Infant acid reflux is when the contents of the stomach are spat out after feeding, and becomes less common the older your child becomes.
It can be a little worrying the first time you notice your baby doing it, so it is a good idea to understand why it happens and how you can help to settle any anxiety you may have.
1. What causes it?
As babies spend a lot of their time lying down and they only consume liquids, the occurrence of reflux is more likely. It will also happen if your baby sucks in too much air or drinks their milk too fast.
2. When does it occur?
It will generally occur after feeding but your little one may spit up after crying or coughing.
3. What can you do?
There are plenty of things you can do to help ease your infant’s reflux:
- Keep them slightly upright when feeding
- Don’t jiggle your baby after feeding
- After or even during feeding, hold them on your lap in a sitting position and gently rub their back – this can stop air building up in their stomach
- Give your baby smaller but more frequent feeds
4. When should you contact a doctor?
In most cases, it is not cause for alarm, and is usually mild enough that it won’t irritate the oesophagus or throat s it can in the case of adults.
However, you should contact your GP for advice if your child is experiencing the following symptoms:
- They are suffering from projectile vomiting - spitting up forcefully
- They aren’t gaining weight
- Their spit up is green or yellow
- Their spit up contains blood
- They are refusing to eat
- It only begins when they are over six months of age
While infant reflux is generally considered more uncomfortable than dangerous, some of the above symptoms can be a sign of pyloric stenosis, which is when a narrowed valve prevents stomach contents emptying into the small intestine, or gastroesophageal reflux disease – when the acid is damaging the lining of the oesophagus.