Infant reflux is a common problem, especially in babies who were born premature. Treatment for GER and GERD in infants and children include mild elevation of the infant for 15-30 minutes following a feeding, serving smaller but more frequent feedings and thickening of formula or pumped breast milk with rice cereal. In older children, it is worthwhile to maintain a dietary journal to help identify GERD and food relationships. Carbonated or caffeinated beverages may be associated with GERD. In some cases, medications may be indicated. Some babies spit up more when they drink large amounts in one sitting. Changing your baby’s feeding schedule so that he eats smaller amounts more often can alleviate his reflux symptoms.
If reflux continues after your child’s first birthday, or if your child is having symptoms such as lack of weight gain and breathing problems, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in children’s digestive diseases (pediatric gastroenterologist). Ferguson TD. Gastroesophageal reflux: Regurgitation in the infant population. Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America. 2018;30:167. Esophageal pH monitoring. To measure the acidity in your baby’s esophagus, the doctor will insert a thin tube through the baby’s nose or mouth and into the esophagus. The tube is attached to a device that monitors acidity. Your baby might need to stay in the hospital while being monitored.
Nissen fundoplication surgery is designed to fix the weak area of the esophagus. The surgery is performed laparoscopically. This means your surgeon doesn’t have to make a big incision to access your esophagus and stomach. It’s not uncommon for your pediatrician to misdiagnose your baby with acid reflux. This is largely due to the fact that conclusive testing is a rather invasive procedure and is avoided by most medical practitioners, unless symptoms are very severe or intractable with baby losing weight consistently with chronic forceful vomiting or chronic cough.
For someone whose acid reflux isn’t responding to standard medical treatment a doctor may recommend Nissen fundoplication surgery. Frequently burping your baby, like after every few ounces, sometimes is helpful for babies with reflux. Others get fussy when you interrupt try what she says their feedings and spit up more, so you may have to experiment to see if this lifestyle change works for you. Try smaller, more-frequent feedings. Feed your baby slightly less than usual if you’re bottle-feeding, or cut back a little on the amount of nursing time.