25 answers

Newborn with Acid Reflux and Painful Gas

My daughter is 4 weeks old and has been suffering from acid reflux and painful gas since she was 1 week old. I need advice/suggestions/opinions from anyone who has been through this.

We started out with regular Similac Advance. I believe that is what caused the problems. Our pediatrician put her on Prevacid for the reflux, and then the painful gas started, so we switched formula to Enfamil for fussiness and gas. We also used the Mylicon drops. After a week of Enfamil and Mylicon drops the gas only got worse. The relfux cleared up during the day but is so horrible at night that we can hear it all gurgling in her throat and in her nasal passages. There were times when the formula even came out her nose. It is so loud and disruptive that no one is getting any sleep. I've been in constant contact with our pediatrician who is baffled as to why this is only happening at night. He wants us to switch formula again to Enfamil Nutramigen and if that doesn't work then we have to go to a GastroIntestinal doctor.

I've been researching the Nutramigen online and according to what I've found, it is for babies who are allergic to cow's milk but doesn't say anything about needing it for reflux or gas. Any idea why this Nutramigen should be tried?

I also had been reading about Nestle Good Start, and online posts saying that Nestle helped their babies with gas, so I tried it and after 3 days of that formula, she still has painful gas.

So, any ideas on what causes reflux and gas as well as how to get rid of it? It is hearbreaking to watch your child be in SO MUCH pain and not be able to help her. Our older daughter had reflux when she was a newborn, but we put her on prevacid and it went away. We never had this much trouble. Help, please!!!!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My son had painful gas and hard bm's when he was on formula- and my Dr never suggested, but my girlfriend did- I started using the iron free formula, When I told my pediatrician he was ok with that then prescribed an iron supplement for him- silly me bought it, knowing that the gas and pain was gone for my son, when we left out the extra iron. And I am certainly a believer in old time remedies- regardless of the possible side effects. I used Karo syrup as well helping with constipation. there are possible side effects to anyting you might try- so I chose to go with my heart and faith- that my choices would be the right ones for myson

Along with finding the right formula you might try a chiropractor. I have in the last year started seeing one. It has helped me so much. I know that they can help with acid reflux, etc..in kids too. Good luck!

the most awesome thing that we used was
MYLECON drops (that's spelled wrong) there's
also a generic form made made by Similison, but it
helps so much! I've found it in the baby aisle at
Wal-mart as well as the pharmacy! It's perfectly
safe....we loved it ... it helped the babies
feel so much better!
Another thing you may try is grabbing both of the
baby's legs and bend them up toward their nose a
few times, that helps get rid of some of that gas.

More Answers

I can feel your pain,hang in there,it will get better. My newborn had horrible acid reflux too and was in a lot of pain especially at night.she used to cry incessantly throughout the night and It was hard to watch helplessly.Sometimes she used to refuse feeding because of her pain.She was put on prevacid at first but that didn't suit her at all and she started vomiting a lot so later it was changed to Zantac.I was told to keep her upright for 3o minutes after every feeding and to keep her head elevated during sleep and especially at night.I was breastfeeding and avoided everything that could produce gas.Also she was on enfamil but we changed to Goodstart and that seemed to suit her better. Zantac every 12 hrs was the key though that seemed to help.I used a pillow to elevate her mattress so her head was elevated in the crib.All that seemed to work and she slept better.At around 12 months we stopped zantac completely once she started adult food and it has been good.

About reflux coming more in the night the ped said its because of there is extra acid in her body and by evening all the acid starts coming up especially at night with her body horizontal it hurts even more and that is why the elevated posture might help. Hang in there..hugs to you

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C. - oh boy did we go through this with our DD. She had GERD and it was a MESS. We tried everything including Zantac and Prevacid. I'm sure you know the medical cause of reflux is that the valve in their esophagus is not strong enough to close to keep the liquid food (formula or breastmilk) from rolling back up when they lay down or burp. If it is actual clinical reflux, chiropractic won't help heal the valve (we tried that with DD too!)

