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Infant GERD and Acid Reflux in Babies

Infant GERD and Acid Reflux in Babies

It is common for babies to spit up after a meal, and there is nothing to worry about. But sometimes, continued and frequent spitting up combined with other symptoms can indicate that your baby has acid reflux or GERD.

In babies, GERD is usually the result of an uncoordinated gastrointestinal tract. Many infants with acid reflux are otherwise healthy, but some can have issues affecting their brains, muscles, or nerves.

What is Infant GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a health condition similar to heartburn in adults. When we swallow food, the esophagus pushes it down to the stomach through a series of squeezes. In the stomach, the acid breaks down the food. When this mixing happens, the muscles at the bottom of the esophagus tighten, thereby preventing the food from coming back up.

However, in infants, the area between the stomach and esophagus is underdeveloped. Thus, the muscles present there to relax when they should be contracting. This process makes the stomach acid and milk come back to the esophagus and throat, causing symptoms of GERD.

Symptoms of GERD and Acid Reflux in Babies

  • Recurrent or frequent vomiting
  • Constant wheezing or coughing
  • Gas, abdominal pain, heartburn, or a fussy behavior associated with feeding
  • Sour taste in the mouth, especially during mornings
  • Refusing to eat or having difficulty eating (gagging or choking)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Arching the back due to pain while feeding
  • A poor sleep pattern
  • Slow weight gain

Causes of GERD and Acid Reflux

The common factors triggering infant GERD include:

  • Lying flat most of the time
  • Consuming only liquids
  • Premature birth
  • Food intolerance
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis

Treating GERD and Acid Reflux in Babies

At-home GERD treatments can make your baby feel at ease until they outgrow infant reflux. Try using the following tips to alleviate the symptoms:

  • Switch to breastfeeding: If your baby currently consumes formula milk, try to replace it with breastfeeding. Breast milk is more quickly and easily digested, making GERD less severe.
  • Avoid overfeeding: Instead of feeding your child a large amount of milk, offer frequent feeds in smaller amounts.
  • Practice burping: Right after feeding, try burping your baby and avoid bouncing them. You can also give a pacifier when you are done feeding, which will help calm the baby.
  • Hold the baby upright: When you are done feeding the baby, keep them upright for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. This will improve digestion and alleviate any symptoms of GERD.
  • Try feeding your baby solid foods: GERD is generally caused by an all-liquid diet. Try incorporating a few solid foods into your baby’s diet. Make sure to first consult with your doctor regarding this change.

Contact Continuum Pediatrics Today!

If your child is showing prolonged and severe symptoms of acid reflux, contact Continuum Pediatrics to book a same-day sick appointment in Keller, TX. We offer various services and treatment options to ensure the health and well-being of your toddler. Get in touch today by contacting us at 817-617-8600.