Coping With Baby’s Acid Reflux

Babies often bring up milk during or shortly after feeding – this is known as possetting or reflux. The doctor can rule out other conditions or confirm a GERD diagnosis. They can also suggest certain lifestyle changes that may help treat your baby’s GERD or acid reflux. You could ask your GP about giving your baby an infant antacid. Antacid helps to neutralise the acid in your baby’s stomach, so it shouldn’t be as painful for him if he brings it up (NHS 2016b). It may also be combined with an alginate, which is a medicine that helps to keep milk and acid in your baby’s stomach in the first place (NHS 2016a, NICE 2015a,b).

All this information will help your doctor to work out whether your baby needs to be referred to a specialist for extra care, tests or treatment (NHS 2016a, NICE 2015a). Feed little and often, so your baby’s tummy doesn’t get too full. Some parents find it helpful to prop their baby up at a 45° angle after a feed, either in a baby chair or just holding them sitting to allow the milk to settle into the stomach. Try this for at least half an hour after each feed – longer for formula milk since it takes longer to digest.

If you’re breastfeeding, you can give your baby infant antacid mixed with cooled, boiled water after a feed (NICE 2015b). You can give your baby the correct dose of the antacid on a spoon or in a bottle (NICE 2015b). If these measures don’t work, she may prescribe medication. Some babies respond right away to antacids or acid blockers. (But never give these medications to your baby without consulting a doctor.) Your baby may be on the medication for a few months. Although GER is not so difficult to spot, quite often it passes unnoticed because parents are not aware that babies can suffer from the effects of acid reflux. Although all babies spit up from time to time, it is necessary to be able to discern the difference between normal spitting up and recurring vomiting in order to arrive at a diagnosis.

Upper GI endoscopy. This is done using an endoscope (a thin, flexible, lighted tube and camera) that allows the doctor to look directly inside the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. pH probe. During the test, your child is asked to swallow a long, thin tube with a probe at the tip that will stay in the esophagus for 24 hours. The tip is positioned, usually at the lower part of the esophagus, and measures levels of stomach acids. It also helps determine if breathing problems are the result of GERD.

Researchers aren’t sure whether decreasing stomach acid lessens reflux in infants. This is one of the most common signs of acid reflux in older children and adults, but it may be hard to recognize in infants. Also, if some of the stomach contents get into the nose or lungs, a baby with GERD might develop respiratory problems like pneumonia , a cough at night, or sinus or ear infections. The click this stomach acid can also damage tooth enamel. Another test your baby may have is a 24-hour pH probe study. In this procedure, he’s checked into the hospital overnight and a very thin tube is threaded through the nose down to the base of his esophagus and monitored for 24 hours. This test measures the frequency and severity of reflux episodes as well as the baby’s breathing and heart rate.

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