Acid Reflux in Babies

May 25, 2012

Acid reflux is a known condition that is due to the regurgitation of food and acid from the stomach to the esophagus after ingestion of food. Acid reflux disease is also known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease and the symptoms of the condition in babies are referred to as “spitting up.”

Is Acid Reflux Normal in Babies?

Babies have immature digestive systems. After birth, the alimentary canal of the baby still have to get used to its functions since during the course of pregnancy, the nutrition and food is exchanged directly from the blood of the mother. That is the reason why babies up to three months old may expunge ingested foods. In these cases, regurgitation of the mother’s breast milk may occur and this appears like a solid white mass.

However, in case the condition occurs for more than three months or the baby frequently regurgitate, for example after every feeding, to the extent that the baby does not want to be fed and becomes irritable and weak, then this can be due to acid reflux disease. Although regurgitation in baby is normal after breastfeeding, regurgitation sneezing, coughing or crying is a different story and this requires immediate medical attention. Take note acid reflux disease is considered as a serious condition in babies and it can be displayed in variety of symptoms.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease in Babies

  • The baby refuses to eat
  • The baby displays irritability while being fed
  • The baby constantly cries
  • The baby frequently regurgitate the ingested milk
  • The baby experience frequent coughing and hiccups that takes a while to go away
  • The baby is unable to sleep properly at night due to hunger and irritability
  • The baby suddenly arch or stiffen its back while being fed
  • The baby loses weight abruptly
  • The baby drools in the corners of the mouth
  • The baby experiences pain when the abdominal area is compressed or touched and shifts a lot when sleeping

Diagnosis of Acid Reflux Disease in Babies

Acid reflux conditions in babies can be diagnosed by performing various testing procedures. These may include urine and blood test in order to check if the baby is going through some infections. Another test that can be performed is to monitor the pH within the baby’s esophagus. This test will help measure the level of acidity in the esophageal tract. In severe cases of the condition in babies, endoscopy can also be done to be able to check internally for any malfunctions in the sphincter or gland. This testing procedure is considered invasive and can only be administered as the last resort in case all other testing procedures showed negative results yet the baby continues to grow weak.

Treatment for Acid Reflux Disease in Babies

For acid reflux symptoms in babies, it is necessary to determine the root cause of the condition. In case infection is present, then it is necessary to treat the condition immediately since acid reflux can cause colic pain, which can be extremely discomforting for the child. Aside from that, remember that the baby’s immune system is still immature and is has not yet fully developed, thus making it vulnerable to infections. That is why it is necessary to eliminate any form of infection first before proceeding with the treatment against acid reflux disease.

For acid reflux remedies in babies, there are medications in the form of syrup that can be administered in order to eliminate the colicky pain that the baby may experience. A consultation with a physician is also necessary before the administration of antibiotics. In case there is an infection and antibiotics fail to cure it, further testing should be conducted in order to determine the baby’s condition and to administer the most suitable treatment.

Since babies cannot consume strong medications yet, it is necessary to consult your physician for medications that will suit your baby’s age and condition. However, take note that these medications may come with side effects, especially when used for a long period. If you want to avoid these side effects, it is advisable to ask your physician for home remedies for acid reflux that you can apply to your baby’s condition.

If you are breastfeeding, it is also necessary for you to be mindful of your diet, as the foods that you consume can also affect your child’s condition or trigger the development of acid reflux disease in your baby. As much as possible, make sure that you avoid the consumption of fatty and spicy foods while you are still breastfeeding. You should also avoid smoking and consuming alcoholic drinks. You can also follow an acid reflux diet to maintain a healthy eating habit.

When putting your child to sleep, make sure that you avoid putting tight clothes to him/her to avoid adding pressure to your baby’s stomach. It is also necessary to position your child in a way that his/her head is higher that his/her stomach to prevent reflux. In case the condition is severe, do not hesitate to consult the physician to determine what causes acid reflux in your baby.

7 Responses to Acid Reflux in Babies

  1. Monique says:

    I’m a new mom. My baby is just one month old and she’s vomiting all the time. It’s so frustrating especially since I’m having a difficult time breastfeeding her and she just throws it all up. Her pediatrician gave her medications, but even that, she throws up. So I’m not really sure if it will work for her. She’s also irritable and cries a lot. I’m so scared that it is dangerous already. I’m really bothered by it.

  2. Dorica Lopez says:

    Hi Monique. You’re probably very worried already. However, be aware the acid reflux is quite common in infants. It happens usually in the first few months of the baby’s life, when the digestive system isn’t matured yet. It happens to healthy babies so don’t fret too much. Breastfeeding her would help since breast milk is more easily digested than any formula. If the acid reflux continues and you think that it’s affecting your baby a lot, consult your pediatrician for further tests. Try to keep a positive attitude, give your baby just a little more time to grow.

  3. Jenny says:

    Hi. I’m not really a fan of giving strong medications like antibiotics to kids, especially babies. Are there natural remedies that are safe for babies? Since they still can’t express what they feel, I hope that there are solutions that don’t have side effects. Thanks.

  4. Dorica Lopez says:

    I totally understand what you’re saying here. That’s why it’s advisable to try the natural ways of treating it. Change the diet, and follow the tips given here. There are particular positioning and clothing recommended for them too. If everything else fails, consult your doctor for other treatment options.

  5. Marian says:

    I’m just a new breastfeeding mom. I’m not really aware that whatever I eat can be passed on to my baby. I should be more careful of what I eat. I don’t drink alcohol and smoke but I love spicy and fatty foods. I feel guilty that this might be what causes my baby’s acid reflux and colic. I wished I knew this already before I started feeding her.

    • Dorica Lopez says:

      It is not said that mom’s diet can greatly affect the quality of her breast milk. You have to observe your baby and his reaction to your milk. If he’s fussy and is irritable, look at your diet be aware of what food could have caused it. To be safe, try to avoid or just take a little of the food that can trigger acid reflux. Don’t feel guilty. It’s not your fault at all.

  6. Pingback: Do you Know what is Acid Reflux? |

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