Infant Reflux

Causes & Symptoms

Reflux can be common in newborns. But what is reflux in babies? This article covers what causes reflux in newborns and what you can do to help alleviate it.

How common is reflux?

Reflux occurs in roughly 80% of babies during the first month of life, peaking at around 4 months of age.

Why do babies experience reflux?

Reflux (technically known as gastro-oesophageal reflux) can occur when the muscle at the top of the stomach, called the sphincter (s-fink-ter) allows stomach contents back up into the oesophagus (food pipe), usually along with burps. It’s called regurgitation when the stomach contents travel all the way back up to the mouth. It’s different to vomiting – which is usually more forceful.

When can reflux become a problem?

Reflux may not necessarily be something to worry about. problems in a small number of infants including:

  • Poor weight gain or failure to thrive
  • Feeding difficulties like refusing to feed
  • Irritability and unsettled behavior
  • Symptoms like coughing or wheezing

Talk to your doctor or nurse if your baby:

  • Is not gaining weight
  • Has any change in their urination or bowel movements
  • Shows signs of discomfort

If you are concerned about your baby or their symptoms for any reason, take them to see a doctor for assessment.

Relieving reflux in babies

You can try the following strategies to help minimise your baby’s reflux symptoms:

  • Hold your baby upright when feeding, not lying down
  • Feed your baby smaller amounts at a time
  • Ensure their nappy is not too tight to prevent putting pressure on the stomach
  • Check the size of the opening in the teat if bottle feeding – if it flows too fast your baby may swallow too quickly and spit-up the excess; too slow and they will have to suck harder and swallow more air
  • Thickened feeds may help minimise reflux – ask your doctor or nurse about how to achieve this
  • Keep your baby in an upright position for 20–30 minutes after feeding.

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Gaviscon Infant Powder for Regurgitation and Gastric Reflux

Gaviscon Infant Powder is designed to mix with and stabilise stomach contents to help prevent reflux and regurgitation. It can be used in infants over 1 year of age. If you think your child might benefit from Gaviscon Infant, speak to your healthcare professional for advice.

Infants FAQs

To help relieve acid reflux in babies, hold your baby upright during feeding and for 30 minutes after feeding, and try feeding them smaller amounts at a time. If your baby is still experiencing reflux, Gaviscon Infant Powder for regurgitation and gastric reflux can help and is suitable for infants aged from 1 year. Speak to your doctor for advice if you have any concerns.

Acid reflux is common in newborns and can continue for several months. How much and how often your baby brings up milk can vary. Symptoms are generally at their worst at around 4 months of age and usually ease by 7 months of age. Be aware that while Gaviscon Infant Powder is a medication that can be used for regurgitation and gastric reflux in infants, it is not suitable for children under 1 year old, except under medical supervision.

As a parent, it can be hard not to worry about your baby’s reflux. Remember that reflux is common in infants and usually resolves itself by 12 to 18 months of age. Speak to you doctor if your baby’s reflux persists or if you have any concerns about your baby’s symptoms.

If you see your child bring up the contents of their stomach – mainly small amounts of milk and air – this could be reflux. It is a burping action, particularly after a feed, and not the same thing as vomiting. Vomiting is forceful and usually more than a tablespoon amount. Acid reflux is also not the same as your baby drooling, which can be a sign of teething in your baby. Always speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about your baby’s symptoms.

*Richter JE, 2003. Ali RAR, Egan LG, 2007. Malfertheiner SF et al, 2012.

Gaviscon Double Strength: Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

Gaviscon Infant: Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

 

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