Reflux in Infants - Symptoms and How to Help

Reflux in Infants - Symptoms and How to Help

Having a newborn is hard enough. Add in acid reflux and it's more than a mama can handle! So how do you know if your baby is suffering from acid reflux or has something else going on? 

If your baby is experiencing any of the following, you should see his/her pediatrician for an official diagnosis.

  • Is not gaining weight
  • Consistently spits up forcefully, causing stomach contents to shoot out of his or her mouth (projectile vomiting)
  • Spits up green or yellow fluid
  • Spits up blood or a material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Refuses food
  • Has blood in his or her stool
  • Has difficulty breathing or a chronic cough
  • Begins spitting up at age 6 months or older
  • Is unusually irritable after eating

Here is something to consider when trying to figure out if your baby has acid reflux: Up to half of all reflux cases in babies under a year are associated with cow's milk protein allergy. Symptoms can be similar and recommend that pediatricians screen all babies with GERD for cow's milk allergy.

So what are the difference between symptoms of reflux and milk allergies? Below are signs and symptoms of milk allergies in babies via Nutricia Neocate.

  • Persistent diarrhea or constipation
  • Blood and/or mucus in the stool
  • Frequent vomiting and/or spitting up
  • Persistent gassiness
  • Respiratory problems
  • Excess fussiness, sleeplessness, or "colic"
  • Low or no weight gain or failure to thrive

As you can see, a lot of these symptoms are very similar to those of reflux. That is why it is so important to talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns and he/she can more definitively make a diagnosis. 

So what do you do for your sweet baby with acid reflux? First and foremost, talk to a pediatrician for an official diagnosis and treatment advice. Doctors know best! But here are some things we have found that help:

  • Giving your baby smaller, more-frequent feedings.
  • Interrupting feedings to burp your baby.
  • Holding your baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after feedings.
  • Eliminating dairy products, beef or eggs from your diet if you're breast-feeding, to test if your baby has an allergy.
  • Switching the type of formula you feed your baby.
  • Using a different size of nipple on baby bottles. A nipple that is too large or too small can cause your baby to swallow air.


Information on infant reflux found via The Mayo Clinic

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