Babies often bring up milk during or shortly after feeding – this is known as possetting or reflux. Infant reflux generally isn’t a cause for concern. It’s very unusual for the stomach contents to have enough acid to irritate the throat or esophagus and to cause signs and symptoms. Thickening feeds to reduce stomach reflux is not advised, as it results in: increased coughing after feedings, it is less nutritive, it increases the chances of diabetes in babies, increases the chances of infections and can lead to a low breast milk supply. If lifestyle changes don’t help, your pediatrician may recommend further investigation into other causes of your baby’s symptoms, such as GERD. Although medications like ranitidine (Zantac) or omeprazole (Prilosec) have been frequently used for treatment, studies question their effectiveness. The main function of these medications is to reduce stomach acid. Multiple studies have failed to show that these medications improve symptoms any better than no medication at all in many infants.
While GER seldom becomes a serious medical problem, caring for a baby made unhappy by GER is challenging. When babies fuss and cry, mothers tend to blame themselves or their milk. They lose sleep because of night-waking. Finding out that a physical problem is at the root of the baby’s misery often helps parents cope with the symptoms. Burping your infant several times during the feeding (after every ounce or two) will help minimize gastric pressure, and the reflux it can cause. Waiting to burp your infant until after she has a full stomach can increase the chances of regurgitation.
Babies with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) usually spit up a lot (see below). Yes, she should continue to breastfeed. It has been found that acid reflux in babies that are breastfed is less severe and painful. There has also been evidence, that some GER babies who are breastfed, have no symptoms at all. Artificial fruit juices available in the market today are full of preservatives and other chemicals. These chemicals may not be effectively digested by the baby’s system and can lead to indigestion. Indigestion, in turn, can lead to gastroesophageal reflux in babies who are breastfed.
Your doctor may recommend medications (such as Prilosec omeprazole) which reduces stomach acid) if your baby has severe reflux symptoms such as choking and coughing. Studies to date have shown little benefit on the whole with this practice, though it may be helpful for some babies. Reducing stomach acid may also increase the risk of infection (since acid can kill off harmful bacteria) our site so these drugs should only be used with careful guidance from your physician. Infant massage has been found to help. Gentle massage can help to alleviate pain and discomfort. Massaging your baby’s skin will stimulate the nervous system, including the Vagus nerve. This nerve controls the digestive system. Our page on massage advantages, techniques and step by step videos.