38 answers

Back Arching

My 4 month old has acid reflux and she is arching her back and crying. Could these two things be related, does anyone have a suggestion for acid reflux. I also am breast feeding. Thanks.

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Thank you for all of your help. I have cut dairy out of my diet and that seems to help her back arching and crying...the spitting up continues. I also have a perscription of Zantac. This combo seems to help. Thank you for all of your help and encouragements.

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Maybe you should try going to a great chiropractor. I had a friend that only had to take her baby once and she was better. She refused to give her the meds. Fo some research and find one that is great with kids. =)

1 mom found this helpful

My son did the same thing, I had to take him to the hospital for an overnight observation and to have a series of tests done. The prescribed him Prevacid. It did help but then he started like projectiling throw up so I took him off of it.

My daughter really did the arching of back and crying she was just colicky. It was really really tough! Good luck!


My daughter, K. (GREAT NAME), is 7 month old and she has arched her back since the she was born. She throws herself back, stiffens up and arches her back. If I had to guess I would say the two are NOT related. She does not have acid reflux.

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I've heard that probiotics are really good for babies' digestive systems--you know, the friendly bacteria that's in yogurt. Ask your ped. about if you could give some sort of supplement? I do know several babies who were put on acid reflux meds..

Hope that helps?

1 mom found this helpful

K., arching of the back and crying are classic signs of reflux. Both of my babies had it and most outgrow it by a year or sooner. Zantac worked wonders with both of mine, although it tastes horrible. I had to pump breastmilk and mix the medicine with the milk and then give it in a bottle - a lot of work, but worth it for the comfort of my babies! I would visit your pediatrician to get a prescription.

1 mom found this helpful

They are definitely related! Our pediatrician told us babies will arch their back in an attempt to stop the burning feeling in their chest- I'm not sure it actually helps- but it's a sort of reflux... reflex. There are a number of things you can try... holding baby upright for at least 30 minutes after eating. Holding upright- or at least at an incline while feeding- a wedge pillow for sleep ( you can buy online- amazon, target.com). The pillow stopped helping our little girl once she began to roll around in her sleep, and was ending up inclined DOWNwards! yikes! Make sure you buy one that has a cover, and is firm and safe and stays in place- DON'T make your own, too risky for suffocation!

Our 8 month old still has reflux, and we had to resort to Prevacid, and continue to hold upright for 30 minutes after each feeding. She used to cry horribly all day, couldn't eat, sleep, etc- First we tried Axid- which helps the sphincter atop the stomach to close when it should. Not much help- so we moved on to Prevacid. Expensive- but SO worth it.

Another factor might be getting too much of the "early milk" in the session, and not the later, richer milk. If we switched sides too often, or fed frequently but really shortly (hard to avoid with the fussiness- i know- a vicious circle!) then, I was told, baby feels full, but not for long, and overfeeds on the more watery milk, which upsets the stomach more- the overfeeding. (?!) Confusing? The best advice I gleaned from this idea- was to make sure I stick with one side until it empties- even if we take a break for a while. I also pump when I can (usually morning and night- when my husband is around to help with the baby)- and us feeding her these portions where you know the fatty milk is mixed in with the thinner milk- might have helped somewhat. I know it helped me get a break in the night, so he could bottle feed her.(and hold her upright for 30 minutes after)

I understand what you're going through- it's a terrible time, worrying about baby getting enough food and sleep- when you probably aren't getting enough of these things either!! Hang in there- see your pediatrician- and it DOES get better! With us, it took a prescription. And of course, time. I never thought I'd have trouble remembering how awful it was- but it's seems so far behind us now! You'll get there!!!

Best of Luck! Things will get better soon!!