We did end up on Nutramagin and while it was expensive (we called it liquid gold) it helped the fussiness SO much. The only problem is that since it was so "thin" the GERD was worse. So to help that (after we ended up in the Children's ER one night) the doctor told us to add 1tsp of rice cereal for every ounce of formula. We then took her to a pediatric GI who told us the same. We found that was a little thick for her, so we did 1tsp of rice cereal per 2oz of formula. That was the magic trick. Between the Nutramagin and the rice cereal it was great. You will have to use either X-cut or fast flow nipples since the formula will be thicker, but it helps hold their food in their tummies rather than it rolling back up their esophagus. We also got her a crib wedge (got ours at Babies R Us) and that did the rest. Its just a little pie shaped piece of foam you put under the head of the mattress to raise their head/upper body up some.

Trust me - we were ready to move to an Amby bed and surgery (she had already been scoped) and this did the trick. Feel free to send me a private message if you want to! Best of luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

Both my boys struggled with this as babies, the first to an alarming degree; screaming and vomiting after feeding, crying for hours as I held him, walking and singing until his tummy would feel better, only to have it happen again next time he ate. It turns out that the underlying problem that contributed to the acid reflux was an allergy to milk and soy proteins that in most babies is outgrown by the age of 9 months. I am not a doctor so the way I explain it might seem simplistic, but basically the intestines of the baby are not always fully developed at birth and there are microscopic fissures in them that allow proteins to irritate the lining, causing stomach distress, diarrhea which is frothy/has mucus, and other gastrointestinal trouble.

Here's how we found it: I nursed him but he would scream and projectile vomit after each feeding when he wasn’t having viciously acidic diarrhea attacks. We saw the pediatrician almost daily the first 2-3 weeks. We tried soy formula (before we knew it was a proteins allergy) which made it 10 times worse, we tried Alimentum and Nutramigen which also didn’t resolve it (although Alimentum was probably the one that helped the most). So after about 4 weeks we went to a pediatric gastrointestinal doctor when the other formulas and acid reflux medicine didn’t work. The Ped GI said “treat the problem, not the symptom.” I cut all dairy and soy from my diet and tried to keep nursing but it was only half better. So on her advice, we put my son onto a formula called Neocate, and literally within hours we saw improvement, and in less than 2 days he stopped vomiting/diarrhea/acid reflux and started gaining weight. We continued the antacid for 1-2 weeks but by then the problem was gone. He was on Neocate (and I still nursed him restricting all dairy/soy from my diet) until about 7 months when we went to part Neocate/part Alimentum, and then by 9 months all Alimentum. We delayed milk and soy from his diet until he was 1 year old, and he’s been great since. When my second son had the same initial problem, we went right to Neocate and he too was fine.

Neocate is only available by special order through a pharmacy (usually takes 1 day to get it in) or from a children’s hospital, and it is terribly expensive, but it works. It was explained to me that it is as pre-processed a product as you can get, basically broken down to the simplest nutrients (amino acids) possible, and thus less likely to irritate the GI tract. It was $35 a can, and a can doesn’t even last a week, but I would advise you to try 1 can to see how she does. It can take a couple of days for her system to settle, but once it does, if it works, you will almost cry with joy that she finally has relief and you can have this thing called “sleep” once again in your life. If Neocate works, you can save money on it in a couple of ways: ask your doctor to write a prescription for it, and turn it in to your insurance company (ours didn’t pay but some do). Since our insurance didn’t cover it, we saved the receipts and itemized the cost on our taxes, which gave us some money back. I also started ordering it online by the case directly from the manufacturer (1 case was 4 cans) and that saved about 20% and had free shipping. It was a lot of money to us, but in the end, it was worth it to make the pain go away and to help him put on weight and grow. I used to tell my husband that our son was drinking his college fund, but today when I look at my health, happy 5 year old, I don’t remember the cost so much as the absolute relief I felt when he didn’t hurt anymore.

So for us, turned out that acid reflux was just one symptom of several, but when we finally figured out the underlying problem, all symptoms went away. We never gave up, and our pediatrician and pediatric GI never gave up, and I hope you can find ones as good as ours - we were very lucky to have them. Best of luck to you, my heart goes out to you and your daughter.

1 mom found this helpful

I suggest that you try a chiropractor. And make sure to talk to them specifically about the problems she is having. They should be able to give you some advice on ways to combat this naturally.

