological venting of excessive gastric air.” Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015; 8(11): 21906–21914.
The problem may be due to fascial tightening of both the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) and the UES (upper esophageal sphincter). The LES sits in the diaphragm, which separates the lungs from the digestive organs. Since this baby had reflux too, it would make sense to have had reflux and burping issues due to a fascially strained LES.
Less frequently found in clinical practice, fascial strain may be present in the UES, especially with his history of holding his throat. Throat fascial strain may also be inhibiting optimal breathing, speaking, and swallowing. Fascial strain here can often be a precursor to a narrow maxillary arch, a high palatal vault, and future orthodontics.
In the Gillespie Approach a full-body philosophy is required since all roads in the fascial web go through the diaphragm. My wish is that the work be done on day one for every newborn so these future conditions are prevented.