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Basics of Baby Reflux

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Infant reflux occurs when food backs up from a baby’s stomach, causing baby to spit up.

Reflux occurs in healthy infants multiple times a day, and as long as your baby is healthy and growing well, it is not a cause for concern.

However, if your baby:

  • Is not gaining weight

  • Constantly spits up forcefully

  • Spits up green or yellow fluid

  • Spits up blood

  • Refuses food

  • Has blood in stool

  • Has difficulty breathing or a chronic cough

  • Beings spitting up at age 6 months or older

  • Is unusually irritable after eating

The symptoms above may indicate something more serious like GERD (reflux has enough acid to irritate and damage the lining of the esophagus), Pyloric stenosis (valve between the stomach and small intensive is narrowed), Food intolerance (protein in cow’s milk is most common), Eosinophilic esophagitis (white blood cell builds up and injures the lining of the esophagus).

To help with infant reflux (which will improve over time):

  • Give baby smaller, more frequent feeds

  • Interrupt feeds to burp baby

  • Hold baby upright for 20-30 minutes after feeds

  • Eliminate dairy if breastfeeding to test for allergy (other common irritants: gluten, eggs, beef)

  • Use a different size nipple on baby bottles (avoid swallowing air)

Reflux medications aren't recommended for children with uncomplicated reflux. These medications can prevent absorption of calcium and iron, and increase the risk of certain intestinal and respiratory infections.

However, a short-term trial of an acid-blocking medication — such as ranitidine for infants ages 1 month to 1 year or omeprazole magnesium (Prilosec) for children ages 1 year or older — might be recommended if your baby:

  • Has poor weight gain and more-conservative treatments haven't worked

  • Refuses to feed

  • Has evidence of an inflamed esophagus

  • Has chronic asthma and reflux

Much of the information above comes from the Mayo Clinc about infant reflux. However, I am a mom of a little one who suffered with silent reflux (she would not spit up, but would rather swallow the acidic spit-up, causing a burn on the way up and the way down), I extend my sincerest sympathies to all mamas who have a newborn with reflux. It was so difficult for any of us to eat and sleep with severe infant reflux, I have tears thinking about it.

I remember reading advice or descriptions on the Internet during this time and wanting to just chuck my phone across the room because it could not to justice to how difficult minute-by-minute was with a baby that had severe reflux.

We did everything under the section “to help,” in addition, my daughter was on reflux medication for about 1-2 months to help through the transition.

We also saw a significant improvement when we had her tongue/lip tie revision completed (around 4 months, though I wish we had done it sooner!!) and reflux nearly disappeared when she was able to sit on her own and crawl (around 6 months).

Knowing it ends may help, but I am hugging you on the moments when it is not better. YOU, a mama of a reflux baby, need help. You cannot do it alone.

If you do not have people around to support you, please consider joining the Motherhood Grace private group I offer online. I will be there to support and virtual hug you through this challenging time!

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