Reflux or GERD is caused by stomach acid moving into the esophagus. The sphincter (or “gate”) that keeps the lower end of the esophagus closed will relax, allowing acid to enter the esophagus.
Symptoms of reflux in babies:
Hiccups, crying, shows signs of hunger but only eats small amounts due to pain, screaming hungry but turning away from the breast, difficulty swallowing, frequent spit-ups, irritability, persistent crying, fussing after feedings, arching back, stiffening legs, asthma, hoarseness, stretching body, bad breath, poor weight gain, wheezing, coughing, moments with no breathing, hiccuping sounds as if the child is not breathing for a moment, diagnosis of colic, difficulty sleeping, diarrhea, choking.
Here are 18 Reflux tips that may help:
- Here are some tips for caring for children with reflux:
- Place blankets under the head of the crib mattress to elevate it.
- Hold the baby upright for 1/2 hour after he eats.
- Some reflux babies benefit from rice cereal in their bottle early on, however some may react negatively to the iron.
- A tiny bit of Mylanta can temporarily ease your baby’s pain. Only use under the watch of a physician.
- Be careful with your child’s diet. Avoid acidic foods like oranges, tomato sauce and greasy foods.
- If you are nursing, avoid acidic or gassy foods. Avoid high amounts of dairy as well.
- Baby “bouncy” chairs can keep your baby upright, keeping the stomach contents where they belong.
- Keep your baby upright as much as possible.
- Do not settle for a colic diagnosis. If your baby sounds uncomfortable, he is uncomfortable. Request a pediatric GI specialist if your primary care physician is not able to help your infant.
- If your child is on medication and it does not work, talk to your doctor about trying a different prescription or a combination of medications.
- If your medication works, but you notice your child becoming fussy, have your child weighed for a higher dosage. Remember to do this often!
- Rub your child’s tummy in a clockwise direction.
- Call Children’s Motility Disorder Foundation, Inc. at (404) 529-9200 for more information on GERD.
- Children with reflux can become asthmatic. If your child has a cold, listen for wheezing and call the pediatrician immediately if you have any concerns about your child’s breathing.
- If your child has reflux and remains uncomfortable, consider he or she may be intolerant to dairy as well.
- Be calm, no matter how much your baby cries. It is not the baby’s fault, and it is not yours either.
- You can breastfeed a reflux baby with great success. Keep a simple diet with plain foods, and keep your dairy intake low.