Hi C.,

We had a similar experience with our son...he would have the formula come up through his nose as well...totally breaks your heart to see them in pain. Anyway, our dr. put him on Axid for the reflux as well as Similac's Advance formula for gas. The best thing we did though was begin to use Dr. Browns bottles. For what ever reason that straw-like thing is amazing. He was a completely different baby when we switched to those bottles. He was even taken off the Axid shortly after because he was doing so well.

Good luck,
K.

This sounds like both my boys--they were born with an immature esophogal sphincter, so they would projectile vomit everything up. What helped us was a combination of Prevacid and Nutramigen formula. It was expensive, but WORKED. We were able to be off the meds by about 4-6 months, and switched to soy formula with both boys around 6-9 months.

If your baby is not on a reflux wedge... buy one!! or have them sleep partially upright in a carseat. Laying flat is terrible for the reflux babies. Also look into the side effects of Previcid... my reflux baby instantly turned "colicky" when I put her on previcid... I changed her to baby Zantac and she was so much better!
Instead of the gas drops, get the ok from your peds doctor to give her very small amounts of mylanta (like just coating the nuk and giving it to her)... this can soothe the burning in the throat from the excess acid.
I have had two babies with really bad reflux and know that formula can also really make a difference... mine were both lactose intolerant besides. It seems like things are all stacked up against you at first.. but once you get the mixture/treatment right you know that you will see your baby finally happy. Keep trying different things until you can see that she is comfortable.. you owe it to you and your baby!!

Hi C., I feel for you and hope you find some answers soon! I have a 20 month old who acted similiar to your daughter. (colic...yeah whatever that is) My son DID NOT tolerate Prevacid at all..in fact, he seemed to be worse on it. We swiched him to Zantac and it did help more so than the prevacid. I had a suspected that he might not be tolerating milk (I was breastfeeding and didn't consume much for milk products) but never went down that path until he was 6 months old. At that age he started developing rashes and hives whenever he had milk products....nothing severe but definately very noticable. (He also was a baby who had eczema, craddle cap, wierd body rashes....should've been my first clue) We had him blood tested for allergies and the only thing that showed up was peanuts. Milk was negative. Hmmm I thought. At 11 months old, he had a anaphalactic reaction to mac n cheese he had eaten. Scary. Blood tested him again and sure enough...came back positive. So I think even though you could have him tested for allergies now, it may not show up right away. Sometimes our immune system has to have enough exposure (meaning over a period of time) before it will give you a positive blood test. I am not an expert though :) It certianly sounds like you may have a good enough case to just presume he has a milk allergy until furter confirmed. I would try the amino acid formula first because a lot of times those kids that are allergic to milk are also allergic to soy. Not the case with my son..thank goodness cuz soy is in everything!

Also, my son slept in his baby swing until he outgrew it. We also tightly swaddled him which helped tremendously. (we used a miracle blanket and loved it)

Milk allergies are outgrown about 85% of the time by the time kids are 3-5 years old....sometimes earlier. So, as an infant, it's easy to control their diet. But as they get older and eat table food it becomes more challenging but not impossible.

I really liked what Jill T has to say...good information and perpective.

As far as the ped baffled why this only happens at night...well, reflux is notorious for showing it's uglyness at night....your baby is lying down (or more flat than completely upright) and it's easier for fluids to come back up. And that amount of gurgling and coming out of the nose is serious reflux! (and dangerous too if they inhale it into their lungs) I want you to know I'm not trying to scare you, just make you aware (many many babies have suffered this way before, unfortunately) Try as much as you can to prop her up while sleeping (no pillows directly under her though...under the mattress is fine. Or try the swing if you can buckle her in and feel comfortable with that.

Looks like you have quite a bit of advice so I hope you find some answers soon! It will get better...sometimes you jsut have to be a really good detective though!

