Silent Acid Reflux

Updated on February 28, 2016
J.M. asks from Grapevine, TX
14 answers

My 11 week old just doesn't eat normally. He use to have terrible gas and we seem to have resolved that by changing his formula to Nutramagin. He is still crying (the type where you know he is in pain) thru some feedings and squirms around alot. Sometimes he will finish a bottle and other times he will stop at 2 ounces and just cry. I am so worried about him. I took him to the doc this week again and described the problems. It is basically trial and error with him at this point. THe doc thought it may be silent reflux even though he doesn't spit up a bunch. We are trying Prevecit. Can anyone else explain silent reflux symptoms and possible solutions? I just want my baby to feel better. He is going to day care in 3 weeks and I dont think they will be able to feed him he is that diffucult to feed.... help.

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answers from Dallas on

Does he arch his back a lot or become very rigid? That's definitely a sign of reflux (in addition to other things previous posters mentioned)

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answers from Omaha on

My son had reflux really bad for his first year. It sucks. There is no better way to explain it. It just sucks. It's not fair..other people have these totally calm and mellow babies and the reflux ones are so opposite. I had a really hard time with that. But it does get better- it may not seem like that now, but it will.
The best book I found is called "Colic Solved" by Bryan Vartabedian, MD. He is a pediatric GI Dr. and knows so much about this condition. This book really helped me....and my son. If you can't find the book for some reason or can't go out and get it, PM me and I will send you my copy to borrow and read. That is how important I think reading this book is.
You can get through this. You just need to arm yourself with the right stuff.
Best of luck and let me know if you need to borrow my book.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter had silent reflux too. All it means is reflux without the projectile vomiting =) We also used Prevacid, it took us a little while to figure out the right dosage and the best time to give it to her, but once we did it was wonderful! A few things that really help are making sure she is eating sitting up or more vertical than horizontal. Also keep her sitting up for 30 minutes after eating, whether is be in a swing, bouncer, holding her etc. The symptoms my daughter had were not finishing a bottle, crying very soon after eating (inconsolable), and she also had kind of a fruity acid smell to her breath after eating. Hope this helps.



answers from Dallas on

Silent reflux is basically reflux without the spit up. My son had it too. He was on 2 different medicines, Axid and I think Previcid. Try feeding him almost vertical. Don't lay him back to feed that's when it will creep back up and burn. Give him breaks and burp frequently. I'm sorry I can't offer more but it will get better with time. The medicine will help but it won't stop it.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter who is now 2 had the same issues. She had bad gas pains and crying spells. She was fine until she ate, then right after she would just be in such pain. We switched her to the Gentlease.

Enfamil® Gentlease® LIPIL®
A milk-based formula patterned after breastmilk†, with partially broken-down proteins and reduced lactose‡ for babies with fussiness or gas.

This really worked wonders for our daughter. She was able to go longer between bottles and had way less gas.



answers from Dallas on

J., I'm sorry your little guy has this. It's very uncomfortable for the baby and everyone else. My daughter had it pretty bad too but I don't think it was acid reflux as much as it was reflux because the sphincter muscle that keeps the food in the tummy just hadn't developed yet-when we gave her antacid meds prescribed by the Dr. it just made it worse.

Trial and error is right, but you also have to listen to your mom radar, that thing that makes you wonder "what if I tried this?" Of course discuss with your Dr. before changing formula or meds...

I posted a response to another user's request for info about reflux a few days ago, but I'm copying and pasting here for you in case any of this might help. This is all the trial and error I went through with my daughter until she magically stopped having this problem around 1 year of age. I wish you the best-let us know how it goes.


I had a terrible time with reflux in my baby too. She was a preemie and the most reasonable explanation as to the cause that I got was that the pyloric sphincter that usually keeps food down wasn't fully developed, thus the food pops back up out of the stomach. I actually watched an imaging study and saw this happening-she'd make these little peeping sounds like a bird but those sounds were actually food coming up out of her stomach into her esophagous. Who knew?!

The good news is that she outgrew it eventually, around age 1. Here's what we tried up until it wasn't a problem anymore:

1. Bottles-we went with Avent after trying several different kinds (Drop ins, Vent Aires, Dr. Browns). Basically I would buy one bottle at a time and see if it worked out for about three days before buying a bunch and these were the winners.

