How Is Reflux Diagnosed
Reflux is usually diagnosed by a doctor or child health nurse. GORD requires a doctors assessment and tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Sometimes there may be another problem that causes reflux. You should see your GP or Child Health Centre if your baby has any of the following symptoms:
- Green, yellow or blood-stained vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing, is gagging or choking
Dont Miss: How To Parent A Newborn
Why Is Reflux So Common In Babies
Compared to adults, babies have a weaker valve connecting the esophagus to the stomach. The lower esophageal sphincter is a group of muscles that controls this valve and keeps stomach acid where it belongs.
A weakened valve makes it more difficult for the body to keep the stomach contents in the stomach. As a result, the valve opens more easily and allows stomach acid to travel back up.
For some babies, the stomach contents may only travel up part of the way, in which case the contents will then travel back downwards, causing heartburn or minor breathing problems. If your childs stomach acid travels all the way back through the esophagus, it can cause vomiting. However, some children will not show any signs or symptoms at all.
How To Treat Reflux In Babies
In most cases, by implementing some of the practical steps above, reflux and silent reflux will settle down over time, and no treatment will be necessary. However, if your baby isnt gaining weight normally, your doctor might feel that your baby needs some help to manage the problem, and offer medication.
This might be the case if your baby is diagnosed with acid reflux .
Also Check: When To Find Pediatrician For Newborn
Complications Of Spitting Up
- Most infants are “happy spitters.” Normal spitting up occurs in half of babies. It does not cause crying or colic.
- Normal crying occurs in all babies. Frequent crying occurs in 15% of babies. Crying and colic are not helped by heartburn meds. These meds also have side effects.
- If they develop complications, it’s called GERD . This occurs in less than 1% of babies.
Is Baby Reflux Just Vomiting
Baby reflux is effectively the same thing as posseting, which is when babies bring up a small amount of milk without seeming to mind . Reflux is common in babies under six months for completely normal physiological reasons and doesnt need medication. Baby reflux is also different from gastro-oesophageal reflux disease , which is when reflux symptoms become troublesome or cause complications .
Read Also: How Much Formula Should A Newborn Have
What Is Infant Reflux
When your baby is spitting up, it simply means that whats in your babys stomach is coming back up through their mouth or nose. The official name is gastroesophageal reflux which is usually shortened to just reflux.
Reflux alone is a normal thing for babies, and for most it doesnt become a bigger issue.
Gerd And Pyloric Stenosis
If your newborn projectile vomits in the first few weeks of life, keep an eye out for symptoms of pyloric stenosis, since it can sometimes be confused with GERD in infants.
In addition to forceful vomiting at feedings, symptoms of pyloric stenosis include blood in the vomit, constant hunger, dehydration and constipation. While rare, the condition does require diagnosis and treatment by a doctor.
Don’t Miss: What Are The Essential Items For A Newborn Baby
Infant Reflux And Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion can also be a symptom of infant GERD. Though experts arent sure exactly why the two are linked, stomach acids could reach the back of the nasal cavity in babies with GERD, causing inflammation of the nasal passages.
If your baby has nasal congestion along with other symptoms of GERD, try home remedies for GERD and talk to your doctor about medications. In the meantime, if congestion is severe, try these tactics for stuffy nose relief.
How Do You Know If Its Colic Or Reflux
How do you know your baby has colic or reflux?
Also Check: How Much Crying Is Normal For A Newborn
How To Feed Your Baby If They Have Silent Reflux
While breastfed and bottle fed babies suffer from reflux equally, studies have shown that reflux in breastfed babies tends to be shorter and less frequent than those who are bottle fed. Breast milk is generally digested faster than formula, so it has less time to hang around and cause trouble.
Regardless of how you are feeding your baby, you should follow the advice below:
Feed your baby in an upright position
If you are breastfeeding, you may need to try different positions to find the best one that will allow your baby to remain fairly upright during feeding. Some mothers report success by having their baby face their breast while straddling their leg. Others prefer to stand up while feeding their baby in a modified twin-style hold.
