How To Tell If Ready To Feed Formula Is Spoiled Why Babies Have Acid Reflux

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Why Babies Have Acid Reflux

You may have heard of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux in adults. Have you heard of infant reflux? Well, about half of babies under 3 months old have reflux. In this article, we will look at why children have acid reflux.

What is baby acid reflux?

Baby GERD, or baby acid reflux, is the spitting up or backflow of food (milk) swallowed into the stomach into the esophagus (esophagus). Sometimes food goes back into the stomach or is mostly regurgitated. Babies tend to spit up almost after every feeding. This happens when milk and acid are pushed back up into the esophagus or mouth.

Why do babies experience acid reflux?

Babies develop acid reflux because their digestive systems are immature. When food is swallowed, the esophagus automatically contracts and pushes the food down into the stomach. A valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes and allows food to pass through. The LES prevents food and acids from backing up into the esophagus. But in GERD, the valve doesn’t close properly or stays open. Thus allowing stomach acids and food to flow back into the esophagus.

Babies develop reflux because the LES valve is weak and may not close properly. Second, babies tend to lie down most often and have a shorter esophagus than an adult. So babies spit up or burp after every feeding. This is usually not painful and is quite normal in babies under 1 year of age. Sometimes milk can mix with stomach acids and form. It irritates the lining of the esophagus, causing pain and restlessness in the child.

Reflux is not bad for babies as it helps reduce pressure when the baby has swallowed more milk and relieves colic pain.

What are the signs of acid reflux in a baby?

Babies generally do not show symptoms of acid reflux. They tend to just let out milk after feeding. However, if the acid is mixed with the refluxed milk, it can cause certain symptoms. If a baby who spits up after feeding, which can ruin their clothes and even yours, doesn’t seem to work, it means it’s normal regurgitation.

However, if it disturbs the baby and causes pain, discomfort and crying during or after feeding. Their vomiting is significant after feeding. Some babies may vomit more than they feed and tend to lose weight or fail to gain weight.

Sometimes these symptoms can go beyond acid reflux. They may suffer from lactose intolerance, stomach infections or digestive disorders. Some children also suffer from silent reflux, which causes no visible symptoms. Such babies may cry a lot and appear to be in pain due to a persistent cough. However, they can feel a little relaxed when held upright.

How to treat baby acid reflux?

Acid reflux in a baby is not a condition that requires normal treatment. It usually goes away on its own as the child grows. However, if it seems disturbing to the baby, you can try to change the brand of milk for formula-fed babies, or the mother herself has to adjust her diet for the breastfed baby.

Give the child small meals often so that the stomach does not get too full. Keep the baby in an upright position for at least half an hour after feeding so that the milk can flow into the stomach. Allow a quiet period after feeding to allow the milk to digest and not cause discomfort or gas.

When it comes to baby acid reflux, all you can do is help your baby get comfortable and burp it all out. If this seems troublesome and worrying to you, consult your child’s pediatrician.

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