Babies, like adults, may suffer from acid reflux. Babies also may suffer from it; the main symptom being something we usually don’t think twice about – spitting up. Acid reflux is normal in babies the first three months of life, but after that point it can be a cause for concern. |
Reflux symptoms in babies include: refusing the breast or bottle, or food if on solids; crying continuously for extended periods of time; frequent coughing or hiccups; spitting up; arching back while eating; not gaining weight sufficiently; losing weight; the stomach being tender to the touch.
You should see your baby’s pediatrician if you suspect your baby over 3 months suffers from acid reflux. There are some basic tests, including ruling other conditions out, to diagnose reflux in babies. If the symptoms are severe, more invasive tests can be done, but are generally a last resort. If the pediatrician determines that your baby does have reflux, there are medications that are safe for babies. Some medications suppress the production of acid, some block the production of acid, and some neutralize any acid in the stomach. Prilosec and Tagamet both come in dosages or strengths for babies.
Some things you can do to help your baby’s reflux before resorting to medications are: feed the baby in a fairly upright position, keep baby upright for at least 30 minutes after feeds, burp baby sufficiently during and after feedings, do not overfeed baby, and lie baby on his back with his head propped up. Once baby is 4 months old, adding rice to the diet may help reduce regurgitation. Mothers who breastfeed may try eliminating certain foods from her diet to see if that helps eliminate the reflux.
Babies with reflux are often hard work, and require lots of patience, especially during crying episodes when you know he or she is hurting. It’s not always easy to convince family and friends of the condition, because most assume babies spit up, cry, and act ornery until they are toddlers anyway. Ask your spouse for support and love your baby and it will eventually get better – usually as the baby ages and his or her digestive tract matures.
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