Infant with Acid Reflux

Updated on June 20, 2009
M.B. asks from Santa Cruz, CA
22 answers

Hello everyone,
My baby girl just turned one month yesterday. She was having issues gaining weight and was spitting up several times a day (almost all that she ate). I was told that she has acid reflux and that is the reason she can't keep food down. I was exclusively breast feeding her but on the recommendation of her doctor I have started to supplement one bottle of formula a day. We have also put her on Zantac twice a day. Her spitting up has lessened but she still seems to be uncomfortable when feeding at times and gets really fussy. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this or has any suggestions?
She has started to gain weight at a healthy level so the doctor is no longer concerned about that.
Thank you for the support.
M.

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N.A.

answers from San Francisco on

hi,

i justed wanted to share with you that i had my daughter sleeping in a bouncer until she was about 8 months. this helped her sleep up right and her acid reflux disappeared. also, I cut dairy out of my diet.

hope this helps.
N.

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A.L.

answers from Sacramento on

Years ago, my infant daughter had the same problem. The doctor put her on Infamil-a soy based formula. That worked for the most part but I also had to have her head a little bit elavated, My older sister also had me try steeping camomille, wintermint & fennel into a tea. Added to the formula- just a small amount- got her thru. Warning though. If you try the tea, any spit-up will not smell very good!

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N.P.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.
Our daughter also was diagnosed with reflux-she would spit up all the time and had weight gain issues as well. While I was still nursing, I would take her off the breast every 5 minutes or so to burp her, which helped a bit. Also, keep her upright for as long as possible after each feeding. Once you switch to solids, you will probably notice that her food stays down better. We put a towel under the mattress in her crib to create more of an elevated angle for her while sleeping. She's 16 months now and every now and again she still has reflux/vomiting issues..but overall she's much better. Good luck, I hope this helps!
n

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J.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi M.,

My son had pretty severe acid reflux. We first tried several different things before medication, but it ended up that Prevacid made the world of difference for him. How long has she been on the Zantac? I imagine it can take a few day (maybe a week?) to really get into her system and start working. I remember mentioning to my OB at my 6 week appt. that my son was on Prevacid, and she said a lot of times they'll prescribe other drugs first (maybe Zantac?) that don't work as well for all K.. If she still seems really uncomfortable, talk to her doctor--they might want try something different. It sounds like a lot of other moms on here have had good luck with Prevacid.

I know many moms have already mentioned it, but keeping her upright after eating, and sleeping in a swing or carseat will really help. It was so frustrating to put my son down to sleep just to have him spit it all up and wake himself up. I also eliminated dairy from my diet until he was about 10 or 11 months. It didn't get rid of the spit up by any means, but it definitely decreased it.

Checkout this website, too. I found a lot of good tips. infantreflux.org

I hope something works for you--I know how hard it is to have a baby with reflux.

Jennifer

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D.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,

Sorry to hear about your little girl. I had the same issue as what you are going through. My son threw up a lot. He too was diagnoised with Acid Reflux and put on medication.

However the medication never worked for him. Plus I felt he was just too young to be on medication for a very immature system that over time will heal on its own. I even took my son off breast milk and put him on Acid Reflux formula. This didn't even help.

Cut out diary. As others said, keep your daugther in an up right position during feedings and when sleeping. Burp more often to not. Even 10 minutes later, burp her more.

To help with the tummy, try Gripe Water. Helped my son. Plus when your daugther is on her back, gently push her legs/knees to her tummy. Sometimes just that motion helps relieve tummy gas and get the gas bubbles out. It helped my son when he was really bad.

if you can speak with your dr. about getting your daugther on a special formula, i would do that.

Funny thing was, my son in december flat our refused his formula bottle for TWO weeks. We supplmeneted him with acidophilous milk. My son STOPPED throwing up! Even his solids (he was 8 months old). This entire time, it was his formula creating the problem.

It wasn't from his acid reflux. He now doesn't throw up one bit! I feel your frustration and your concerns. Personally I would go different directions in helping your daughter before putting her on medication. As in time, her body will develop fully, where she will no longer have that issue anymore.

