What Is The Average Weight Gain For A Newborn Baby Why Babies Have Acid Reflux

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Why Babies Have Acid Reflux

You may have heard of GERD or gastro-esophageal reflux in adults. Have you heard of reflux in babies? Well, about half of all babies under 3 months of age have reflux. Let’s see why babies have acid reflux in this article.

What is Baby Acid Reflux?

Baby GERD or baby acid reflux is the bout of spit-up or regurgitation of food (milk) swallowed in the stomach back into the food pipe (esophagus). Sometimes the food goes back into the stomach or is usually regurgitated. Babies tend to spit up after almost every feed. It happens when milk and acid are pushed back into the esophagus or mouth.

Why do babies experience acid reflux?

Acid reflux in babies occurs when their digestive systems are immature. When the food is swallowed, the esophagus automatically contracts and pushes the food into the stomach. A valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes and allows food to pass. The LES prevents food and acids from backing up into the esophagus. However, in GERD, the valve does not close properly or stays open. Thus, it allows backflow of stomach acids and food into the esophagus.

In babies, the reflux occurs when the LES valve is weak and may not close properly. Second, babies tend to lie down the most and their esophagus is shorter than a mature adult. So, babies spit or burp after each feed. This is usually not painful and very normal in babies under 1 year old. Sometimes the milk can be mixed with stomach acids and rise. This irritates the inside of the esophagus, causing pain and restlessness in the baby.

Reflux is not bad for babies because it helps to reduce the pressure in case the baby has swallowed more milk and overcome the stomach discomfort.

What are the signs of Baby Acid Reflux?

In general, babies do not show symptoms of acid reflux. They just have a tendency to spill milk after a feed. However, if acid is mixed with the curdled milk, it can cause certain symptoms. When the baby who spits up after food that can spoil her clothes, and even yourself, yet does not seem to be affected by it, it means that it is a normal regurgitation.

However, if it bothers the baby and leads to pain, discomfort and crying during or after feeds. Her vomiting is more important after feeds. A few babies may vomit more than they feed and tend to lose weight or are unable to gain weight.

Sometimes these symptoms can go beyond acid reflux. They may suffer from lactose intolerance, stomach infections, or gastrointestinal disorders. A few babies also suffer from silent reflux which causes no visible symptoms. Such babies may cry a lot and seem to be in pain with a persistent cough. However, they can look a little relaxed when held upright.

How to treat baby acid reflux?

Baby acid reflux is not a condition that usually requires treatment. It usually goes away as the baby grows. However, if it seems difficult for the baby, then you can try to change the brand of milk for babies with formula, or the mother should adjust her own diet for breastfeeding.

Give the baby small meals often, so that the stomach does not become too full. Keep the baby upright for at least half an hour after a feeding to allow the milk to go down into the stomach. Allow quiet time after feeds, so that the milk is digested and does not lead to discomfort and gas.

When it comes to baby acid reflux, all you can do is help your baby get comfortable and burp it all out. If it seems difficult and worrisome to you, talk to your baby’s pediatrician for further advice.

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