1 mom found this helpful

Great to hear you are breastfeeding! It is THE best thing you can do for your baby. I don't have any experience with reflux, but wanted to encourage you to keep your nursing up, regardless of what some pediatricians might say. For more support on breastfeeding issues, contact your local La Leche League. They are very helpful and can be a good place to turn when it seems that other people (i.e. doctors, friends, in-laws) are advising you against nursing.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter had the same thing, but we noticed it at 2 weeks. She did have reflux, but also had a dairy allergy. Her doc perscribed her Pepcid. It doesn't stop the reflux, but it coats the esophagus so that the acid does not wear away at it. It did help with the back arching. Most babies outgrow this by the time they start eating solid foods. My daughter grew out of the reflux at 6 mos, but still is seriously allergic to all dairy at 21 mos. I would check with your doc and good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe you should try going to a great chiropractor. I had a friend that only had to take her baby once and she was better. She refused to give her the meds. Fo some research and find one that is great with kids. =)

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 3 months and he has had bad reflux since birth, he would always cry and arch his back as well as throw up and spit up a ton, our doctor had our son tested for pyloric stenosis,just to be on the safe side. Then doctor prescribed us liquid baby zantac the I give to him every morning and every night. I also bought a crib wedge, it is a foam triangle that I put under the crib mattress so he sleeps laying in an upright angle it helps use gravity so while he is sleeping the acid doesn't come up as much. If you haven't already I would schedule an appointment with the pediatrician.

My daughter had that as an infant and yes, arching back is part of it. She eventually grew out of it, so to speak. They are better off being kept as upright as possible, less pain/discomfort. So once they can sit up on their own, the discomfort often subsides. Also, watch your diet. Can you eat less of the things that might cause reflux? Also, is it possible that she has thrush? This can also cause problems while nursing/feeding (crying, arching), but I'm not sure if it's related to reflux. Talk to a LACTION CONSULTANT about it (NOT a doctor). I had two kids with bad cases of it and the doctors were not helpful and don't really give thrush much credibility unless they are growing fur in their mouths (practically)! One dr was a pediatric gastrointestinal specialist and I kept saying I thought it was thrush. He was ready to do some major procedure, but I home treated for the thrush and problems DISAPPEARED! You have to treat the baby AND yourself (and any bottles if you use them and pitch any saved milk)while you're nursing. Look into it. Good luck!

We had the same problem and we put our dtr in her car seat in her crib to sleep so she was elevated, this helped at night. We also had to use infant zantac for a short time, it resolved once solids were introduced.

My son did the same thing, I had to take him to the hospital for an overnight observation and to have a series of tests done. The prescribed him Prevacid. It did help but then he started like projectiling throw up so I took him off of it.

My daughter really did the arching of back and crying she was just colicky. It was really really tough! Good luck!

My daughter has acid reflux. Her ped told me she would probably grow out of it between 6 and 8 months. She's almost two and still has it. She was first on Zantac, then it stopped working, then Prevacid it didn't work at all. Now she's on the only other one for babies which is Axid and it works really well for her. The back arching is the main indicator for acid reflux. Some say they spit up a lot but my daughter only spit up a few times. They say with good control babies will grow out of it. I definately see an improvement in my daughter but I am not sure if she will ever grow out of it.

Both of my children had acid reflux and it was some of the most trying times before I figured it out. With my oldest daughter my peditrician recommended that I put her on baby zantac. It's a prescription and should be compounded for the best taste, other wise it has a harsh pepermint flavor that is very difficult to disguise. I fought for the longest time because I didn't want my child to be on perscription medication every day this early in her life. At 6 months I couldn't take it any more and finally got the medicine for her. I could see a major difference in 2 days. She was such a happier baby and I was much more relaxed, that apparently was why she wasn't sleeping through the night. She grew out of the reflux by 15 months and hasn't had to take anything since. Now that I'm on baby #2 I noticed the same problems in her (I'm also breastfeeding) and I didn't hesitate to put her on it. I got the same results. She's almost a year old and I'm noticing that she doesn't need it as much now. Good Luck!


My son did the same thing. The back arching and crying was especially prevalent while I was breastfeeding. We didn't identify the reflux issue until he started this doing this. There are meds available for this but they do not make them specifically for infants. I will not lie that it was terrible to administer. We tried Prevacid and that was HORRIBLE to administer. We finally settled on Zantac which comes in a liquid form and can be flavored for infants. The good news is, he only had to take it for about 3 months and grew out of the reflux with no other issues. I would also just recommend watching what you are eating and make sure the acidic foods like brocolli, oranges, etc. are cut out of your diet right now. Best of luck.

