Treating Acid Reflux in Babies and Children

And one type of antacid even had to be pulled from the market because it was found to cause sudden death. Although these medications will help protect your child’s esophagus from damage due to reflux, the medicines are unlikely to completely cure the spitting up. If your child is uncomfortable, or has difficulty sleeping, eating or growing, the doctor may suggest a medication.

Normally, that sphincter is supposed to stay closed. It opens when food goes down, when we eat food and swallow it, so that the food goes into the stomach. Then it’s supposed to shut, so that acid and bile don’t reflux back up into the esophagus. But what happens with reflux and GERD is that the competence of the lower esophageal sphincter is impaired.

Track your baby’s development

Every two weeks, stop the treatment to see if your baby’s reflux is getting better (NICE 2015b) . If your baby is still having problems after a couple of months of having an antacid, go back to your doctor (Rosen et al 2018) . Sometimes, the symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy (CPMA) can be similar to the symptoms of reflux, particularly in babies under six months of age (Ferreira et al 2014, Rosen et al 2018) . How will I know if my baby has reflux? Your baby may bring up small amounts of milk (possetting) or occasionally vomit after eating.

Fifty percent of babies got better on the medicine…but 50% got better on the placebo, too. The treatment of reflux depends upon the infant’s symptoms and age.

There’s not really any way that we can improve on breast milk. Breast milk, for example, contains galactooligosaccharides, which are prebiotic molecules that selectively stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria, which is one of the most important species of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Some formula producers are starting to get wise to this, and they’re adding some prebiotics to formula. But it’s never quite the same when you create a synthetic version.

However, the researchers showed that when a gold standard test for gastric disease called the multichannel intraluminal impedance study (or the MII-pH) was performed, only 6 patients, or 10 percent, actually had GERD. The results were recently published in Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. If your baby has nasal congestion along with other symptoms of GERD, try home remedies for GERD and talk to your doctor about medications. In the meantime, if congestion is severe, try these tactics for stuffy nose relief. Keep in mind that GERD is not nearly as common as GER (gastrointestinal reflux) – a fancy term for spitting up.

infants acid reflux medication

So when you stop the PPIs, you’re producing more acid than you were before you started taking them. This rebound effect has been documented, and it’s been shown to last for at least four weeks, possibly longer, because they ended the follow-up period after four weeks, and many of the patients were still experiencing symptoms at that point. We could go on, but I’ll just mention a couple other things, and then we’ll talk a little bit about alternatives.

  • The majority of infants will have resolved their symptoms by 9 to 12 months of age.
  • In the stomach, the food is digested by acid.
  • This causes your baby to vomit.
  • Also hold your baby in a sitting position for 30 minutes after feeding, if possible.
  • Reflux happens because muscles at the base of your baby’s food pipe have not fully developed, so milk can come back up easily.

A wet burp or wet hiccup is when an infant spits up liquid when they burp or hiccup. This can be a symptom of acid reflux or, less commonly, GERD. Infants with GERD may also start screaming and crying during feeding.

This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of feeding. The prognosis for infants with GER is excellent. The majority of infants will have resolved their symptoms by 9 to 12 months of age.

One important exception, however, may be children with moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disabilities who typically manifest both dysphagia and GERD and are at high risk for aspiration. In these patients, conservative therapy alone may not be sufficient for preventing reflux-associated complications. However, careful monitoring under optimal nonsurgical therapy should be conducted before operative intervention is considered. Both classes of acid antisecretory agents have proven safe and effective for infants and children in reducing gastric acid output.

Studies on Baby Acid Reflux

Back to the nutrient absorption issue, PPIs have been associated with decreased bone mineral density, because calcium absorption is impaired, and also maybe the fat-soluble vitamins-like vitamin D, which plays a role in calcium metabolism, and K2. [6] Phillips J et al, “Infants Have Shorter Half Life for Lansoprazole Than Previously Reported“; at

Many things cause nausea, even acid reflux. Learn why, what to do, and when to get help for nausea from acid reflux.

Children who experience GERD symptoms also have a favorable prognosis though it may require longer use of medications and utilization of life style changes for many months. It is important to note that classic “heartburn” symptoms may resolve, but more subtle evidence of reflux (for example, persisting cough, especially when laying face up [supine]) may develop. Your child’s pediatrician is a valuable asset to help monitor for these less obvious presentations of GERD. Pediatricians diagnosis GERD in infants and children by taking a thorough history supported by a complete physical examination enabling the elimination of other conditions that might cause similar symptoms. While rare, studies may be necessary either to establish/support the diagnosis of GERD or to determine the extent of damage caused by the repeated reflux events.

The first are drugs such as ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid), and lansoprazole (Prevacid), which reduce acid in the stomach. However, research suggests acid is not a major factor in infant reflux and use of antacid in infants can lead to increased risk for infection. The second type is called metoclopramide or reglan, which has a black box warning for the risk of causing permanent damage to child’s brain leading to movement disorders. A third option is surgery to tighten the sphincter at the top of the stomach. All of these interventions come with risks for the infant, and are often prescribed on the basis of symptom association alone.

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