Frequently Asked Questions

Most cases of infant reflux are caused by immaturity of the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) or muscle between the stomach and esophagus.  When working properly, this muscle opens to allow food to pass through into the stomach and closes again once it has.  Most babies with reflux will simply have minor coordination problems with this muscle that will eventually improve in time.

Will this ever go away?

As previously mentioned, more than likely, yes.  Many children will outgrow their reflux within the first few months and by twelve to eighteen months, most of them will have outgrown it.

How do I know if my baby has reflux?

Because infant reflux is so common, many times reflux is diagnosed simply by the symptoms the infant is presenting.  Some doctors prefer to have tests confirm reflux before prescribing medication.

My baby appeared to have been outgrowing their reflux but just recently seems to be getting worse again, is it coming back?

This is where the coined phrase “Reflux Roller Coaster” applies.  It does tend to have ups and downs.  Sometimes it can be attributed to something the child ate not agreeing with them, teething can irritate reflux many times, as can colds, flus, and other common illnesses.  Other times, it can get worse for a day or more with no apparent reason.  The good news is, that just as these lows come, they go again and things do improve.

What is the best formula to use when a baby has reflux?

Every baby is different so it’s difficult to pinpoint one specific formula that is the best for reflux.  If the baby has a milk allergy or sensitivity then soy based or hypoallergenic will likely help the reflux improve. 

Some studies have suggested that acid reflux is hereditary. If this is a problem that you also find yourself dealing with, you can visit IES Medical Group to learn more about what long-term solutions are available to you.

I am breastfeeding but am wondering if this is making my baby worse, should I switch to formula?

The short answer is definitely not.  Unless your doctor specifically tells you otherwise, breast milk is the best thing for reflux.  It’s proteins are more hypoallergenic than that of formula and it’s much more easily digested than formula. If there is a concern about the baby having a reaction to breast milk, try eliminating milk and milk products from the diet first.  Also, it may be beneficial to eliminate other foods that can make reflux worse.

How do I get my baby to sleep?

This is truly the million dollar question for most parents with refluxers.  Babies with reflux are notoriously poor sleepers.  Propping them can be helpful, small frequent meals and try not to feed them too close to bedtime.  If they are on medications, administering the meds a half hour or so before bed may be helpful.

I’ve been told since my baby is gaining weight that his reflux is nothing to worry about but he/she cries all day.  What can I do?

Read our tips for getting taken seriously, getting a diagnosis and try some of the tips we mention.  If that doesn’t work, try videotaping the infant or keeping a dairy of the crying.

Are there any support groups in my area?

PAGER would likely be the best place to start to look for local support groups.  Otherwise, we have a member who has been discussing starting one in Hawaii, contact us for information on that, or try posting on our message boards…some of our members may know of local groups.

We started adding rice cereal to the formula to thicken it but it seems to make things worse.  What next?

Some babies have reactions to rice that can make their reflux worse.  In these cases adding oatmeal instead has proved to work.  Speak to the pediatrician about trying this option.

I heard that Goat’s milk would be digested better with acid reflux, so we tried it and the baby was able to digest it much better than her other formula. However, the doctor said it could ruin the baby’s kidneys. What is the truth?

Actually, both are right. Goat’s milk can be easier to digest and many babies can do better on it than cow’s milk formula. In the UK you can even get Goat’s Milk based infant formula.

The problem with Goat’s Milk is that there are certain aspects of it that are not nutritionally complete or even safe for a baby. The protein is too high which can create too much work for the kidneys and damage them, as well, there are certain deficiencies in some vitamins and minerals. It can be safe if properly diluted and mixed, but it’s not safe to give it to a baby as it’s sold in stores.

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