Acid Reflux in Babies

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How to Know If Your Baby Has Acid Reflux Problem?

Reflux is common in premature babies. It is normal for babies to return after lunch, but reflux in premature infants is different from vomiting all normal light liquid called gastroesophageal reflux disease. When this condition exists, the baby's stomach contents backs up to the stomach and into the esophagus. That causes belching, heartburn and vomiting. Common signs of acid reflux in babies include:

   Vomiting or return frequently after eating
   Vomiting more than an hour after eating
   Regularly return after the first year of life (most children stop at this age)
   Sounds of "burp loaded" or "hypo loaded"
   Pain, irritability or crying after eating
   Difficulty sleeping
   Failure to gain weight or weight loss
   Difficulty in swallowing
   Bad breath
   Sore throat or hoarse voice
   Refusing to eat but hungry
   Frequent breathing problems (coughing, rales or wheezing, pneumonia, bronchitis)

Reflux may include stomach acid that can irritate and even damage the esophagus. If reflux enters the windpipe and lungs, it can cause pneumonia and other respiratory problems.

Reflux may also mean that the baby is not keeping enough food to eat well. In that case, keep a detailed record including:

   What and when the baby eats
   How much is eaten (try to calculate how much digested)
   How often is the reflux

Show these notes to your health professional regularly. Together you can remedy the problem before it becomes dangerous to the baby's health.

Most infants outgrow reflux after one year. It is rare that a child has reflux after 2 years of age. Medical professionals can diagnose GERD easily with several tests. Once the condition is diagnosed, there are several ways to help your baby during feeding and reduce the amount of reflux. These suggestions may be helpful even for those parents whose babies return only occasionally and do not have gastroesophageal reflux disease:

Feed the baby upright (sitting). Keep baby sitting after feeding. Burp your baby often but not violently.

Feed with smaller portions and more often. Avoid spicy, fatty or acidic foods (like citrus). If your child is eating solid foods, ask him to chew slowly and take small bites to avoid drowning.

Thick foods (e.g. milk mixed with rice cereal) cannot help throwing up. However, some studies have found that thick foods can increase the amount of coughing.

Some experts suggest placing the infant face down with an elevation of 30 degrees (on a slope bedtime) for two hours after eating. You can also place the baby on its side.

Most babies outgrow reflux without taking medications. However, there are medications to treat this problem of acid reflux in babies. If the above suggestions do not work, talk to your baby's doctor about medications that are recommended. In some cases it may be necessary to operate. Call your healthcare provider if your child seems ill-fed, not gaining weight or losing weight.