Keep feeds small and frequent
Your baby may prefer to feed often, and this is actually better for them than a large sudden intake of food as this causes less pressure on the stomach muscle.
Keep your baby upright
For at least half an hour after feeding, keep your baby upright. You may want to hold them on your shoulder or perhaps use a front pack or baby seat.
Introduce a reflux-friendly routine
Try to keep to a routine where your baby feeds when he wakes up, so that theyll have plenty of time to allow the milk to digest before lying down to sleep.
Dont let your baby fall asleep while feeding
Catnapping on the breast or bottle always leads to pain once the feed has finished so try to avoid feeding when your baby is tired.
What Are The Symptoms Of Reflux
Signs of reflux include:
- Your baby bringing up milk during or after a feed. Sometimes this can be quite forceful so be prepared!
- Your baby coughing during a feed or suffering from frequent hiccupping sessions.
- Your baby will arch their back or turn away from feeding.
- Your baby may be restless and irritable whilst feeding.
- Slow weight gain.
And of course, the crying. You will find your baby cries and does not settle until they are exhausted
Also Check: How Much To Feed Formula Newborn
Should I Talk To A Healthcare Professional
While reflux is normal and should pass with time, its always a good idea to talk to your health visitor, pharmacist or GP if youre concerned about your babys symptoms. Always speak to a healthcare professional if your baby is vomiting regularly, bringing up large amounts of milk or has discomfort while feeding, so other causes can be ruled out.
If your baby is diagnosed with reflux, your healthcare professional will be able to advise on practical ways you can ease the symptoms and, if appropriate, talk you through the nutritional solutions available.
Our Baby Symptom Checker is a useful way to check your babys symptoms if theyre less than a year old. It offers some practical advice and guidance too.
The main thing to remember about reflux is that although it can be distressing for parents, its very common and completely normal. You may worry that your baby isnt getting enough nutrients, but this is very rarely the case. As long as your babys not showing signs of discomfort or losing weight, theres usually no cause for concern15.
Talking to friends and other new mums can help to reassure you, and our Careline team is also available to answer your questions or listen to any worries you might – big or small, anytime, day or night.
What Is Reflux Versus Silent Reflux
In basic terms, reflux is when acid comes up from your little one’s stomach and burns their throat. You may know that feeling yourself after youve eaten too fast or had a lot of fatty food. Ouch!
As adults this is commonly known as heartburn and although the reasons for heartburn in an adult can be quite different to infant reflux, the results are the same – that horrid burning sensation of acid coming up your oesophagus and even into your mouth.
And this pain is why a bubba with reflux cries. A lot.
Check out our blog that talks about what reflux is, and the various degrees and different types of reflux. This will help you understand what may be happening to your wee ones digestive system to cause such discomfort.
For now though, we want to touch specifically on silent reflux , as this can be harder to spot than general reflux, and may be affecting your babys ability to sleep .
You May Like: What Causes Meningitis In Newborns
How Can I Treat My Babys Reflux Naturally
If your baby is showing signs of reflux, consider these natural remedies for the digestive problem. Breastfeed, if possible. Keep Baby upright after feeding. Give frequent but small feedings. Burp often. Delay playtime after meals. Avoid tight diapers and clothing. Change your diet. Check nipple size.
Is It Possible My Baby Is Just Tired
Absolutely. In fact, its more likely that this is the problem, statistically speaking.
If a baby is crying loads and is generally irritable, but doesnt seem to suffer from any of the other silent reflux symptoms weve mentioned, its essential to consider that your baby could actually be over or undertired, or overstimulated.
Too often babies end up being put on reflux medication unnecessarily, when all they really needed was for their napping and feeding to be more structured according to their age.
The only way to truly rule out overtiredness, under tiredness and overstimulation is to have your baby sleeping as well as they possibly can for their age. Our age-specific Sleep Programs can give you a helping hand here.
Then, if your baby is still not sleeping after trying our Sleep Programs, you may consider silent reflux and perhaps try some of the tips in this post.If things still dont improve, chat to your GP or specialist as soon as possible.
