Infant reflux is extremely common and usually does not cause or indicate a problem. Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens during or after a meal when stomach contents go back into a tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. Uncomplicated GER occurs often in healthy infants and usually is not something to be concerned with.
Most infants with reflux are happy and healthy despite spitting up or vomiting often. Spitting up usually peaks at around 4 months of age and most babies outgrow reflux by the time they are 1 year old.
Chances are your baby’s reflux symptoms upset you more than him. If your baby is spitting up but continues to drink appropriate amounts of formula or breast milk and is gaining weight well, it is probably nothing to worry about.
So when should you be concerned? Although most infants have reflux, most do not have symptoms that should cause concern.
If the simple treatments mentioned above are utilized, most infants will improve. If your baby’s symptoms are severe your pediatrician may recommend medication or consult with a pediatric gastroenterologist.
Acid Blockers: Acid blockers are a popular treatment for infant reflux. These drugs block the acid production in the stomach. Popular acid blockers include, Pepcid, Zantac, Tagamet and Axid.
Antacids: Antacids are commonly used to treat infant reflux. Antacids only treat the symptoms, so although your baby may feel better while taking the antacid, his actual reflux problem is not being treated. There are a variety of antacids on the market, many designed primarily for adults. Some popular antacids for infant reflux include Maalox, Milk of Magnesia, Mylanta, and Gaviscon.
Proton Pump Inhibitors: Proton Pump Inhibitors are also used for infant reflux. These medications work to shut down the pumps that produce acid in your baby’s body so that they will experience fewer symptoms. These drugs are effective. Some popular brands include, Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, and Losec.
Most infants will outgrow reflux by the time they are toddlers. If your child still has reflux, however, here are some lifestyle changes that may help them:
The whole family is affected by a baby or child with reflux. If you are concerned your baby’s reflux is not normal, speak to your physician about appropriate treatments.
If you need help determining if your baby's reflux is normal or not, or would like to use natural interventions such as diet, make an appointment with us.