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"Happy Spitters" - Gastroesophageal Reflux 

 

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is the act of spitting up (or reflux) of 1-2 mouthfuls of stomach contents. Occasional spit ups are common among infants and usually resolve by 7 months of age. If your baby is uncomfortable after feeds, or the reflux is affecting your baby's ability to feed well and grow, your child may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Please use the information below as a guide and call the office for an appointment if you are concerned. 

What is gastroesophageal reflux?
 
  • the act of spitting up (or reflux) of 1-2 mouthfuls of stomach contents

  • usually seen during or shortly after feedings

  • smaller amounts often occur with burping

  • larger amounts can occur after overfeeding

What causes reflux?
 
  • more than half of all infants have occasional spitting up - this is normal, do not worry

  • spitting up is caused by poor closure of the valve at the upper end of the stomach

  • reflux improves with age as infant develops, may resolve on its own by 7 months 

How to manage at home?
 
  • keep total feeding time to less than 20 minutes

  • wait at least 2 hours between feeds

  • avoid tight diapers

  • keep baby upright for 30-60 minutes after feeds

  • do not thicken your baby's formula without consulting your pediatrician 

When to call your pediatrician (GERD)?
 
  • infant is spitting up more than 1 hour after feeds

  • infant is projectile vomiting

  • you are concerned that your infant is not gaining weight

  • infants appears very uncomfortable after feeds, especially when placed on their back

  • infant does not want to feed OR infant is ravenous (constantly wanting to feed and does not seem satisfied)

  • blood in vomit or stools

  • wheezing, hoarseness, or coughing 

Healthy Children Radio: Baby Spitting Up? It May Not Be Reflux (audio)

Healthy Children Radio on Radio MD is a useful resource for parents. Click the audio clip below to listen to pediatric gastroenterologist, David Gremse (MD), discuss whether or not your baby's spitting up is normal or part of a larger problem. Dr. Gremse is a lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report on gastroesophageal relfux.

Radio MD - Baby Spitting Up?
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Not All Reflux in Infants is Disease, According to AAP (article)