Reflux is a condition wherein the baby’s food contents come back into his/her food pipe or even his/her mouth. This condition is also called as GERD or Gastro Oesophageal reflux disease.
Reflux is fairly common in babies and occurs because the muscular valve at the end of the food pipe is still immature and underdeveloped. This causes the food to travel up when the baby’s tummy is full and leads to vomiting.
Reflux is strongest during the first three months of a baby’s life and eases off within the first year itself as the muscular valve becomes more developed.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
The common symptoms of acid reflux are vomiting or coughing up a little milk after a feed. While this is slightly messy, it is normal and not a cause of concern. Both formula-fed and breast milk fed babies can have reflux.
When To Be Concerned?
Reflux is fairly common and eases off on its own. You should however show the baby to the doctor if the baby throws up after every feed, coughs uncontrollably after every feed and cries. This could indicate that the baby is in distress and the condition needs to be shown to a doctor.
How To Deal With Acid Reflux In Babies
Some easy to follow tips can be practiced at home in order to prevent the baby from vomiting.
Placing The Baby in An Upright Position
Always feed the baby in a semi reclining position. Once the baby is fed, make him/her sit in an upright position for at least 20 minutes.
If you are breast-feeding the baby, and the baby appears full, make sure you burp him/her. Burping will prevent gas and vomit from coming up. Make sure you burp the baby in between feeds.
If your baby is throwing up regularly, it is not a good sign. Try feeding your baby small amounts every 1-2 hours. There will be a lesser chance of the baby suffering from reflux.
If the symptoms of acid reflux are severe, your pediatrician will probably prescribe an antacid for the baby.The antacids are mild and should not harm the baby in any way. The antacid will have to be mixed into the breast milk or formula milk and fed to the baby. This should ease the symptoms of acid reflux.
Certain feed thickeners are available on prescription. These thicken the feed and help in quick digestion, which means lesser chances of the baby throwing up his/her food.
Certain allergies in the food may be causing the baby to spit up. Spitting up in an older baby is fairly uncommon and occurs due to carbonated beverages and processed foods. Identify the foods that are creating intolerance and banish them from the baby’s diet for the meantime.
Offer A Pacifier
If your baby eats quickly and gags because of the excess milk, try offering him/her a pacifier. The pacifier will satisfy his/her sucking reflex and prevent him/her from having too much milk, which in turn will minimize the reflux.
Ensure that the baby does not get habituated to the pacifier though. It should only be given for a short duration.