Sorry, but drs. are too quick to diagnoise reflux. My son with through NUMEROUS tests and even x-rays and found out he was fine. He just had a major sensitivity to formula and breastmilk. Their systems are just new...it takes time for their bodies to not reject what is put in them.

Find natural remedies to help your daughter in her discomfort. Warm baths, warm compresses, rubbing the belly, etc.

The throwing up is more of an frustration as we have to clean it up every time. Now the issue about gaining weight...as your daugther is doing okay with now. If that becomes an issue, feed her less quantities but more throughout the day. Gives her belly less to diguest, but time to settle down between.

Hope that helps!

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C.S.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter suffered from acid reflux since she was first born. Her Dr. explained that the digestive tract (stomach) needs a full 12 months before developing completely and that it can be very common in infants and toddlers. She first tried her on a combination of zantac and another liquid that we would alternate during the day and the medicine helped but minimally and my daughter would scream every time she had to take it. The taste of the zantac was a strong peppermint flavor, I was mindblown that they would use that flavor with childrens medicine but the pharmacy said it was the only flavor option they could mix in. The results definitely where not worth the trama to my daughter and me :) every dose so we went back to her Dr. and she switched her to Prevacid. The results were beyond fantastic. It is a small strawberry flavored pill (she took a half dose) and it dissolved in her mouth. Within just a couple days we saw a dramatic change - she slept through the night and her throwing up was down significantly. This was our miracle drug - I totally recommend that you ask your daughter if Prevacid would be right for your daughter. Best of luck to you both! - I should add in, after posting and then reading the other mom's responses to you, her Dr. had me do a strict diet with NO dairy for 2 weeks first to see if it was something in my diet (dairy in particular) and she had no change in her symptoms. So it is my opinion that maybe some children would respond to that approach however in our case it was only the Prevacid that made a difference in the end.

V.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Acid reflux is quite common, so you'll probably get a lot of responses. I highly recommend the book "Colic Solved: The Essential Guide to Infant Reflux & the Care of Your Crying, Difficult-to-Soothe Baby" by Bryan Vartabedian, M.D. I'm about 1/2 way through the book & it is very informative for this situation.

My 6-wk old son has a minor level of acid reflux - he doesn't spit up, but for about 2 weeks or so he was constantly inconsolable unless he was nursing or sleeping. He was on Zantac for about 2 weeks, which helped with the constant crying. We tried Nutramigen formula which was terrible for him, so he's back to nursing full-time. Now he's on Prevacid which seems to be a little more effective than Zantac & it seems to taste much better too! :)

Keep asking questions, keep being your child's advocate. I will say that I think it's improving as my son gets bigger & older, & my son has also been able to gain weight as well. However we haven't had the feeding issues you've described.

For the feedings, I would definitely talk with a lactation consultant because they can help you as you try to navigate these first few months.

Good luck!!

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A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.-!

If it were my infant daughter, I would get her off of Zantac immediately. She hasn't even completely developed her digestive system yet. I am a natural health coach and one of the most alarming trends I have seen recently is doctors prescribing zantac for children - it makes me crazy. You most likely need to change your diet - and your daughter is reacting to something you are eating - do an elimination diet - first eliminate dairy and possibly wheat from your diet - eat more vegetables, cut out spicy foods for now - if you have any more questions - email me. There are MANY other ways to deal with this - all of them more preferable than zantac. Also - has your doctor checked to see that her valve in her esophagus properly closes? A good chiropractor (yes - even for infants) can help with this too. Good luck!!!

