Acid Reflux in Babies | How to Get Rid of Your Child’s Heartburn Now
Acid reflux in babies is extremely common but many parents go through multiple diagnoses before acknowledging this could be the problem. Lots of people think that heartburn is an adult problem with our adult diets and our adult lifestyles, but we’re not the only ones.
Babies get heartburn and GER just like the rest of us. What’s the difference between GER and GERD? GERD is a full process that can be a disease (hence the d) whereas infants generally have GER: a one-time spitting up which can become frequent. This occurs between 1 to 4 months old and in most cases is over by the time the child is 1. In more than half the cases the heartburn appears in only the first 3 months.
Did You Know Colic = Heartburn?
Parents may initially think their child is lactose intolerant or just being colicky. They may not realize that he or she is just as susceptible to heartburn as the rest of us. We tend to think of our unhealthy lifestyles of eating fattening foods and habits like smoking contributing to our acid reflux, but it affects infants in exactly the same way. It can be frustrating for a parent to not know how to help when the child is crying. And there are fewer options available to help your infant when they are experiencing pain from heartburn, however.
Heartburn is not just caused by what we eat-although that can play a big role. In adults and in children, the term Gastroesophageal Reflux is used to describe the condition where the stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus causing pain. Babies that are breast-fed have been shown to have less severe episodes of heartburn then babies on the bottle. Mother’s milk is easily digested and this shortens the time it would take for the acid to back up into the esophagus.
As their symptoms disappear typically by the time they are 12 months old, most babies don’t require treatment. However, in a small number of infants the symptoms of acid reflux are so severe that medical evaluation is needed. Here are some simple signs of acid reflux.
The most common infant GER/heartburn symptoms are:
- Frequent spitting up or vomiting
- Persistent cough and/or “Wet” burps
- Refusing food, eating only small portions, or irritability when feeding
- Constant crying when feeding
- Frequent hiccuping
- Poor sleeping with many wakeups
- An odor of sour, or bad breath
Common Remedies For Acid Reflux in Babies
The treatment of infant reflux depends entirely on the severity of the problem. Your pediatrician may decide no medical attention is required and that the reflux will go away as your baby grows older. If your baby is otherwise healthy and happy the doctor may only recommend a few changes in your baby’s diet to ease the acid reflux problem. You can look to some popular home remedies for heartburn right on this site. If the heartburn is more severe, or if they have been diagnosed with GERD, the doctor may prescribe Prevacid or Gaviscon twice a day to help treat the reflux.
If you have not seen your baby’s doctor yet here are a few things you can try on your own to see if that helps with the reflux:
- Keep your baby in an upright position while feeding and for a short period of time afterward.
- Try using an “infant feeding wedge” which helps your baby maintain the optimal position during feeding. The idea is to put very little pressure on the baby’s stomach.
- If you are breast-feeding, take a look at the foods you are eating that might be causing any allergy issues. Highly acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits and even yogurt or sour cream could be the culprit as well.
- Try to keep your baby from overfeeding and nursing constantly. Overfilling his stomach could cause a reader education of gastric acid.
Always remember that heartburn, acid reflux and spitting up occurs in nearly all healthy babies who are still adjusting to life. Any search online for how to get rid of heartburn will pull up thousands of opinions. Immediately resorting to medication can alter the delicate balance that exists in your growing infant’s stomach. Acid reflux in babies might be a little tougher to treat than in adults but hopefully soon your little one will be rid of his heartburn before his first birthday.
Pediatrician Dr. David Hill on Treating Acid Reflux in Babies
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