We have all seen the movies with the baby spitting up all over someone’s shirt, right? If you have a baby and that baby is spitting up all the time, you may not think that image of the baby in the movie is so funny anymore. You may be seriously questioning what the heck is wrong with your baby.
You may know what acid reflux is and wonder if your baby could possibly have acid reflux. To get the answers to your questions you may make an appointment with your baby’s pediatrician.
Infant acid reflux is also known as gastroesophageal reflux and it is a common problem with infants. More than half of all babies will experience infant acid reflux sometime within those first three months following birth. It occurs typically after a feeding, but can happen anytime your baby cries, stains, or coughs.
Babies with acid reflux are usually happy, content babies even while they are spitting up. Usually there is little that needs to be done when a baby has acid reflux because it usually will resolve without medical intervention by the time the baby reaches age 1 or 1 1/2 years of age.
To make life easier on you, there are a few tips to follow to try to reduce the occurrence of infant acid reflux:
• Give your baby smaller, more frequent feedings
• Burp your baby more often
• Change the feeding position
Your baby’s doctor may prescribe a medication to help control the acid reflux. Make sure you read all medication instructions, ask questions if you have any concerns or are not sure about dosage or timing of doses.
• Baby spitting up
• Baby irritable during or directly after feedings
• Baby not eating well
When should you see a doctor if your baby has the above symptoms and you suspect that he/she may have infant acid reflux?
If a baby has normal infant acid reflux it won’t interfere at all in the way the baby grows or in his/her health but you should contact your baby’s doctor if you notice that your baby is:
• Not gaining weight
• Has a forceful vomit that shoots out of the mouth instead of just dribbling out
• The quantity of spit up is more than a tablespoon or two at each occurrence
• If what comes out of the mouth is green or brown fluid and doesn’t look anything like what he/she just ate
• Baby refuses to eat
• Fusses or it irritable after feedings but stops fussing when you hold the baby in an upright position
• Has fewer wet diapers than he/she normally has
• Appears lethargic
• Difficulty breathing
These signs or symptoms may indicate that your baby may have something a little more serious than infant acid reflux like, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or possibly pyloric stenosis. If your baby does have GERD, your baby will be in pain, vomit consistently when crying, or after eating and will experience poor weight gain.
If your baby has pyloric stenosis, the stomach and small intestine do not let stomach contents empty into the small intestine. Pyloric stenosis is a rare condition in which the valve between the stomach and the small intestine is too narrow.
Image by Anthea Sieveking, Wellcome Images, Creative Commons Attribution License.