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E.K.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello, I have a 7 week old baby girl with acid reflux too. I can totally relate. It's so painful for the poor babies and I have lots of sympathy for you and her! Keep your baby elevated after a feeding for 45 minutes. I keep my gal in the swing after each feeding. You can order a tucker sling (google it for the website) for about $100 to keep her at an angle while sleeping. Many people say "wearing" your baby helps with reflux. My daughter is now feeling better with her medications, but it took a while for the esophagus to heal. She's about 75% better I'd say, but if I breastfeed her in a horizontal position, she can still be quite painful. Often, I pump and feed her breast milk from a bottle. For some reason that is much more comfortable for her. Check out the Dr. Sears "Baby" book (the big purple one). It has a lot of recommendations on reflux. Another good book to check out is Baby 411. They were both very helpful. Hang in there. Supposedly our babies will outgrow this in a few months! :) E.

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L.G.

answers from San Francisco on

One of my girls had the same problem. The OTC products like Mylicon didn't help. Zantac really helped.

Additionally, what also helped:

1 -- The Dr. Brown bottles. We switched from the BornFree to the Dr. Brown's after about a month and the vent system really helped.

2 -- My little girl always slept either in her bouncy chair or in her car seat or on a sleep positioner because all three allowed her to sleep at an angle which helped keep the reflux from coming on. She didn't sleep flat on her back until about 6 months. This seemed to make a big difference.

3 -- Swaddling also helped her a lot.

4 -- For a few months at night, I would swaddle her and then put her in a slow rocking swing which helped her fall asleep. I would then move her later to her car seat.

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E.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Dear M.,
Sorry for your dilemma. I understand your concern.
Have you tried chiropractic care? My husband, a chiropractor, works with lots of newborns and babies. Often a very gentle spinal alignment cures the problem and no need for drugs.
Good luck!
E.

G.K.

answers from San Francisco on

The biggest question I have for you is: Why did your doctor suggest supplementing with formula??? It's all milk and soy-based, and if the doctor is suggesting you eliminate that from YOUR diet, why would you keep it in your daughter's diet by introducing formula????

I'm wondering if a lot of her fussiness at feeding time has to do with either your diet (milk is usually the biggest culprit) or the position you nurse her in. As other moms have suggested, try eliminating some foods from your diet and have it as bland as possible to start. If she does well, you can reintroduce foods slowly. This way you'll know which foods she can't handle. I had to do this with my son, and milk, green peppers, and broccoli ended up being the 3 no-no's! As far as nursing positions, try different ones. Try football hold since she's still really little, try cradle, try laying down with her. You can even try to nurse her with her laying on your tummy.

A great resource for you is Nursing Mothers Counsel! We are peer counselors, so most of us have been exactly where you are! We offer FREE one-on-one counseling to breastfeeding moms at ALL stages, pregnancy through weaning. We also offer non-judgmental information and support, which is what a LOT of breastfeeding moms need and don't get! You can email me directly at [email protected]____.com or call our hotline at (650)327-MILK. You can also check out our website at http://www.nursingmothers.org. However things turn out, know that you have your baby's best interests at heart!

A.H.

answers from San Francisco on

I went through this with my son. First off, the pedi explained that when the sphincter at the top of the esophagus is irritated it cannot tighten up as it is supposed to. The way zantac works is it neutralizes stomach acid so that the milk that backs up will not be as irritating allowing a chance for healing - so the problem will improve over time. She is likely still experiencing "silent reflux" meaning the milk is backing up the esophagus but not all the way to spitting up. A couple things that really helped us were: burping more often, holding him upright or putting him in the bouncy chair after feeding, and having him sleep on a slight incline. (you can buy wedges or roll up towels under her mattress) Good Luck!

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L.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,

Unfortunately, your situation is a common but really unpleasant one. I went through this with our daughter (she had silent reflux and was also on zantac). I have heard that nearly all babies suffer from some degree of reflux in infancy, but it bothers some more than others. You can also try cutting out dairy from your diet (it is worth a try) and see what happens. Also the suggestions from the previous post will help. Regarding fussiness while nursing (this was really hard for me as my daughter would scream and flail while I tried to nurse her), I suggest you contact a nursing support place such as nursing mother's council (they were angels for me) or la leche league. They can give you some great support on this issue. Congratulations on your new daughter. I wish you all the best.
Lilia

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K.H.

answers from Sacramento on

my daughter had this as well as an infant and outgrew it when she was one year. Make sure you prop her up when she sleeps. Bouncy seats are good and those wedges you can buy at Goores are good for acid reflux. Give the Zantac sometime but if she still seems uncomfortable I would check with the doctor again and see about another med. Also, you may need to prop her up while feeding...I had to do this to keep my little one comfy while nursing.

