Since you are reading this, I’m assuming you have a newborn that has been spitting up during or shortly after eating. This article will explain the causes of Infant Acid Reflux, whether to be concerned, and what you should do to help manage this problem for your baby.
GER is the back flow of stomach contents (stomach acid, food, and fluids) back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach, the LES, and the esophagus; reflux means to flow back. Over 80% of babies have GER. It occurs most commonly during the first three months but may occur up to 18 months. This is perfectly normal and rarely indicates anything serious.
This is a more long-lasting (chronic) version of GER. This is more common in adults than infants. It's unlikely your baby has GERD.
This is a muscular valve located between the stomach and the esophagus. Its function is to allow food and liquid to enter the stomach and then stay shut to keep stomach contents in the stomach. In newborns, the LES may not be fully developed and will not close sufficiently to keep stomach contents from backing up into the baby’s esophagus.
As stated above, over 80% of infants spit up while feeding or shortly after. First of all its important to understand that this is perfectly normal and is rarely serious.
In rare instances, infant acid reflux, can indicate an underlying problem, like a food allergy, a blockage in the digestive system, a hiatal hernia, etc., but as stated, this is very rare. See Causes of infant reflux below for more info.
Usually, Infant Reflux will go away once the baby’s LES matures and their nervous system fully develops; usually, between 6 to 18 months of age at which time the symptoms will subside on their own. In 5% of babies, GER may continue as toddlers.
However, for the time being, watching your baby suffer from infant acid reflux can be a heart-wrenching experience. Since babies can only communicate by crying, it is much more difficult to know for certain that your baby has infant reflux.
The following conditions increase the risk of your child having infant acid reflux:
The main causes of infant acid reflux are:
The most common symptoms of Infant Acid Reflux as are:
Take your baby to the doctor if your baby:
Some of these symptoms may indicate serious but treatable conditions. Consult your doctor to determine if they are significant.
Usually, the baby’s medical history is enough for the doctor to diagnose GERD, especially if the problem occurs regularly and causes discomfort. The growth chart and diet history are also helpful, but occasionally, further tests are recommended.
They may include:
Until your baby is six months old, it is best if the baby is fed exclusively breast milk. It is important to be aware that what you consume can affect the baby through your breast milk.
If your breastfed baby exhibits signs of acid reflux you should avoid these foods:
When burping the baby, try and sit him or her on your lap and burp them. Do not put them on your shoulder and pat their back. Your shoulder will press up against their tummy and place pressure on the stomach. This will cause the acids to rise. It’s simple things like these that many parents should be aware of and will go a long way towards easing their baby’s suffering.
Infant acid reflux is treatable. Experiment to find the lifestyle change that gets your child’s acid reflux under control.
In most cases minor adjustments is all that is needed.
If the suggested changes like proper burping, sleeping position changes, smaller, more frequent meals, and consideration to changes in what you eat do not help your baby's symptoms, it is important to consult your baby's physician.
The information contained here does not constitute medical advice and is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease. Please contact your doctor. The information provided is for informational purposes only and are solely the views of the author.
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