Reflux in Newborns

They’re not suitable if your baby has reflux, but no other symptoms (NICE 2015b, Rosen et al 2018) . If antacids don’t help, you could ask your doctor about treatment with another heartburn and indigestion medication, called ranitidine, or a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), such as omeprazole. These medicines reduce the amount of acid your baby’s stomach makes by blocking the actions of acid-producing cells (Ogbru 2016, 2018) . You could ask your GP about giving your baby an infant antacid.

Most cases of regurgitation or reflux resolve within the baby’s first year and require no treatment. GER is uncomplicated, and infants with this type of reflux are often called “happy spitters.” Infants with GER may sometimes experience frequent vomiting, irritability, prolonged or refused feeding, or back arching. If the muscle does not entirely close, liquid flows back into the food pipe from the stomach. This sequence occurs in all people, but it happens more frequently in infants under the age of 1 year.


Antacid helps to neutralise the acid in your baby’s stomach, so it shouldn’t be as painful for him if he brings it up (NHS 2016b) . It may also be combined with an alginate, which is a medicine that helps to keep milk and acid in your baby’s stomach in the first place (NHS 2016a, NICE 2015a,b) .

Surgery is a last resort, reserved for babies who show no response to other treatments and who have dangerous complications of GER. In recent years, pediatricians have come to believe that many of these symptoms are caused by a condition called gastroesophageal reflux (GER). This means that the muscle at the opening to the stomach, which normally keeps milk and food in the stomach until it is emptied into the small intestine, opens at the wrong times.

If your doctor recommends that you raise one end of their cot or crib, use a crib designed for this purpose in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines, rather than raising the mattress within the cot. Be careful to make sure that any incline is small, so that baby can’t slide down the cot; don’t use pillows or anything that interferes with a flat sleeping surface, and always place them feet to the foot of the cot. Patting to wind may make the reflux worse, so simply hold baby with their head on your right shoulder and their stomach in the middle of your chest.

breastfeeding mom acid reflux

If your child has begun solid foods (usually recommended after 4 months of age and not sooner) rice cereal may help to reduce the amount an infant will regurgitate. Start with one teaspoon of rice cereal to each ounce of formula. If your baby is breastfed, try pumping and then adding rice cereal to the breast milk. Even though the prone (on the stomach) sleeping position was recommended for babies with reflux in the past, this is no longer recommended.

This could interfere with breathing causing wheezing or coughing. Breastmilk is full of immune factors (not just antibodies, but dozens of factors that interact with each other) that protect the baby from invasion by bacteria and other microorganisms (fungi, viruses, etc.) by forming a protective layer on his mucous membranes (the linings of the gut, respiratory tract and other areas).

What’s to know about acid reflux in infants?

It also ties in with studies that have not found acid reducing medication effective 6 7. Silent reflux (laryngopharyngeal reflux) is the name coined for when regurgitated milk comes part way up the oesophagus towards the voice box and back of the throat then goes back down to the stomach without any spilling out of the mouth.

As always, you should only take medicines – and that includes herbals and supplements – with your practitioner’s approval. In the meantime, just about every OTC and prescription medication simply carries a warning (on the label, package or both) to consult a doctor before taking it if you’re nursing. That means your best source of information is your baby’s pediatrician or your prenatal practitioner. He or she can give you the short list of common medications that are breastfeeding compatible (and that you can take as needed without getting clearance each time), as well as advise you on whether medications or supplements you’ve been prescribed or take regularly (say, for a chronic condition) need to be adjusted until you wean your little one. Your doctors want to help you and your baby.

Indeed, most medications are compatible with breastfeeding, and for those few medications that are a safety issue there are usually acceptable substitutions. When you involve yourself as much as possible in your child’s treatment, several things are likely to happen. You will gain the respect of your child’s medical team. When they know that you have a good understanding of his condition and his treatment, they will listen more to what you may say about any problems.

Spitting Up & Reflux in the Breastfed Baby

When medication that isn’t compatible with breastfeeding is needed short-term, nursing can be stopped temporarily (with breasts pumped and milk tossed – a.k.a. “pump and dump”). Or dosing can be timed for just after nursing or before baby’s longest sleep period (i.e., after you put her to bed for the night).

breastfeeding mom acid reflux

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February 28, 2010

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