Please consider that reflux is often CAUSED by or at least *coupled with* food allergy or intolerance, and as such is potentially completely or partially treatable WITHOUT medicating your infant by identifying and removing the offending food(s). And yes, it *can* happen to an infant! My son was just as you describe your little one - reflux, arching, in pain. He was exclusively breastfed, as well. Here are a few links that I found that really helped me figure out what was going on w/ my baby:


For us, it turned out to be cow's milk and soy via my breastmilk (2 of the most common culprits), so I cut those two things out of my diet and had a HAPPY, totally different baby within 7-14 days of going totally soy-free and cow's-milk-free. NO NEED for Zantac or any meds, like my ped was first suggesting. I've since met other moms whose babies reacted strongly to some food via breastmilk, for example, eggs or wheat/gluten, and whose babies improved dramatically once all forms of the offending food were cut out of the mom's diet. That might sound daunting at first, but you can figure out the puzzle by eliminating a food, keeping a food journal where you mark what you've eaten to see if it reduces your baby's symptoms, and if it does help your baby to feel better, then you can always test the food again (called "doing a food challenge") several weeks later to see if it makes your baby's symptoms return. That's how you know if something is bothering your little one - you can be methodical about it. Yes, it takes a little work upfront, but the payoff can be enormous!!!

ALL of the moms I've met w/ food allergic babies agree that making the food journals and doing the diet changes (once we figured out which food[s] was the problem) took a few weeks to really get the hang of it. Even though initially it seemed tough, it was definitely EXTREMELY worth it --> to have healthy, happy babies who are no longer suffering from colic or reflux or intestinal pain or skin issues! Who don't have to be on prescription medication!

Personally, when my baby is no longer nursing, I will likely NOT go back to drinking cow's milk, or even ingesting much of it in other forms on a regular basis, either. I found that I feel better off of it, too (and before, I LOVED all forms of cow's milk, ate & drank generous amounts!!!)... and of course, my baby is CLEARLY healthier without cow's milk or soy. (I never did large amounts of soy before baby anyway).

Sorry to ramble - just wanted to share our story in case it helps you and your baby. Best of luck! And keep breastfeeding - allergic and/or reflux-y babies do *better* on breastmilk (esp if the mother is willing to alter her own diet while nursing) than on formula, so even though some might suggest to you that you switch to formula, PLEASE consider that really carefully because formula (in all its different versions) is made up of typical allergens for babies --> cow's milk, soy, and if neither of those (aka "hypoallergenic") then it's a corn base. So definitely call your local LLL leader (search for you local groups on www.llli.org) or consult an IBCLC.

One last thing --> probiotics!!! Another mom who replied on here suggested probiotics. YES, definitely. Look for a dairy-free version for your infant that is free of major allergens. You simply put some probiotic powder on your nipple before breastfeeding, and you can start in infancy to reap the benefits. Google around on probiotics, infant, food allergy, reflux -- you'll get a better sense of what strains of probiotic to look for. Hang in there and keep up the great work! Mothering a baby who is suffering from food allergy and/or reflux (like I said, the 2 often go hand-in-hand) is a seriously INTENSE job, very exhausting. So just wanted you to know that you're not alone, and that you can likely do more than what your ped tells you.

It could be related. Is your daughter taking any medication for her reflux? My daughter began Zantac when she was four months old. This helped with her pain and constant screaming, but she continued to spit up a lot. Eventually, she stopped growing between six and nine months. At that point, they switched her to Prilosec, which was a Godsend for us. She is now 20 months old and has finally outgrown her reflux.

There are things you can do like prop up the head of her bed and keep her upright for one-half hour after her feedings, but my daughter really needed the medication to make a difference in her pain and spitting. My best advice is to keep in contact with your doctors and trust your gut. You know your child best. If you believe she is in pain, keep calling the doctor until they find something that helps her. Good luck!