My son had painful gas and hard bm's when he was on formula- and my Dr never suggested, but my girlfriend did- I started using the iron free formula, When I told my pediatrician he was ok with that then prescribed an iron supplement for him- silly me bought it, knowing that the gas and pain was gone for my son, when we left out the extra iron. And I am certainly a believer in old time remedies- regardless of the possible side effects. I used Karo syrup as well helping with constipation. there are possible side effects to anyting you might try- so I chose to go with my heart and faith- that my choices would be the right ones for myson

You will get lots of different answers for this one!!! I will just tell you our experience but it may not work for your baby because every baby is different. You really just have to keep trying different things. My son was very colicky for the first 3-4 months and had reflux and puked a ton and had tons of painful gas and sleeping issues from it all. One thing that helped him a lot besides liquid Zantac was switching him to soy formula. We tried many different formulas too! And after each formula there is an adjustment so it can take a while to see what is the best. He was on Similac soy and that seemed to lessen his gas a whole lot. When he was about 10 months or so I tried giving him a milk-based formula that was on sale and he did fine with it! I tried a couple of others and he could take any kind at that point so I just bought whatever was on sale. He now drinks whole milk and seems to have no issues. So it can get better. Find something easier on the tummy for her right now, and she my guess is she too will outgrow the sensitivities as her stomach develops.

Would you be willing to try an infant probiotic in her formula? We had those same problems with our middle child who is now 3. When she was 7 weeks old, my chiropractor actually suggested it when I mentioned to her what was happening. Seriously - within 2 weeks she was such a different baby. I would stop all meds and try a probiotic for 2 weeks. That is how long it may take to heal her intestinal tract. Do some research on probiotics for infants and make your own conclusion. We use Udo's Choice Infant Probiotic and it can be ordered online. When a baby does not have a mature digestive system and is not getting good bacteria put into their system, they can get a "leaky gut" causing other problems like reflux and gas. Breastfed babies get the good bacteria they need through breastmilk if the nursing mom has a good helathy diet. Ask any adult that has had IBS or reflux and when they start an antibiotic they feel so much better! Good luck during this trying time - it can make for some very long days. Stay patient & loving to your baby & this will pass!

First, I know how rough this is. Hang in there! I went through similar issues with both my kids. We tried the recommendations about ruling out allergies (son had dairy sensitivity that he out grew), trying zantac or other reflux meds (both kids were on them), gas drops (tried them with both kids--not much effect for us), and working their legs like a bicycle or pushing them against their bellies (a good quick fix for gas, but made reflux worse). I've also tried gripe water with some success. I also found with my daughter that I had an overactive letdown, so she was getting milk too fast and to much foremilk (I don't know if you're nursing at all), so I used the tips on the la leche league website to deal with that. With my son we tried one thing at a time. With my daughter I couldn't wait for relief, so I tried everything at once and then removed them and waited for the trouble to start back up. I'm glad we did it that way because all though we did some things that didn't work, we got results faster. The good news is that it did get better. My son (now 3) has no GI problems and is doing great and my daughter (now 3 1/2 months) is doing well with just Zantac.

My twins had horrible reflux but I don't remember gas issues. Both guys were on Reglen. These are the things the pediatrician told us to do. I wouldn't do them without talking to your pediatrician but they helped us. 1) pulverize rice cereal in a food processor and add that to the baby's formula. This added bulk to the formula adds weight which helps keep the formula down. I believe we started this at about one month. 2) Have the baby sleep on his stomach on an elevated crib mattress. We bought those little wedges that go under the mattress in order to create some elevation at the head. We then had the boys sleep on their stomachs. The elevation helped keep the food down and sleeping on their stomachs created pressure to help with the gas. 3) Smaller, slower feedings with lots of breaks for burping and resting. We kept them upright for 20 or 30 minutes before laying them down again which helped.

Those three things helped us a great deal. Good luck!

I hear you!!! When my son was about 4 weeks old as well, he would cry and arch his back in pain. I thought there has to be something "wrong". I took him into the Peds office, and they said at that young age they can have reflux. My friends have had children with refulx all at older ages, 6 months and older. He has been on medication since. It was amazing- the cnage in about 3-4 days. I liked him again :). This was new to me since my older daughter did not have refulx. I am not sure if you are breast feeding but sometimes that can be the irritant too. I continued to BF b/c he was so much better on the medication. As time goes we have cut back and adjuested the amounts. Good luck!