2. Formula-we were on Neosure because she was a preemie. We switched a couple of times including using that ghastly Alimentum that's $25 a can. That stuff made things WAY worse within the first 24 hours. Save receipts for formula, Walmart WILL take back open formula and that saved me $50 on this experiment. Ultimately, the Gentle Ease was what worked the best-it takes about 3 days for formula to settle things down, but it should NOT make things worse and if it does make things worse, then you have the wrong stuff. I went against Dr. advise on this one and used my mom-radar, but your friend definitely needs to check with Dr. before messing with the formula.

3. Meds-we tried both prevacid and zantac-baby had "silent" reflux meaning nothing came all the way up but when I gave these meds she outright blew up. So I tried gripe water. I started with wellements but it was terrible tasting and required refrigeration. Also it had sodium bi-carbonate which I did not know was bad but I found out more about that later. Next I tried colic ease (they sell this at Family Health Market in Frisco). The taste was much better, it smells like pickles but tastes cinnamonny and does not require refrigeration. Also, I was impressed with their website's info about the ingredients. We are 2 years past our reflux now but the whole family uses this gripe water for stomach upset in general and it works great as an anti-nausea medicine and antacid.

4. Feedings-instead of a full bottle every 4 hours I gave her half bottles every 2-3 hours. More calories and less stuff coming up.

5. Rice cereal-ask the Dr. about this first before doing it. We added 1 TBSP to bottles and used the special adjustable flow nipple by avent so she could get the thicker formula out of the bottle. We only did this for 2-3 bottles a day but it helped some.

6. We kept her upright for at least 15 mins after feeding.



answers from Dallas on

I have a wonderful book about reflux, called "Colic Solved" by Dr. Bryan Vartebedian. He is a pediatric gastroenterologist. Check it out - it will answer some of your questions and may ease your mind.

Basically, trust your gut. If you don't think your baby is getting better, keep looking for answers. Although it is rare, your child may have a physical digestive problem. Don't be afraid to investigate - if you hear "no, that's not it" you'll be relieved but if you never investigate and he continues to suffer, you'll feel terrible later. Take it from one mom who's lived through that.



answers from Dallas on

I'm so sorry to hear that your little one is suffering. Below, I listed some of the things we did to ease my daughter's reflux symptoms.

elevated the head of her crib
fed her small amounts at a time at more frequent intervals, some days it seemed like all I did was feed her
fed her in an upright position
diligently burped her
Kept her upright after feedings, she frequently napped in her stroller (without the carrier)
limited time in car seat
often, when she was inconsolable, the best thing I could do for her was place her on her back on her diaper changer pad - I don't know why but that seemed to soothe her
little tummies - gas x for babies
changed bottles - significantly less spitting up with VentAire
never warmed her bottles, room temp or cold right out of fridge
ran humidifier when she slept - she was always congested from the spit up
carried her in her Ergo*
swaddled her for bed time and when colicky
when I knew she was hungry but she arched her back and screamed, I just kept offering the bottle (while walking, swaying, singing) until she'd finally take it

I spent some time on and found some of the information helpful. Unfortunately, the page is not very user friendly and is full of ads. However, you can talk to a volunteer via email or telephone. That was helpful for me because I felt like I finally found someone compassionate and empathetic with some helpful advice.

If your pediatrician dismisses your concerns, find a new one. Once my daughter was finally prescribed acid suppressers, she only occasionally experienced her reflux symptoms (for example, spending too much time in her carseat). She was on acid suppressers until a little after her second birthday but has been nearly symptom free since. We limit but have not entirely avoided greasy and acidic foods. Oranges are her favorite fruit and she loves Chick-fil-a.

Hope this helps.

I will be praying that your son quickly outgrows his symptoms and that God will grant all of you peace and rest during this struggle.