Hi, K. --

My daughter had reflux, too, and still does sometimes when she really gets worked up (she's 3 now). When she was about a month old, her pediatrician prescribed something for her -- can't think of what it's called now, but she took it for a year. I believe that it helped. But, to us, the MOST IMPORTANT item that helped her was what she slept in... the Amby Baby Hammock. If you have not checked this out, you should. It seemed pretty unconventional at the time, but this was a GODSEND for us, and I'd have sold everything else we had for her just to have this because it helped SO much!! www.AmbyBaby.com.

She used it 'til she was able to climb out of it at around 9 months old, but I'd have kept her in it 'til she met the weight limit if I could have. Transitioning to a crib was miserable for her because lying flat just brought about more issues with reflux.

I HIGHLY SUGGEST checking out the Amby or other device that can give your baby gentle elevation of her head. I have reflux myself, and it is MISERABLE. You definitely want to do all you can to alleviate that pain from your little baby!

Take care!

Hi K. C
The arching of her back and crying is definately linked to the reflux. When the acid comes up from the stomach into the esaphagus it causes a burning feeling that hurts. The natual reaction to this is arching the back and crying. Take your little one to the doctor and ask for a perscription of Zantax. If you doctor agrees it is reflux I'm sure they won't have a problem writing you a perscription. It is an antacid that is commonly perscriped for this very problem. You will notice a huge change in your little one. The reflux will lesson and your baby won't arch and cry so much. The reflux is caused by the immature flap at the opening of the stomach, which is common. The flap sometimes opens allowing food and acids to back up into the esaphagus. Normally with a bit of time the flap matures and the reflux goes away as a result. It worked wonders for my little guy and many other that I know.


My daughter, K. (GREAT NAME), is 7 month old and she has arched her back since the she was born. She throws herself back, stiffens up and arches her back. If I had to guess I would say the two are NOT related. She does not have acid reflux.

Both of my children had reflux as infants,my daughter would have crying fits shortly after eating. It took us awhile to figure out what the problem was . She took pepcid until about 8 months old and my son took zantac until about the same age
( I figured it out sooner with him, I knew the signs).They both are fine now ,(ages 7 & 5) my son sometimes will reflux if he drinks too much at one time, but it isn't a regular thing. I believe the crying fits are related to the reflux, atleast with my children it was. Hope this helps-J. M

Hi K., both my kids had acid relflux problems. But I didn't know that there was something the doctor could prescribe until my second child. I don't know if the arching back is related to the reflux, it's possible. But have you asked your doctor for medication to give her? Yes there is things out there, my doctor prescribed AXID for mine and we had to go on Soy forula also. I had to give the Axid to her twice a day. And it is expensive, with insurance I still payed out of pocket close to $20. But what a difference it made for my daughter, she wasn't in pain anymore!
M. G.

Those 2 things are definitely related. My baby had colic and when her stomach hurt she would arch her back. I think stretching it out makes them feel better. Have you tried cutting gassy foods out of your diet? Chocolate, broccoli, cabbage, spicy foods? My daughter grew out of it at about 5 months old and then she was the best baby ever. It just took a lot of love and patience to get through it. Good luck.

My little guy also had (still does) acid reflux at that age. It was severe enough that he was on medication...prescribed by his GI doctor. If hers is not that severe, the only things I can suggest is watch what you eat (given you are breastfeeding). Nothing spicy,etc. Think about what aggravates/gives heartburn to you or the average person and try to eat accordingly. Also, hold her up for about 20-30 minutes after she is done feeding. Also, if her sleep is affected, I think there is a special sleep positioner out there that might be worth looking into. Hope this helps...Good luck. I've been dealing with it for almost four years now. However, most little ones outgrow it once they can sit up and walk. If you have any more questions, feel free to email me.

