How Much Does The Average 4 Month Old Baby Weigh Why Babies Have Acid Reflux

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Why Babies Have Acid Reflux

You may have heard of GERD or gastroesophageal 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 get acid reflux in this article.

What is baby acid reflux?

Baby GERD or baby acid reflux is the attack of spit or regurgitation of food (milk) swallowed in the stomach back into the food pipe (esophagus). Sometimes the food goes back into the stomach or most of it is thrown up. 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 food is swallowed, the esophagus automatically contracts and pushes the food into the stomach. A valve, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes and lets food pass. The LES prevents food and acid from going back up into the esophagus. However, in GERD, the valve does not close properly or stays open. Thus, allowing the return of stomach acids and food into the esophagus.

In infants, reflux occurs because the LES valve is weak and may not close properly. Second, babies tend to lie down more often and their esophagus is shorter than an adult’s. Thus, babies spit up or burp after every meal. This is usually not painful and is quite normal in babies under 1 year old. Sometimes the milk can mix with stomach acids and come out. This irritates the inner lining of the esophagus causing pain and restlessness in the baby.

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

What are the signs of baby acid reflux?

Babies usually do not show any symptoms of acid reflux. They only tend to spill milk after a feed. However, when the acid mixes with the regurgitated milk, it can cause certain symptoms. When the baby who spits up after feeding can damage his clothes, and even yours, even if he does not seem affected by it, it means that it is normal regurgitation.

However, if it bothers the baby and causes pain, discomfort and crying during or after feeding. Their vomiting is more important after feeding. Some babies may throw up more than they feed and tend to lose weight or fail to gain weight.

Sometimes these symptoms can go beyond acid reflux. They may suffer from lactose intolerance, stomach infections or gastrointestinal disorders. Some babies also suffer from silent reflux that causes no visible symptoms. These babies may cry a lot and appear to be in pain with a persistent cough. However, they can look a bit relaxed when standing.

How to treat baby acid reflux?

Baby acid reflux is not a condition that normally requires treatment. It usually goes away on its own as the baby grows. However, if it seems upsetting for the baby, you can try changing the brand of milk for formula-fed babies, or the mother needs to modify her own diet for a breastfed baby.

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

When it comes to baby acid reflux, all you can do is help your baby get comfortable and burp it all up. If you find it bothersome and worrying, talk to your baby’s pediatrician for more advice.

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