Infant Reflux Symptoms And Tips On Providing Relief


Babies are born with brand new digestive systems that are not able to handle much more than breast milk or infant formula. It is common for babies to spit up on occasion or even vomit if they have overeaten. More serious digestion issues such as reflux are not as common and require a more measured approach. Infants who suffer from reflux will often face difficulties keeping anything down which can lead to malnutrition if not addressed quickly. Reflux can also become very painful if the condition persists long enough. If you think that your little one may be suffering from reflux, we have some suggestions that may help you to provide them with relief. 

What Is Infant Reflux?

Infant reflux is when a baby's infant formula, breast milk, or other food comes back up from their stomach. Unlike spit-up which comes from the throat, reflux is the food the baby has eaten mixed with stomach acids. During a reflux episode, infants will often spit up the regurgitated food or liquid. It is also referred to as gastroesophageal reflux or GER for short. When it does develop, it is typically in smaller infants. The older a baby gets, the less likely they are to develop infant reflux. In most cases, GER resolves by the time a baby has reached its 18th month. Unlike simply spitting up, gastroesophageal reflux can become painful over time without treatment. 

Common Symptoms of Infant Reflux

Reflux is not a sign of illness, and infants may experience a few episodes of reflux every day. In most cases, this is when the food or milk from the stomach comes back up and caused the infant to spit up. In rare cases, infant reflux can be caused by a food allergy or a medical problem. Blockages in the digestive system called GERD can cause reflux which hinders infant development. The muscles at the bottom of the infant's food pipe take time to develop which is the main reason that reflux occurs. Common symptoms of reflux in infants may include:

  • Seeming sick right after eating
  • Yellow or green spit-up
  • Spotting up acidic milk
  • Avoiding eating even when hungry
  • Coughing during feeding
  • Not gaining weight
  • Generally unsettled during bottles or breastfeeding
  • Hiccupping when feeding
  • Spit up that looks like coffee grounds
  • Gulping when feeding over
  • Projectile vomiting
  • Chronic cough

These are the most common symptoms or signs that your infant may be suffering from infant reflux. Other signs may present as well, however, unless your child is unable to eat or losing weight, they will generally grow out of these episodes as their digestive tract matures. 

Treatment Methods for Infant Reflux

Infant reflux will clear up on its own in most cases. It is generally caused by an immature digestive system so as your infant grows, so will their ability to digest infant formula and baby food. There are some ways to help give your child some relief from the discomfort of infant reflux in the meantime. You should start by switching to a gentler infant formula that has smaller proteins. There are several European infant formulas made from goat milk that is much easier on infants stomach. 

Another way to reduce reflux is to take breaks during feedings to burp your baby. Pair these pauses with smaller amounts of infant formula each feeding to give them a chance to digest their meals. If you are breastfeeding, you can also take breaks to burp and feed for less time each sitting. Never feed your infant lying down, you should also make a point of holding them upright for at least a half-hour after each meal.

Sometimes reflux is caused by a food allergy. For breastfed infants try eliminating certain foods from your diets such as eggs, fish, or beef. If your infant no long has reflux following the elimination of one of these foods, chances are they have a food allergy. For formula-fed infants, consider switching formulas. If your infant is on a cow milk formula, consider switching to a goat milk formula. 

The nipple size on the bottle can also contribute to digestion problems. Extra-large holes or extra small holes can increase the amount of air your baby is swallowing while they are feeding. Thickening formula is not recommended, but you can switch to a specialized formula made for reflux prone infants such as HiPP Anti-Reflux formula

The Best Infant Formula To Help With Infant Reflux

  • HiPP Anti-Reflux Formula – The Anti Reflux from HiPP has developed a thicker formula for infants who are suffering from acid reflux and regurgitation complications. This formula is suitable for babies from birth on. HiPP Anti-Reflux infant formula is typically used alongside medical supervision to ensure proper nutrition levels are maintained. This infant formula is nutritionally complete and can be used as a sole source of food or paired with breast milk. 
  • Holle Goat Milk – This infant formula is tailored for infants who suffer from reflux or sensitivities to cow’s milk proteins. Holle Goat Milk Formula is easy to digest, gentle and offers whole health nutrition. This formula is devoid of eggs, sugar, wheat, preservatives, and gluten.
  • Nanny Care Goat Milk – This goat milk infant formula has low protein alpha-s1 casein levels making it naturally gentle for infant digestion. It is suitable for babies who struggle with cow milk protein sensitivities. There are added minerals, vitamins, and amino acids that support healthy brain development. 

Final Thoughts From Mommy Formula

Infant reflux is distressing but with the right technique and gentle infant formula, relief will soon be on the way. We hope our tips can help you and your little find relief, but make sure to always consult with your pediatrician if symptoms worsen. Here at Mommy Formula is always here to offer support and advice to help you ease any infant feeding problems you may be facing. Check out our blog for more information on various common infant feeding and infant care concerns.

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