My son did that for a long time when he was little, granted he is severely disabled, however, it was do to the acid reflux. you say that you are brestfeeding, the acid reflux could mean that your diet isn't bland enough or it could be from milk. My sisters twin boys had an acid reflux problem from milk and she was also breastfeeding. I would suggest going to the Dr to see if the can prescribe something to help her out. My son has been taking prevacid for about 5 1/2 yrs and it really helps him.
good Luck!

my sister had the same issue with her son who is now two. she eventually ended up cutting dairy out of her diet and it helped some but the biggest thing was that she had accelerated let down and it was causing him to have swallow too fast. the only way she found to fix it was to pump and feed him from a bottle or to express a little milk then letting him nurse when the flow slowed

Arching her back and crying are symptoms of the acid reflux. Have you found any foods that you eat that cause her to do this? What you eat, comes out in breastmilk, and therefore she is taking in. You could try changing your diet around some.
Also, gas drops and not sleeping flat can help a baby greatly. You can get baby gas drops at the local drug store or supermarket. A pillow under the head of the mattress in her bed with the bed in the lowest position can help. Do no put the pillow in the bed and lay her head on it. It's an increase risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrom). It can be a bad habit to start, but allowing her to sleep in a carseat or bouncer seat in the incline position help greatly also. Hold her as much upright as posibile, for approx. 30 minutes after eating can help also. Definitly do not lay her flat right after eating. Otherwise, if it keeps up, and is really bad, the doctor can give you medicine to help.

Our daughter had horrible acid reflux and we bought an insert to go under her crib mattress that inclined one end, keeping her head elevated to lessen the reflux. I don't know if you are into natural remedies, but the book titled "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" by Phyllis Balch is an EXCELLENT resource for tons of different ailments and has helped us overcome many different problems with our four children over the years. I would highly recommend it above any other. I'm sure your local library would have a copy of it.

Hi K.,
My daughter had the exact same thing from birth to 6 month and I would cry everytime she ate because I could not figure out what was wrong. After months of taking her in, we found that she had an under developed digestive system. We had to put her on a special formula(Enfamil-Nutramgin sp?) It was costly but sometimes you have to play around with the formulas until you get it right. After we put her on that, she was able to digest things better and there were no more tears for mommy. Another tip we learned was that babies are a lot like dogs....they will eat without knowing they are full. If you feed your baby in short intervals, giving her just a little at a time, her system will be able to fill itself at a more even pace. I hope this helps, and don't get frustrated, she will get it right all in due time.

mommy of 6 year old Gracie

Hi K.,
I'm no doctor but both of my children went through the acid reflux. They had to go to a GI doctor and one was put on prevacid and one zantac. We also had to thicken their bottles with rice cereal so they wouldn't spit up as much. If you're not doing these things I'd talk with your doctor about it. Once we did this and got them on the acid reflux meds. we noticed a big difference with their crying:) I hope this helps you!
Good luck!

I had a friend that had this problem with her son. I believe she went to the doctor and he was put on pepcid. He also had her make sure she was careful with when and what she fed him. It did seem to be a developmental/growing out of kind of thing. By six or seven months he was much better. But he did cry alot when put down at bed time especially and he arched his back as well.

Do you eat spicy foods or high acid like Oranges or tomatoes. You may and this will break your heart have to give up breast feeding.
It could be something in your not her diet. Check with the Ped.

My 3 month old also has acid reflux very bad. He was hospitalized for 2 months because he was turning blue and his stats were dropping dangerously low. He was started on Pepcid, and Robonol among other things. His feeds also have to be thickened to a nectar consistency with Simply Thick to keep him from aspirating the formula into his lungs on the way back up. He does arch his back alot, and seems to be very uncomfortable at times, but his meds and the thickened feeds are working for him. I will tell you that the Pepcid stopped working after a while and he is now on Zantac. The simply Thick is very expensive, and I can only buy it at the Children's Hospital Pharmacy, but it is well worth it to keep him out of the PICU and home with us. Hope this helps

