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Reflux in Babies

Reflux in Babies
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Reflux is common condition that can affect up to 40% of babies. It happens when some of the contents in your baby's tummy leak back up into their mouth. It usually occurs because a baby's oesophagus is still developing. It generally begins around 8 weeks old and improves as they get older because the ring of muscle at the bottom of their oesophagus fully develops, this stops stomach contents leaking out.

Signs and symptoms of reflux in babies

  • Spitting up milk during or after feeds
  • Refusing feeds, gagging, or choking
  • Persistent hiccups or coughing
  • Excessive crying or crying while feeding
  • Frequent ear infections

When to see a GP

  • Spitting up feeds frequently or refusing feeds
  • Coughing or gagging while feeding
  • Frequent projectile vomiting
  • Excessive crying or irritability
  • Green or yellow vomit or vomiting blood
  • Blood in their poo or persistent diarrhoea
  • A swollen or tender tummy
  • A high temperature of 38 Degrees Celsius or above.
  • Not gaining much weight or losing weight.
  • Arching their back during or after a feed, or drawing their legs up to their tummy after feeding

Tips to help with formula feeding and reflux

  • Offering smaller but more frequent feeds instead of a large volume in one go
  • Feeding in a more upright position
  • Winding regularly during a feed
  • Holding your baby upright for a while
  • Avoiding elevating your baby's head when asleep

Treatment for reflux in babies

  1. If your baby is formula-fed, you may be given a powder that's mixed with formula to thicken it.
  2. If your baby is breastfed, a GP might recommend medicines that stop your baby's stomach producing as much acid.

Reflux in babies - HSE.ie
Reflux in babies - NHS (www.nhs.uk)