How To Get A Breastfed Baby To Take Formula Why Babies Have Acid Reflux

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Why Babies Have Acid Reflux

You may have heard of GERD or gastro-esophageal reflux in adults. Have you heard of reflux in babies? Yes, about half of all babies under 3 months of age have reflux. Let’s see why babies have acid reflux in this article.

What is Baby Acid Reflux?

Infant GERD or infant acid reflux is spitting up or regurgitation of swallowed food (milk) from the stomach back into the food pipe (esophagus). Sometimes, food returns to the stomach or is mostly washed out. Babies tend to spit up almost every time they eat. It occurs when milk and acids are pushed back into the esophagus or mouth.

Why Do Children Get Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux in babies occurs as their digestive systems are still immature. When food is swallowed, the esophagus automatically twists and pushes the food down into the stomach. A valve, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes and allows food to pass. The LES prevents food and acid from backing up into the esophagus. However, in GERD, the valve does not close properly or stays open. Thus, allowing the back of stomach acids and food into the esophagus.

In infants, reflux occurs as the LES valve is weak and may not close properly. Second, children tend to lie down more often and their esophagus is shorter than an adult’s. Thus, babies spit up or burp after each feed. This is usually not painful and is common in babies under one year of age. Sometimes, milk can mix with stomach acid and come out. This irritates the lining of the esophagus causing pain and discomfort in the baby.

Reflux is not good for children as it helps to reduce the pressure when the child swallows a lot of milk and overcomes the discomfort of the stomach.

What are the symptoms of Acid Reflux in a child?

Usually, babies do not show any symptoms of acid reflux. They just like to spill milk after eating. However, when the acid is mixed with the processed milk, it can cause some symptoms. When a child spits up after eating that can damage their clothes, and yours, but it seems that it is not affected by it, it means that it is a normal thing to recover.

However, if it bothers the child and leads to pain, discomfort, and crying during or after eating. Their vomiting is very important after eating. A few babies may vomit more than they eat and tend to lose weight or gain weight.

Sometimes, these symptoms can go beyond acid reflux. They may have lactose intolerance, a stomach infection, or an upset stomach. A few babies also suffer from silent reflux that does not cause any visible symptoms. Such babies may cry a lot and appear in pain with a persistent cough. However, they can appear comfortable when held upright.

How to Treat Reflux in Children?

Baby acid reflux is not a condition that usually requires treatment. It usually goes away on its own as the child gets older. However, if it seems to bother the baby, you can try to change the brand of milk for babies who are fed with milk powder, or the mother should eat her own baby food.

Give the child small meals regularly, so that the stomach is not too full. Hold the baby upright for half an hour after feeding so that the milk can flow down into the stomach. Allow a quiet period after feeding so that the milk is digested and does not lead to nausea and gas.

When it comes to baby acid reflux, all you can do is help your baby relax and get it all out. If it seems to bother you and worries you, talk to your child’s pediatrician for more advice.

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