As we comfort our babies, we don’t want to inadvertently reinforce poor sleep habits. Walking, rocking, feeding, or swinging to sleep creates a habit that will be hard to break.
You could ask your GP about giving your baby an infant antacid. Antacid helps to neutralise the acid in your baby’s stomach, so it shouldn’t be as painful for him if he brings it up (NHS 2016b) . It may also be combined with an alginate, which is a medicine that helps to keep milk and acid in your baby’s stomach in the first place (NHS 2016a, NICE 2015a,b) . Baby acid reflux can cause extreme fussiness, colic-like symptoms, and major sleep disruptions at naps, bedtime, and sleeping through the night.
How to ease your baby’s reflux
Most cases of reflux will be uncomplicated GER. GER is uncomplicated, and infants with this type of reflux are often called “happy spitters.” Infants with GER may sometimes experience frequent vomiting, irritability, prolonged or refused feeding, or back arching. Sometimes, a more severe and long-lasting form of gastroesophageal reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause infant reflux. Most infants “spit up” milk as part of their daily activities. The action of spitting up milk is known as reflux or gastroesophageal reflux.
Does your baby suffer from an underlying medical condition?
Many infants with GERD are otherwise healthy; however, some infants can have problems affecting their nerves, brain, or muscles. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a child’s immature digestive system is usually to blame and most infants grow out of the condition by the their first birthday. If reflux continues after your child’s first birthday, or if your child is having symptoms such as lack of weight gain and breathing problems, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in children’s digestive diseases (pediatric gastroenterologist).
But it is possible to adjust the baby’s sleeping position while still keeping them plenty safe. He might also prescribe a medicine to help your child’s stomach make less acid. But researchers aren’t sure whether these drugs ease reflux in infants. Gastric emptying study.
Elevating a baby during feeding and tummy time
- Although more common in adults, GER can develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Surgery isn’t often needed to treat acid reflux in babies and kids.
- Reflux causes pain in baby’s tummy, throat, and mouth and then can be woken up from sleep easier.
babies, reflux might be associated with a more serious problem, such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). This is a form of long-term reflux where stomach contents are able to rise up and irritate the oesophagus (NHS, 2016) . Reflux is not the same as vomiting, which is when a baby’s muscles contract forcefully (NHS, 2019) . Reflux can also be confused for posseting, which is when a baby brings up a small amount of milk (usually a teaspoonful) without seeming to mind (NHS start4life, 2019) . Reflux affects at least four in ten newborns and it isn’t usually cause for concern (NICE, 2015) .
Diagnostic tests are not typically used for diagnosing GER or GERD. Diagnostic tests have not been found to be any more reliable than a doctor asking questions and carrying out a physical examination. Refusing to feed, difficulty swallowing, and frequent vomiting may be symptoms of GERD in infants. Regurgitation rates decline as the muscle that controls the flow of food matures, usually by the time an infant is 18 months old. If the muscle does not entirely close, liquid flows back into the food pipe from the stomach.
But it can help those who’ve tried other treatment that hasn’t worked or kids who have breathing problems, pneumonia, or other serious problems from GERD. Most infants with the condition are healthy — it’s just that parts of their digestive systems aren’t fully mature yet. They usually grow out of GERD by the time they are 1 year old.
You have to be more diligent about watching the clock, not just your baby. Keep track of when he ate. As he gets older, you’ll want to stretch out the time between feedings as long as you can without provoking more vomiting, particularly overnight. As parents, our natural instinct is to soothe a baby who hurts. That’s exactly what we should do.
Most babies thrive, and reflux is nothing more than a messy and smelly stage they go through. It usually gets better as your baby’s digestive system matures (NICE 2015a) . If you are worried that your baby might be suffering from Infant Reflux, it might be a good idea to keep a diary to show your doctor. Make a note of when your baby feeds, how often they are spitting up and when they have periods of crying.
Your baby may bring up small amounts of milk (possetting) or occasionally vomit after eating. He may have hiccups and cough and splutter a little (NHS 2016a) . Some babies also get wheezy after a milky burp (Halit et al 2018, Rosen et al 2018, Tidy 2018) .
If you’re breastfeeding this is especially important as it could highlight certain foods that you’re eating that may be exacerbating symptoms. Keep baby upright for 30 minutes after feeds. This will help food to settle into the tummy and thus reduce the risk of reflux episodes. Baby wearing is an excellent option here.