Good morning! I know that some others have already said this, but the chiropractor really can do wonders. My son is now 14 months and has been seeing one since he was 6 weeks old. My son also had bad reflux. Sometimes reflux can be a sign of food allergy such as milk. We never ended up taking our son off of milk based formula because Zantac worked for him. We are finding out now, though, that he may be allergic to milk due to chronic ear infections. Per the advice of our chiropractor We have taken him off of milk, and his ear infections have stopped. I wonder if this would have helped with his reflux too. Good luck! Milk allergy is definately something to think about!

Sounds like my daughter exactly 1 year ago. We were pulling our hair out with her. She was miserable and never happy.

We were told to try Enfamil Nutramigen..I thought there is no way a formula would make much of a difference I was highly skeptical. I swear to GOD it did work she was a different baby within hours. No more pain, no more screaming, no more gas, no more constipation nothing....

Nuitramigen is predigested so it's one of the easiest formula's to digest and poop out.

I actually have 4-5 cans of Nutramigen left over I am willing to sell for half the price if your interested my daughter turned 1 a few days ago and she is on cow's milk now. We live in Burnsville if your interested.

I would talk to the doctor again, but excessive gas can be a sign of milk intolerance.

Our youngest (now 8 months old) had terrible reflux and gas pains. We saw a dramatic improvement after a few visits to a craniosacral therapist. My husband, who initially thought I was crazy for taking our daughter to see the therapist, was completely sold on "that woman" (that's how he initially referred to her) when he saw how much our daughter improved. Good luck!

My son is 6 months old. He has severe GERD that was accompanied with Esophogitis that made him miserable. If He has awake he was screaming with pain. He was put on Zantac and Reglan until his test results came back and when they saw the esophogitis they put him on Previcid and Erithromyicin. It will get easier I promise. He is on regular good start after trying 5 types on milk that was best for him. Make sure you are keeping him up right for at least 30 mins after eating and u should angle his mattress. I had to sleep with my son on my chest in they recliner for months but now he doesnt even spit up any more. Make sure the bottle arent bubbly when you give them to him, and try giving him smaller feedings more regularly through the day. It will get easier I promise, i thought i was going to go crazy for a while but you will survive. Has he had any tests done? THey did a 24hr test and a gastric barium swallow on my boy to find out wat was going on. The did the biopsys also. Maybe you could ask the dr about doing some tests?

Have you tried the similac senstive (orange label)? Also-for our sons' first 6 mo we found he tolerated the liquid formulas better then the powder--really seemed to make a difference.

I would guess you are trying to keep her elevated a bit-like let her sleep in her car seat-at night too.

our ped has a great website: www.drjen4kids.com

that may have some other ideas. Good luck!

Along with finding the right formula you might try a chiropractor. I have in the last year started seeing one. It has helped me so much. I know that they can help with acid reflux, etc..in kids too. Good luck!

My daughter is the EXACT some way. Doctor thought is was acid reflux put her on Zantac. We've changed formulas a couple times. Now the Dr. doesn't think she has reflux.
I took my baby to a Chiroprator. I know ALOT of people don't believe in it (and that's fine), but she showed us things to do to help with spitting up and gas. When she seems to be in alot of pain, I put her in a warm bath and she loves it.

Good luck!!!
J.

My youngest daughter had excruciating gas and reflux. We tried Prosobee for three days on our own and it cleared right up. Apparently, she was sairy intolerant. It's worth a try, but I understand the constant worrying if it ever going to end. My daughter was dairy intolerant until she was two. Most grow out of it before their first birthday. Nutramigen is expensive as is the soy formulas, but it would be worth it for a baby that actually lets you sleep! Good luck!

the most awesome thing that we used was
MYLECON drops (that's spelled wrong) there's
also a generic form made made by Similison, but it
helps so much! I've found it in the baby aisle at
Wal-mart as well as the pharmacy! It's perfectly
safe....we loved it ... it helped the babies
feel so much better!
Another thing you may try is grabbing both of the
baby's legs and bend them up toward their nose a
few times, that helps get rid of some of that gas.

My first born suffered terribly until I had him allergy tested and discovered he's allergic to dairy. Try to talk your ped. into allergy testing - a blood test. I side stepped my reluctant ped. and made an apmt. with an allergist. You also could try soy formula. That's what we switched to.
Good luck. It's exhausting advocating for the little ones!

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