What Are Infant Reflux Symptoms?
- Reflux contains yellowish or greenish liquid
- Forceful vomiting (projectile vomiting) wherein stomach contents shoot out from the child’s mouth
- Refusal of food
- A chronic cough or difficulty breathing usually caused by an irritated esophagus
- Spitting up blood or coffee-grounds-like material
- Blood in the stool
- Irritability when and after eating
- Sudden development of symptoms of infant reflux after six months
What Is Infant Reflux?
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is a common occurrence wherein infants spit out their stomach contents (Infant Reflux Symptoms). Baby reflux can occur multiple times in a day mostly because infants are laying on their backs the majority of the time.
In children less than two years old, reflux liquid is composed of stomach acid and saliva . Acid reflux in babies usually peaks by the fourth month, and they outgrow it by the time they reach seven months.
By educating oneself as a parent, you can avoid unnecessarily medicating your child.
Symptoms of infant acid reflux may be messy and anxiety-provoking at times. However, there are natural methods that help handle infant reflux before visiting your doctor.
Causes Of GER
As previously mentioned, infants spend the majority of their time on their backs. Once feeding routines change, reflux in infants usually disappears naturally.
Infants are mostly on a liquid diet and intake a large volume of food.
The digestive system of an infant is still developing. The lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle between the stomach and esophagus (food pipe), has not fully developed. With a shorter esophagus and immature gastric compliance, regurgitation is common.
Premature infants may suffer from infant reflux more often than full-term babies because preemies are born before complete maturity at 37 weeks or less.
Colic, which is a common occurrence in the first few months, may be mistaken as GER. It is also often misdiagnosed.
How Common Is GER?
Spitting up is not unusual. 50% of infants regurgitate or spit their stomach contents within the first three months. By the time they reach 12 to 14 months, babies stop regurgitating reflux .
GERD Infant Reflux Symptoms
There are times when a baby with reflux may develop into a condition called GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD in infants occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter muscle weakens or opens when it should not. The malfunction of this one-way valve allows the stomach’s contents along with stomach acid to come back into the esophagus and irritate it.
This condition is also sometimes known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or GORD.
How Do You Differentiate Between GER And GERD?
If your child has severe reflux despite following these recommendations and is not feeding, not gaining weight, or appears malnourished, they may be experiencing symptoms of GERD.
Consult your pediatrician about possible treatment.
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Tip #8: Mother’s Milk
Breastfeeding remains the best option for infants in general, more so for those with infant reflux. Breast milk is digested more efficiently by your baby’s body.
If you are breastfeeding and infant reflux is still a common occurrence, then check your diet. You might be ingesting something that is causing an allergic reaction in your child.
If breastfeeding your baby is not possible, consult your pediatrician about infant formulas that are lactose-free or hypoallergenic.
Switching milk formulas can usually treat acid reflux in an infant immediately.
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Tip #7: Frequent Smaller Amounts
Smaller but more frequent feedings can lessen the instances of infant acid reflux.
Check the bottle’s nipple. A too large or small bottle nipple can cause your baby to swallow more air increasing the likelihood of acid reflux.
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Tip #6: Thickeners
Add infant rice cereal to thicken the consistency of your breastmilk or your baby’s formula and lessen infant reflux occurrences. Consult your pediatrician before introducing anything new to your baby’s diet.
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Tip #5: Baby Burps
Burp your baby often, not only before and after a feeding.
This helps prevent gas buildup in the stomach and bloating that could exert pressure on the digestive system.
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Tip #4: Delay Playtime
Playtime is something we look forward to with our children.
However, playtime involving the development of motor skills may exacerbate the symptoms of infant reflux. Jostling and bouncing your baby may also increase regurgitation occurrences.
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Tip #3: Sit Up
Feed your baby in a sitting position. If your child is not sitting up yet, then hold your baby against you in an upright position.
Put your baby in a vertical position after feeding for 20 to 30 minutes. Hold them facing outward with an arm lightly around the stomach and another underneath.
If your baby finds this boring or uncomfortable, play a “pointing out game”, but make sure that you do not jostle your baby. Sometimes, entertainment works to quiet fussy babies.
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Tip #2: Laidback
Lying on the back is the best and safest sleeping position for babies.
Do not put children in care carriers or car seats to sleep. Do not lie babies on their stomachs in their cribs. These sleeping positions make babies more prone to infant reflux and increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Tip #1: Loosen Up
Tight clothing, diapers, and tight swaddling do not work well on a baby with reflux.
They put unnecessary pressure on your baby’s stomach.
The Last Word On Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux
Reflux medications for infants with uncomplicated reflux are not recommended.
Homeopathic cures including gripe water are also not recommended. Gripe water may even create problems in the blood chemistry of your baby .
Infants less than six months old should not consume anything other than breastmilk or formula milk.
Natural Remedies For Infant Reflux Reference: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Symptoms & Causes of GER & GERD in Infants, What are the symptoms of GERD in infants?, April 2015.  Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition; Pediatric GER clinical practice guidelines: joint recommendations of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) and the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), 2009;49:498–547. Y. Vandenplas, CD Rudolph CD, C Di Lorenzo, et al, October 4, 2009.  Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics Infant Reflux Symptoms(JPP); Is gripe water baby-friendly? 3(2): 207–208 doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.95544B. Adhisivam, April 2012.