What is acid reflux? Adults usually refer to it as heartburn, acid reflux in babies, also called gastroesophageal reflux (GER) occurs when the muscle at the entrance of the stomach, is not strong enough to keep the acids inside. This then leads to pain, and results in baby spitting up a lot more than usual.
This problem is regularly dismissed as colic, fortunately nowadays we can actually do something about acid reflux.
Acid reflux is usually worse for around 1 – 4 months and stops between 6 months to a year.
* Reflux is sometimes due to the muscle of the baby’s stomach, not being mature enough yet. Premature babies are at increased risk of reflux.
* Food allergies can also cause acid reflux in babies.
* Mom could try to eliminate dairy, to rule out a dairy allergy. Infant formula and some medication, including herbal MEDs, can cause acid reflux symptoms.
* Anything new in a mother's diet or in a baby’s diet, could cause reflux in baby. Common culprit acid reflux foods include: tomatoes, citrus fruits, high fat foods, spicy foods, processed foods and anything acidic.
* Swallowing of unnecessary air, can cause acid reflux in babies; this usually happens when baby is restless whilst breastfeeding. It is always a good idea to breastfeed Baby in a calm, quiet surrounding, to minimize distractions. Always feed baby before he/she gets too hungry.
* Baby might be experiencing a growth spurt, and therefore drinking at a faster pace and feeding more often than usual.
* Hereditary factors can also increase the occurrence of acid reflux in babies.
* A common acid reflux cause: When the introduction of solids is done before Baby is ready.
So, should a Mother continue to breastfeed, if her baby has GER?
Yes, it has been found that acid reflux in babies, that are breastfed, is less severe and painful. There has also been evidence, that some GER babies who are breastfed, have no symptoms at all.
Breastfeeding triggers a movement in the gastrointestinal tract, that helps move food within the intestines. Breast milk digests much easier than formula, which therefore reduces the chances of acid reflux occurrence in a breastfed baby.
Another reason why breastfeeding is a superior option: babies that are breastfed, are held more upright when fed, which in turn keeps the acid down.
* Frequent burping and hiccups in babies.
* Frequent spitting up.
* Reflux causes poor sleep.
* Poor weight gain.
* Fussiness can be a sign of acid reflux.
* Difficulty swallowing.
* Wanting to nurse more frequent or less frequent.
* Bad breath.
* Arching the neck and back, as if in pain.
* An acid reflux child may have many chest and ear infections.
* An acid reflux toddler, may sleepwalk at night.
(GERD – infant acid reflux disease)
Baby will need reflux treatment or therapy.
* Uncontrollable crying and fussing.
* Poor weight gain or excessive weight loss.
* In Severe acid reflux cases, children vomit up blood.
* Breathing problems.
Helping Baby with GER and Preventing Acid Reflux in Babies
* Get baby positioned as upright as possible while nursing, this will keep the acid down. Try walking while nursing.
* Reflux in babies can often be prevented by burping them often and efficiently.
* Breastfeed more often, and for no longer than 10 minutes at a time; the more milk baby has in his/her stomach, the more discomfort he/she will experience.
* Ensure a good latch, to guarantee less air intake.
* Keep reflux infants motionless for a few minutes after feedings, this will keep most of the acid from coming up. Avoid any pressure on baby’s abdomen.
* Breastfeed baby during times when he/she is more relaxed.
* Do not smoke or keep baby in the vicinity of tobacco smoke.
* Caffeine intake should be reduced.
* Thickening feeds to reduce stomach reflux is not advised, as it results in: increased coughing after feedings, it is less nutritive, it increases the chances of diabetes in baby, increases the chances of infections and can lead to low breast milk supply.
* Babies with acid reflux, sleep better on their tummies, propped up at a 30 degree angle. Acid reflux infants experience more pain when they are left to lie on their backs at night.
* Carrying Baby in a breastfeeding sling, can help keep baby in an upright position, near his/her source of food, as well as feeling comforted.
* Change baby’s nappy before feedings, as this will ensure less movement after a feeding.
* Acid reflux babies should wear loose clothing to prevent pressure on their tummies.
* Avoid long trips in a car seat. The slouched over position can aggravate GER.
* Always let baby finish at one breast, before offering the other, even if you need to pump the other side. Doing this will ensure that Baby drinks the essential hind milk. This will also decrease the likeliness and even stop acid reflux.
What is Silent Reflux in Babies?
This refers to when an acid reflux infant does not spit up, the acid, then travels back down the esophagus, causing even more discomfort.
For more help and support on newborn acid reflux and GERD, visit...
All babies are different, just keep trying until you find something that works for the both of you. Remember that this difficult time will not last forever.
Author ~ Tracy Ann Behr: Breastfeeding Mom of two, Breastfeeding Helper, currently studying at Childbirth International for breastfeeding counselor and Birth doula.
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Thank you Not rated yet
This is amazing helpful information. Thank you for posting this web site i hope others find it helpful if they are in the same situation.
medical therapy for reflux Not rated yet
Your page is a very useful description of reflux in infants and its treatment, but I was disappointed that there was no mention that sometimes medication …
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