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Newborn Not Sleep At Night
Tips To Help Your Baby With Reflux
You can help your child if they have reflux.
- hold your baby upright for a short time after they feed
- try not to handle your baby too much
- where possible, it may be helpful to change baby before or during a feed, rather than afterwards when their stomach is full.
If your baby brings up a lot of milk, they may be hungry again and you might need to feed them again sooner than usual.
For most babies, you don’t have to do anything about reflux. It is a natural process which will get better by itself. Changing formulas won’t help and neither will a change from breastfeeding to bottles.
There are thickened formulas for babies who are formula fed with reflux, although there is not a lot of research to support how effective these are. There are also many over-the-counter products aimed at reducing wind, colic and reflux, but there is no scientific evidence that shows these preparations work. If you choose to use such a preparation, make sure you choose one that has no alcohol or sugar.
How Can I Cope
When your baby is constantly spitting up or vomiting it can get a bit tiresome for mommies as they always have to change the babys clothes, bibs and quite often their own clothes, and everything else that gets soiled. You neednt worry, there are some useful tips that can help you cope:
- Always carry wet wipes and a bottle of water
- Always carry some extra baby clothing whenever you go somewhere
- Carrying a poly bag for dirty clothes, as well
- Dress up your little one in comfortable and loose clothing changes are easier that way
- Use washable covers for your babys car seat and stroller
- Use washable covers on chairs, sofa, the bed, or any other place where you might sit with your little one
Also Check: Why Are Newborns So Fussy At Night
How Is It Treated
Most babies stop having reflux over time, so the doctor may just suggest that you follow some steps to help reduce the problem until it goes away. For example, it may help to:
- Burp your baby a few times during each feeding.
- Keep your baby upright for 30 minutes after each feeding. Avoid a “car seat position,” because sitting can make reflux worse in babies.
- Avoid feeding too much at one time. Give your baby smaller meals more often.
- Thicken your baby’s formula with a small amount of rice cereal if your doctor recommends it.
- Keep your baby away from smoky areas.
For older children and teens, it may help to:
- Avoid large meals before exercise.
- Raise the head of your child’s bed 15 cm to 20 cm . Using extra pillows does not work.
- Have your child stay upright for 2 to 3 hours after eating.
- Serve 5 or 6 small meals instead of 2 or 3 big ones.
- Limit foods that might make reflux worse. These include chocolate, sodas that have caffeine, spicy foods, fried foods, and high-acid foods such as oranges and tomatoes.
- Keep your child away from smoky areas.
If these steps don’t work, the doctor may suggest medicine. Medicines that may be used include:
Before you give your child any over-the-counter medicine for reflux:
Children with reflux rarely need surgery. It may be an option for babies or children who have severe reflux that causes breathing problems or keeps them from growing.
Its Frustrating For You And Your Reflux Baby
Logan didnt have colic. I could not get that through peoples heads. When you tell people that your baby is fussy, they automatically think that its colic. But Logan didnt have the typical signs of colic such as crying for hours on end at a certain time of the night or day. Many reflux babies do, I know. But mine didnt. I hated that no one was understanding my specific situation.
I was always able to console my baby . So the pediatrician told me that I was lucky that I am able to console my reflux baby. He said I should be thanking my lucky stars that I could get him to fall asleep because many parents that have a baby that suffers from colic arent able to get their babies to stop crying at all for 3 or more hours at a time.
Right. Ok, so Im really glad that Im not in that boat, but Im in a different, very real boat and its sinking fast. My baby was in constant pain, he couldnt stay asleep and I was experiencing real anxiety about it. So why didnt anyone have any answers for me? Does anyone else feel this way?
Logan was miserable for a long time. He cried after most feedings, he made this awful grunting, straining sound all night long, and he always threw up more than what I could possibly believe was normal. The most stressful symptom of all though? He never slept. He would fall asleep just fine but constantly wake throughout the night and never took more than 20-30 min naps during the day.
Read Also: How To Prevent Gas In A Newborn
You May Like: What To Do If Newborn Baby Is Constipated