Our 3rd son had acid reflux and was put on medication when he was 4 1/2 months old. He stayed on the medication until he was about 14 months old and he has been fine ever since...they (Dr.'s) say that he has a sensitive stomach. When he was about 2 months old we went to the doctor for his check up and we had mentioned to them that he seemed to be really fussy and having problems going to sleep at night and he was spitting up all the time. He was always squirming and just couldn't lay still. I was breastfeeding at the time. I pretty much took everything out of my diet that we thought that he could be alergic too...(i.e., milk and dairy products). I also avoided anything that we thought that would cause gas issues. Nothing seemed to work. There is a prescribed forumla out there that friends of ours had to use for their son with AR. Our doctor wouldn't do it without our son seeing a specialist. The specialist put us on the medication and it seemed to help. It's a pill that disolves in the mouth. I also during that time switched him to formula. By the time that he was 6 months old it had gotten so bad that we would have to change his outfits 2-3 times a day because of the amount of spit up...we had to change our clothes also. They eventually tested him for celiac disease (which he didn't have). We just keep him on the medication that he took 2 times a day. Once we started him on solid table food it seemed to start the slow down process.

I'm not sure if this was very helpful to you or not, but if you really think that she has AR I would talk to your doctor about what is going on with your daughter and let them walk through this with you. For us, we worked really closely with our doctors to make sure that we were doing what was best for him and that they were doing what was best for him also. He is now 2 and has only had one set back since we took him off of his medication...but that was only for about 2 weeks.

For now I would just say that after she eats make sure that she is in an upright position, and that she doesn't get moved around alot. Let her tummy have time to start digesting. I hope that this helped somewhat and if you have any questions please let me know. Good luck.

Has she been formally diagnosed with acid reflux? (Most babies have some sort of reflux because the digestive system has not fully matured, resulting in reflux and spit up. A vast majority of these babies grow out of the spitting up/reflux as their digestive system matures)

Call your doctor to get a more definitely explanation or possible link between the two events before you drive yourself crazy, changing your diet to affect the breastmilk.

My Little guy was born October 1 and he does the same thing. I just contribute it to them learning how to move their body's. Is she rolling over yet? My guy isnt but he wants too. Baby's spit up. So I really wouldnt worry that much unless the pain is unbearable for her and you. Im drinking only water now and thats helped my little guy out a bunch. Keep it up just remember our babies are growing more now then they ever will and theres going to be pain involved for them. IM sure your doing all you can for her. Id try to stay away from any drugs as long as you can. but theres no shame if you see know other way.
I hope this helps.

my daughter never had reflux, but when she got gas bubbles in her belly she'd arch her back and cry casue she ws in pain. a dose of baby mylecon helped, plus i'd have to pat her back to try to get her to burp or lay her across my lags and bounce her gently or pat her bottom, sometimes that would stimulate her to toot and she'd feel better. if your daughters relux is severe enough, her ped can subscribe her an Rx acid reducer like tagamet/pepcid, even though your are nursing she still needs to be burped during and after feedings...no one told me that, so i learned the hard way. try reducing your dairy intake and cutting back on spicy/garlicy foods. it make make her reflux worse since spices can get itto your milk. every time i ate garlic, my little girl got a tummy ache.

HI K.-

I don't know if you have gone to the Dr. but I know there is something they can give your little one for the acid reflux. It really works.
Good Luck!
Jaime :)

My first child had acid reflux- until she was 8-9 mos of age- it was horrible- she would arch and cry and scream,she would constantly through up was slow to gain weight and she would act hungry come up to the breast as if ready to eat and then pull away crying- other times while nursing she would be suckeling and then would move about as if something was tormenting her stomach- after months with her pediatrician- placing her on ZANTAC, PREVACID, even putting her on a formula for babies with feeding tubes I went to a GI speacialist had her scoped and found not only did she have reflux but also severe esophagitius- he reccomended a drug caLLED carafate- and I believe this to have been her cure for with in a few weeks she was able to get into a regular sleep and eating routine and seemed way more content in general- we continued to nurse until her first birthday and she is now 5 and has no signs of it!!! GOOD LUCK B.

I believe it is related. A friend of mine's baby had acid reflux quite intensely and she said that was one of the symptoms. I am sorry I don't have too much more info in terms of what she did to solve the situation. I have heard that tilting the sleeping surface (they make special additonal mattress for maybe 25$?) can help sometimes.

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