Acid Reflux (GERD) in Infants

Help in the Care of Infants with Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

In 2004, my son Luke was born and at 6 weeks was diagnosed with Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). During the first few months of his life, he cried often, especially after eating. Sleeping was particularly difficult for him. Needless to say, his distress was our distress too!

More than half of all newborns suffer from infant acid reflux.
Some suffer to the point it interferes with activities of daily living such as feeding and sleeping. It is important for parents to observe closely to determine whether their child may be affected. If new parents suspect their baby suffers from acid reflux, they should monitor the child’s spit up behavior, especially after feeding, during bedtime hours and when lying flat. If a parent has a concern they should talk to their pediatrician.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Infants

Some of the symptoms may surprise you. Symptoms for infant
acid reflux include irritable behavior, crying all hours of the day and night, difficulty falling or staying asleep, bad breath, blood in their stool, wet burp sounds, arching after feedings, frequent feedings and refusing feedings.

Treatment for Acid Reflux in Babies

While only a trained professional can make a diagnosis, if reflux is confirmed, there are numerous ways to treat the symptoms.

Positioning is the key. During and after feeding, keep babies as upright as possible in order to keep food from coming back up.
During sleep, raise the head of the crib to let gravity help keep the infantí’s food down. Wearing your baby in a baby carrier and offering smaller, frequent feedings can help too.
As long as they are doctor-recommended, some infants may find relief with medications such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors, which reduce stomach acid.

Acid Reflux Baby Stay Asleep

Once a child is diagnosed, parents must act quickly in order to avoid potential complications such as failure to thrive and long-term food aversions that may lead to refusal to eat. Most of all, take deep breathes, be patient and seek support. Most babies will outgrow this in a year or less.

Guest post by Beth Jackson-Gagne,MS,OTR/L is a licensed occupational Therapist and founder of Baby Stay Asleep, an infant reflux sleep system for the crib.

Return from Acid Reflux (GERD) in Infants to Baby Health

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