*My mom bought us an Ergo (without the infant insert) when my daughter was almost 4 months old. My daughter turned 3 in November, and I still use it. It is one of the best gifts I have ever received.



answers from Dallas on

My son has been a severe silent refluxer since almost birth. He is now 2 1/2 years old. We have tried a variety of medications at different stages (Reglan, Zantac, Nexium). All of them have helped. He was referred at a pediatric gastroenterologist because his reflux is/was so bad. One of the best things that we did before he could roll over was buy a reflux sling from Cook's Home Health and prop up his bed. I agree with all of the other posters about feeding him almost vertical, etc.
Investigating a milk allergy would probably not be a bad idea either. My son was so allergic to milk that he was even allergic to my breast milk (even after I went on a dairy free diet). This is EXTREMELY rare but a mild milk allergy is pretty common. We ended up putting him on a prescription formula (that was expensive because insurance wouldn't cover it, but we did whatever we had to for him).
Feel free to PM me if you would like to know the name of our GI doctor. He is awesome!
I hope that you find what works for your son. I understand how worrisome it is.



answers from Dallas on

My son had the same symptoms. He would not breastfeed or take formula. He would just cry. It is heartbreaking. We finally ended up at a gastro doctor & he does have acid reflux however he also has an allergy to the protein in cows milk. We ended up with Neutramagin AA (amino acid). This is a prescription formula & the only formula that has worked. He is now 10 months old & doing great. I hope this helps & your son gets better.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter, now 3, had VERY silent silent it took us forever to figure out what was going on. She hardly ever spit up but was misserable all of the time and once we got the idea that it might be silent acid reflux and tried the baby prilosec, there was an almost immediate change in her.

The symptoms of relfux, besides the obvious spitting up, are:
-coughing or choking-sounds like something is in or burning her/his throat
-hating to lay down or recline
-seems relieved or only happy when upright
-family history of relux or heart burn or stomach issues
-premature baby
-interrupted sleep (because we sleep reclined allowing the acid to come up more easily)
-squirming after eating (like trying to find a comfortable position)
-occassional foamy or slimy phlim

GREAT alleviators:
-breat feeding (I realize this is prob not an option to you, but it is an alleviator, so I thought I would mention it as it allows less air into the stomach than bottle)
-baby prilosec (very safe)or other meds
-little consistency to the milk/formula adds weight to the milk/formula which makes it harder to come back up because of gravity. The dr. suggest we add a bit of cereal as soon as we though the stomach could handle it, but not sooner than suggest: basicly just wait it out if you can
-all natural Gripe Water (colic ease is the best brand in my opinion)
-keep child up-right as long as possible after feeding; preferable 1 hour (hard to do with new-borns, I know)!
-crib wedge or sleep in semi-relcined bouncer or swing or sling
-adjusting eating amounts to smaller or larger than current portions
-exercauscer (the non-mobile "walker" thing): the baby plays supported and up-right instead of laying. This is actually how we found out our daugther had silent relux; because this item was the only thing that made her happy enough to FALL ASLEEP...LOL!

This is all I can think of right now......if I think of any more I will add them later!
Hope this helps!



answers from Wichita Falls on

Acid reflux = food backing up into esophagus.

Silent = no symptoms other than pain.

Solution = Upper GI Scope. Take a look around and see if there's blockage or damage. Extreme? Perhaps - but it solves the problem.




answers from Providence on

For reflux and gas, I have used babies magic tea for my baby that was soothing him.


answers from Dallas on

I'm not sure what silent reflux is, but I have tremendously helped my reflux by adding prebiotics and probiotics to my diet. I no longer take previcid. I would strongly recommend doing your research on this in regard to infants. I would also wonder about milk allergies, etc... which you already seem to be on top of. The prebiotic I take would be conducive to an infant because it is a little powder that mixes up in water and tastes just fine. The probiotic is a little trickier, and necessary (for everyone really), but what I take comes in a tiny pill, smaller than a pea, and I'm not sure it could work for a baby. It cannot be ground up. So.....I would do a little research. Talk to your doctor, etc... Or if you would like me to do some checking around I know a lot of people with "natural" remedies. However, with such a tiny guy I would always double check with your physician. Many doctors are not into the natural stuff, which is okay, but I like them to tell me that they don't see how it would hurt either.

Or.....maybe your baby is just getting too much air. Feed him as upright as possible and make sure you get a good burp before putting him down. Mylanta might work.

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