Baby reflux: How to prevent and manage in babies when feeding

Baby reflux is when babies -- due to the still developing muscles of their oesophagus and stomach -- spit up their food after eating. Usually, reflux in babies resolves on its own. For any concerns, however, it’s still best to consult your doctor. In this article, we discuss:

Mom carries baby to manage baby reflux

Does your baby spit up after eating? If the answer is yes, chances are they might have baby reflux. Infant reflux, which is a common condition in newborns and young babies, occurs when the baby spits up after eating. It can occur several times a day, and in extreme cases, the vomit can be yellow or green in colour. Should you be concerned? What are the other signs of acid reflux in babies? Find out how to deal with baby reflux here.

What is Reflux in Babies?

Baby reflux happens when the muscle that is found between the oesophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) and the stomach relaxes at the wrong time, commonly when the stomach is full1. Because the baby’s muscle has not fully developed yet, the end result is baby reflux.

If your baby spits up after eating, there is usually no reason to be alarmed. This behaviour is normal. Babies will eventually outgrow this condition as they get older and as their muscles develop over time2.

How to Prevent and Soothe Baby Acid Reflux?

When your child experiences baby reflux, the following home remedies may work to reduce instances of it happening3:

  1. Divide your baby’s meals into smaller, more frequent sessions.

  2. Feed your baby while they are in an upright position.

  3. Hold your baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after eating. Give the food time to settle in their stomach and avoid shaking your baby while the food settles.

  4. Burp your baby after eating.

  5. Try adding thickened rice starch to your baby’s food. Thickened rice starch increases food consistency and may reduce the occurrence of spit-ups.

Keep in mind that even though there is usually no need to be concerned, you still need to be vigilant for signs of illness. Below is a list of symptoms for baby reflux to watch out for and seek medical attention.

When to Call Your Doctor

Although this occurs very rarely, reflux in babies can be a sign of an underlying medical concern. Set an appointment with your doctor if your baby is showing any of the following4:

  • They are not gaining weight

  • Consistent projectile vomiting (stomach contents forcefully shoots out from the baby’s mouth)

  • Spits out liquid that is yellow or green in colour

  • Has blood or matter that looks like coffee grounds in the spit-up or vomit

  • They refuse to eat

  • There is blood in their stool

  • They have difficulty breathing or have a chronic cough

  • They are unusually irritable after eating

  • They suddenly experience baby reflux at six months old or older

Even if baby reflux tends to go away on its own as children outgrow it, parents still have the tendency to worry. If your baby experiences any of the symptoms mentioned above, visit the doctor to have your baby’s condition checked. Make sure that you come prepared with all the necessary information that your doctor needs to give you a comprehensive diagnosis. It would be best to write down the frequency of baby reflux incidences, and if possible, try to give an estimate of the amount of food that was spit up. It might also be helpful if you list down the questions that trouble you. Discuss all your concerns with your doctor so that you can be advised of the best way to manage your child’s condition.

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For your convenience, we’ve gathered a few other most commonly asked questions about baby reflux.

Frequently Asked Questions on Baby Reflux

- What are the other symptoms of baby reflux?2

Apart from spit-up, other symptoms of baby reflux include coughing/ hiccupping during feeding, feeling unwell after being fed, crying, and gulping after burping or feeding, among others. There is also a condition called silent reflux wherein babies will show signs of reflux but don’t spit up.  For any concerns, it’s always best to consult your doctor.

- Is there any recommended baby reflux medicine?

Normally, baby reflux goes away on its own, especially if it’s a case of uncomplicated reflux in babies. However, doctors may prescribe acid-blocking medication if your baby has chronic asthma, has a swollen esophagus, has difficulty feeding, and is not gaining weight despite previous efforts to encourage feeding. Consult your doctor regarding the best treatment plan for your child.

- How is baby reflux diagnosed?3

If your baby is experiencing infant reflux, set an appointment with your doctor for assessment. Typically, your paediatrician will start with a physical exam and inquire about your child’s health history. Depending on your child’s case, the doctor may require additional testing for their diagnosis, which may include lab tests, an ultrasound, x-ray imaging, esophageal pH monitoring, and/ or an upper endoscopy.


Related articles:

  1. Improving Gut Health with Prebiotics

  2. Vitamins and Minerals To Boost Your Child's Immunity

  3. Baby's First Food: Everything You Need To Know

  4. What to Look Forward to: Baby Turns 1

  5. 3 Ways MFGM Improves Early Childhood Development


Expert Resource:
Dr. Veena Angle
MBBS, MD (Medical Doctor),
CMPP (Certified Medical Publication Professional), Singapore

  1. How does infant reflux occur (n.d). Retrieved on August 9, 2020 from,

  2. Reflux in babies (2019). Retrieved on August 9, 2020 from,

  3. Infant Reflux - Diagnosis & Treatment (n.d). Retrieved on August 9, 2020 from,

  4. Infant Reflux - Symptoms & Causes (n.d). Retrieved on August 9, 2020 from,