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D.S.

answers from Fresno on

Hi M.,
I feel your pain. I was exactly where you are about 20 months ago. Many, many hugs to you! Having an acid reflux baby is hard and exhausting! It's hard for some people to understand, but don't let them get to you. Some may freak out that you're giving medicine to a baby so young, but for some babies it IS necessary to help ease their pain and keep them healthy.
You've gotten a lot of good advice already about how to feed your little girl. Try the bland diet to see if it helps. If not, (it didn't for me) you may want to think about getting your daughter tested for acid reflux. My son went through a completely painless process where he simply drank a bottle mixed with barium and they took x-rays to see what happened.
Luckily (?), reflux is genetic in my husband's family, so we knew right away to try Prevacid as that's the only thing that works for my husband. We also went to see a specialist who put my son on Alimentum. Those two things did wonders for him and within a month his spitting up was down to once a day and he was gaining weight. He had also stopped doing the screaming after eating that was making me cry. By 15 months, we were able to take him off the prescription and it looks like his reflux is gone.
Until you find the right combination for your little girl, keep your sense of humor and LOTS of burp cloths handy! :o)
Two resources that helped us:
the PAGER Web site - http://www.reflux.org/
Apria healthcare - http://www.apria.com/home/
PAGER can give you lots of info on acid reflux, including natural remedies. Apria came in use when my son was prescribed Alimentum. The other mom (sorry, forgot her name!) was right: specialized formula is expensive! Apria worked with my insurance company and got a monthly supply of formula delivered to our home for free.
Good luck and I hope your daughter gets better. Please feel free to contact me if you need to talk!
D.
([email protected]____.com)

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N.C.

answers from Sacramento on

I'm surprised the Dr. put your 1 month old baby on zantac so quickly. Have you tried a soy formula or giving her mylicon for gas. Spit up is normal and as long as it is not projectile she is fine. Most dr recommend giving the baby less formula more often before they go on medication. I would try that. Less formulas more often. So if she is eating 2-3 oz every few hours, give her 1-2 oz every few hours and see how she does. A lot of time the spit up is from overeating and is passed off as acid reflux. Good luck.

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H.P.

answers from Sacramento on

My six month old has had reflux. It never affected her weight gain, because she nursed about every 45 minutes during the day and every one to two hours (three if I was lucky) at night since small meals soothed her tummy and made her feel better. When I realised that she was only napping for 45 minutes and waking up screaming I decided it was time to do something. Here's what's worked fairly well for us:

1. I changed my diet. I found I was getting depressed about the thought of eliminating dairy, soy (many babies who have problems with dairy also have trouble with soy!), wheat, nuts, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, etc, so I decided to instead focus on what I _could_ eat. For a few weeks all I ate was turkey, lamb, rice, (and I even eliminated that for a bit!) millet, pears, pear juice, potatoes, and squash, and only using salt and pepper to season. The difference was surprisingly dramatic. That first night she went from screaming when I put her down to change her in the night to lying quietly, almost asleep still. In the last two months I've added back in a number of things gradually and greatly expanded what I can eat. I even occasionally have a few sprinkles of grated cheese with no major problems so far. If I eat something (like onions) that doesn't agree with her, watch out! For the next few hours she's a little spit up fountain!

2. We got a prescription for Zantac. We had to use the liquid for the first weekend b/c our pharmacy only had that in stock, but our dr. prescribed the Zantac Efferdose Tablets and I HIGHLY recommend them! You drop a little tablet into 1 tablespoon of water, let it dissolve, and then give it to your baby with a dropper. It kinda tastes fizzy/lemony - WAY better than the liquid Zantac. Yes, it's a higher volume, but much better tolerated! Ask your dr. for a prescription for those. We have had zero side effects with the Zantac. It was scary to be giving my sweet little baby medicine that might possibly have bad side effects (b/c all medication has some level of side effects) but the risk is so low and we've had great success with it.

