Reflux in babies

Reflux in babies © Jupiter
Reflux is when the contents of the stomach come back up towards the mouth after feeding. Read about the complications of reflux and treatments for babies.
Reflux
Reflux in babies, also known as gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR), is when the contents of the stomach come back up through the mouth after feeds. These regurgitations can sometimes be excessive, frequent and upsetting for your baby.
Reflux is caused by a weak cardia (the elastic-like muscle at the entry to the stomach that normally prevents liquids from being pushed back up). All babies are born with a weak cardia as it’s not yet fully developed. It doesn’t close properly, allowing gastric acid and food to go back up the food pipe.
Although common, especially in boys, reflux is mild most of the time and it disappears on its own when solids are introduced to baby’s diet and when baby starts walking, around the age of one.
It can be difficult to distinguish reflux from vomiting, but it’s important not to get the two confused. Vomiting involves a larger amount of sick which is projected forcefully, and when vomiting occurs frequently, it slows down weight gain.
As long as baby is putting on weight normally, reflux is harmless and you and baby simply have to bear with it.
Complications
Reflux can cause breathing or digestive problems such as oesophagitis (inflammation of the inner lining of the oesophagus caused by the reflux of acids). It can also lead to recurrent breathing infections or ear, nose and throat infections, particularly when the regurgitations take place during sleep, when baby is lying down.
If baby becomes bluish or pale when regurgitating, suddenly limp after a feed, regurgitates traces of blood or regurgitates frequently after feeds or during sleep, you should consult a doctor.
Treatment
Baby needs to be calm and in a quiet setting during feeding. Place your baby in a half-sitting position, not lying down, even if you’re breastfeeding. Also, make sure you don’t overfeed.
After the feed, put baby in a vertical position for winding: the best way to do this is to place baby against your chest, with the head on your shoulder. Hold the head of young babies, but don’t shake them.
It’s also recommended not to lay baby down straight after a feed. Later, put baby to sleep on the side, steadying the back with a pillow.
Depending on your baby’s age, it’s possible to thicken feeds with rice flour, cornflour or carob flour. Talk to your health visitor about this first.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication that helps protect the inner lining of the oesophagus from the damage caused by reflux or reduces acid production in the stomach.
Additional tests
If baby becomes bluish during feeds or experiences other complications, further tests will be carried out to confirm the diagnosis, such as a pH probe that measures the level of acid in the stomach, or a fibroscopy.
If reflux is confirmed, antacids may be prescribed. In rare cases, surgery may be required to treat severe reflux.
Published by editorial staff Parenting
21 Jul 2009
Special offers...
Our partners
Advertising


Don't miss...
Ever Wondered What The Stars Look Like Without Photoshop?The Hottest Celebrity Hairstyles For 2014
Ten men who you don’t want to marry 23/04 - Shirley spends the night with Derek
Latest… 23/09/2014
Parenting News
Guides
Videos
Vintage Parenting Advice That Today's Parents Will Love
Would You Trust An App To Look After Your Baby?
12 Ways Grandparents Undermine Your Parenting
Is Your Baby A Boy or Girl? Old Wives Tales For Gender Prediction
All Parenting news
Weight gain during pregnancy
Very early signs of pregnancy | First signs of pregnancy
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy: The effects on your baby
First signs of teething: How to spot and soothe
See all Parenting guides
Fiona Philips on 'Big Mothered Britain'
See all Parenting videos
 

Don't miss out!

...Join our newsletter
Get the sofeminine latest straight to your inbox
  OK
Find us on...