Best Way to Prevent Acid Reflux in Infants

One common problem that infants experience is acid reflux, also technically known as gastroesophageal reflux. The problems can vary in severity, while some infants only experience a mild degree of symptoms, such as spitting up, and others experience more severe symptoms like frequent waking up during the night and abdominal pain.

In order to understand this problem, it is necessary to understand the physiology. Around the esophagus are muscles formed in a circular shape, referred to as the lower esophageal sphincter. These are the muscles that separate the esophagus from the stomach. As we eat, the food travels down into the stomach and the muscles close to prevent regurgitation, when the food travels back up and into the throat.

Acid Reflux in Infants Best Way to Prevent Acid Reflux in Infants

In infants who experience the problem of acid reflux, their muscles are immature and not able to function the way they should. Because of this, food and gastric acid will often flow back into the infant’s esophagus. The esophagus will become irritated and leads to heartburn.

Infants usually experience acid reflux between the ages of 2-4 weeks old. As a remedy, the doctor can prescribe the infant something to lessen the digestive acid production. By the time the baby is 6-9 months, the symptoms will begin to naturally deteriorate. This is most likely due to the fact that once babies have reached this age, they spend a lot of their time sitting upright. The gravity will keep the food down and prevent the baby from regurgitating.

Here are a few tips on feeding your baby to minimize the problems of acid reflux, as well as the best positions to keep your baby in.

Feed your baby a lesser amount of food, making sure it is getting enough nourishment. For instance, if you give your baby less than the usual amount of milk, that will be less milk in their stomach, which will decrease their chances of spitting it up.

After you feed your baby, keep them positioned upright to keep down the contents of their stomach. You may try sitting the baby in your lap with their head resting on your chest. Keep them positioned upright for at least 30 minutes after they have eaten.

Breastfeeding can greatly help the baby and is known to have numerous advantages over regular milk and formula. Breast milk is known to digest faster, as it contains enzymes that assist in the digestion. Also, breast milk does not cause allergic reactions in babies, unlike with other types of milk. However, if you choose to use formula for your baby, use a hypoallergenic type. Not only is it easy on babies with sensitive stomachs, but it is more easily digested, which prevents acid reflux.

Acid Reflux in Infants 1 Best Way to Prevent Acid Reflux in Infants

When you place your baby to sleep, make sure you place them in a comfortable position. When babies lie flat, either on their back or stomach, there is no law of gravity that is keeping the food from staying down. Because of this, babies that experience acid reflux problems will frequently wake up in discomfort during the night. If your baby is sleeping peacefully, then they are not experiencing any discomfort. However, if your baby becomes restless, perhaps producing wet burps, they are suffering from acid reflux. If you notice these problems, elevate the crib by around 30 degrees. This is just enough elevation to reduce any stomach contents or gastric acids from flowing back into the baby’s esophagus. Another idea is to train your baby to sleep on their left side. On this side, the stomach’s inlet is higher up than the stomach’s exit; this will also aid in keeping down the food.

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