3. We initially put her in her car seat any time she was sleeping, starting with a night when she would settle down to sleep only to wake up ten minutes later screaming. She was able to sleep soundly in her car seat, so we then purchased a Tucker Sling and she's been using it ever since. The TS fits over the end of a foam wedge and velcros around her body so she's held in place on the wedge at a 30 degree angle. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth every penny. Although now that she's six months old I'm thinking it's time to try weaning her off the TS...wish us luck! :)

These three steps have greatly decreased the amount my daughter spits up and significantly improved her sleep patterns. I didn't want to even consider formula since it's made of milk or soy and if my baby was having trouble with milk and/or soy it seemed silly to feed her them. I didn't want to pay the $$$$ for the hypoallergenic formulas. Plus if you nurse on demand your baby will probably eat smaller meals more frequently - enough to help dilute the acid in her stomach but not so much that she overfills her tummy and causes more reflux. When you're feeding from a bottle it seems to me that you're much more likely to overfill that tiny tummy!

It seemed easier and less expensive for me to just watch my diet and make sure that what I was eating was good for her. I admit that some days I was super hungry and wondered if I could find enough to eat, but we made it work.

Good luck!

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K.M.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi M.,

My son was in the 25th percentile with weight and 75th on height at 2 months old. He also spit up every meal, and I was told he had GERD we tried the Zantac but he hated it. I had some medical issues where and had a very strict diet for 7 months combination of during and after pregnancy. When I tried to cut out dairy I was having some problems and milk prodution decreased we were concerned about his nutrition and switched to forumla and then tried him on a lactose free formula his weight percentile doubled in 2 weeks but he still had spit up every meal had horrible gas pains and cried all the time. He was in so much pain he didn't sleep more than about an hour at any given time unless he was so tired from crying.

At the end of all this when he was 5 months old becuase of all the problems along with ecezma we did a blood allergy test and found out that he's allergic to milk and peanuts. We chose to put him on Alimentum which is the hypoallegric formula by Simialc. If you choose to go this route know that it is VERY expensive he's on solids and our forumla costs are about $250 a month and the other formulas are 1/2 that.

Long story longer you may want to try cutting dairy out of your diet. Let us know how it goes.

K.

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N.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,

Your baby has acid reflux because her body is too acid. I am a wellness coach and educate individuals how to make the body more alkaline through food and water.

Filtered water that has nutrients put back in it and food that is not acid. I use a young barley from Japan that is grown in an area that nothing has ever been grown. That is the highest organic value of any food.

If you are interested in educating yourself a natural way to help put your daughters body back in balance let me know and I will educate you.

There are many children today faced with this same problem and it all starts with what you put in your body and theirs.

Have a great week.

N. Marie

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A.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.!
Looks like you have gotten a lot of good advice!! I am a mom to 3 boys and 2 have pretty sever acid reflux. By the 3rd I was prepared but he decided to give me a break. I really hope you fine what works for your baby girl. You don't have to have it be like this. Be presistant until you find the right mix and she is happy, sleeping and gaining weigh. For my second I ended up with a gastro baby specialist..what a life save he was!! Keep trying different things and the relief will come. With both children I breastfed exclusivly and cut out dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, any gassy vegetables...yes like the other mom I ate rice, chicken, beef and seasoned with salt and pepper. I ate salads with chicken (there are some dressings out there that are ok) there is a cookbook out there as well that was great help...called whole food eating. Both babies slept proped up. both were on medications and both grew out of it at 1. Both are fine now and have no digestive problems whatso ever!! I wish you the best of luck I know how hard this can be when you don't know and you don't have an agressive doctor. the best thing that I did was see the specialist..he was very very helpful and very supportive!!!
I wish you and you daughter the best!!!

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