Reflux in babies is a common condition that happens when a baby spits up after eating/feeding. In some cases, it can happen a few times a day. In some extreme situations, the vomit can be yellow or green in colour. For most parents, this can be worrisome. Here’s more information about reflux in babies and what you can do to manage it effectively when you experience it with your child!
What is Reflux?
Reflux in babies occurs when the muscle called “lower esophageal sphincter” which is found in the esophagus, and the stomach relaxes at the wrong time1. And since babies’ muscles have not been fully developed yet, this usually results in reflux.
Spitting up after eating is not usually a reason to be alarmed as babies will eventually get over this as they get older and their muscles begin to develop2.
Managing Reflux in Babies at Home
Here are some tips on how you can effectively manage these spit-ups at home3:
Feed your baby in smaller, more frequent sessions.
Hold your baby in an upright position when feeding/eating.
After feeding/eating, hold your baby upright for about 20 to 30 minutes to give the food time to settle in the stomach.
Ensure to burp after feeding/eating.
Consider adding thickened rice starch to your baby’s diet. This increases food consistency and may help reduce reflux.
When to Call Your Doctor
Although reflux in babies tends to be harmless, it is always best to be vigilant and watch out for other illnesses. Here are some signs that you should call your doctor4:
Your child is not gaining weight.
Your child has projectile vomiting (forceful shooting of stomach contents from the mouth).
The colour of your child’s vomit is green or yellow.
Your child’s vomit has blood or coffee-ground like materials in it.
Your child’s stool has blood.
Your child experiences difficulty in breathing or has a chronic cough.
Your child is unusually irritable.
Your child suddenly has reflux at the age of 6 months or older.
Should there be a reason to visit your doctor, make sure to come prepared and make a list of your concerns and questions so you don’t miss anything. Try to be as detailed as possible and give all the necessary information so your doctor can give a comprehensive diagnosis and intervention plan if warranted.
1 How does infant reflux occur (n.d). Retrieved on August 9, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infant-acid-reflux/multimedia/how-infant-reflux-occurs/img-20007010
2 Reflux in babies (2019). Retrieved on August 9, 2020 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/reflux-in-babies/
3 Infant Reflux - Diagnosis & Treatment (n.d). Retrieved on August 9, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infant-acid-reflux/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351412.
4 Infant Reflux - Symptoms & Causes (n.d). Retrieved on August 9, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infant-acid-reflux/symptoms-causes/syc-20351408