When your infant is spitting up, not sleeping, and having a hard time eating you start to worry about their health. With infant acid reflux, all of these symptoms can be common.
What Is Infant Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is the result of the stomach contents being refluxed back into the esophagus. It is very common for infants under nine months (about 25% of kids get it).
Why Is Acid Reflux Common in Younger Babies?
When babies are born, the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) is not done developing. The LES is the primary gateway between the stomach and the esophagus. If the LES fails to work, it can cause reflux.
After about nine months of age, the LES is fully formed and will only open when your child swallows.
What Causes Reflux in Babies?
Some things that can cause baby reflux:
- Narrow Esophagus
- Immature Lower Esophageal Sphincter
- Hiatal Hernia
- Diet Allergies
- Over Feeding
How To Treat Baby Reflux
Here are a few ways to treat acid reflux at home before you see the doctor.
The first thing you should do is complete an elimination diet. If your infant is already on baby food, there is a chance that there is something in the diet that causes the acid reflux.
Eliminate items from your child’s menu to identify the source of the reflux.
Some kids can only eat hypoallergenic formula. If your child is exclusively bottle fed and not on solid foods yet, try changing formulas to help eliminate acid reflux.
Sometimes baby’s reflux is caused by a simple milk allergy and switching to a soy based formula will fix the reflux. Other times your child may need a specialized formula to ease the stomach and stop the reflux.
If you tried all of the over the counter formulas available, talk to your doctor about the possibility of prescription formula. These are made differently than over the counter formulas, and can help stop infant acid reflux.
Changing the position of your baby when they’re feeding can make a huge difference in their acid reflux. Sometimes the angle of the connection between the esophagus is too sharp and can cause acid reflux.
Another thing to consider, if your baby is keeping you up at night with crying and spitting up, is to change the position of their crib mattress.
The main reason that babies get acid reflux at night is that they are in a flat position. Laying flat on their backs makes it easier for milk and formula to reflux from a baby’s stomach.
So, what to do then?
Take a 2-inch by 4-inch board and cut it to the width of babies crib. Insert it at the head of the mattress, between the mattress and the frame of the crib.
This should create enough of an angle when your child is laying down to stop the infant acid reflux. They also make foam inserts that you can put between the crib mattress and frame, to create the right angle to avoid acid reflux.
Keep the Baby Up
If your infant is suffering from acid reflux at night or at nap time, try to keep them up at least 20-30 minutes after feeding time.
Keeping them in an upright position, and awake, after feedings can allow for the milk or formula to digest a bit before they go to sleep. The digestion process helps reduce the amount of reflux that babies have.
If you are bottle feeding your baby try to reduce the amount of breastmilk or formula that you feed them at each feeding. The amount of food consumed at each feeding could be a direct contributor to acid reflux in babies.
When to See a Doctor?
If you have tried all of these tips and your baby is still experiencing severe reflux, it may be time to schedule a visit to the pediatrician.
Here are a few more symptoms that may mean you need to visit the doctor:
- Baby refuses feedings
- Weight loss
- No weight gain
- Blood or Bile in the spit up
- Blood in poop
- Difficulty breathing
If any of these symptoms occur, you may be experiencing something more severe than reflux. If you have any concerns, it is always good to talk to a professional.
What are some of the ways that you dealt with your child’s reflux?