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What is Baby Reflux and Tips to Manage Baby Reflux

Most babies, including my own, spit up. Spitting up, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is a normal process that occurs in healthy infants. In fact, approximately 50% of infants younger than 3 months of age have at least one episode of spitting up per day.

I have partnered with Enfamil to discuss ways to reduce infant reflux. 

Why do Babies Spit Up?

The esophagus is the tube that carries food from our mouth to our stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is a normal process where stomach contents are refluxed from the stomach into the esophagus without any symptoms or complications. 

Babies can often reflux or “spit up”.  As long as they are otherwise happy and healthy with good weight gain, this is considered normal GER. 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the process where stomach contents go into the esophagus and cause complications such as esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) or poor weight gain.

If you think your infant has GERD, please see your health care provider as acid suppressing medications may be needed. 

If your Baby Is Spitting Up Frequently You Can Try:

  1. Keeping the baby upright after feeds for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Avoiding overfeeding.  Smaller more frequent feeds can help reduce reflux.
  3. Quitting smoking.  Smoke exposure can make your babies reflux worse.
  4. Consider a two week trial of a milk and soy free diet. Some babies have problems digesting cow milk protein or soy proteins. For breastfed babies, the mother eliminates all cow’s milk and soy products from her diet for a two week trial to see if symptoms improve. For formula fed babies, they can be given a hypoallergenic formula that does not contain intact cow’s milk or soy protiens such as Nutramigen. This can be tried for two weeks to see if symptoms improve
  5. Try thickened feeds. Thickened formula or expressed breast milk may help reduce the frequency of reflux. Please see your health care provider before thickening feeds or changing formulas. There are also ready made fomulas such as Enfamil A+ Spit up that are prethickened and ready to use. It is thought that thickened feeds work by increasing the “stickiness” of the liquid content helping the feed be retained in the stomach.

Does Reflux Resolve?

Fortunately, most infant reflux resolves by 12 months of age and does not require treatment. However, if your baby is having significant signs or symptoms of complicated reflux (GERD), please see your health care provider. 

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