Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux, can be defined as the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. Where the esophagus meets the stomach is the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle ring that prevents stomach contents and digestive juices from escaping back into the esophagus. Acid reflux is quite common in infants as the lower esophageal sphincter may be weak or underdeveloped. This condition usually intensifies at 4 months of age and resolves spontaneously at 12-18 months of age. Continuation of acid reflux in infants beyond 24 months may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a more serious condition.

What are the symptoms of reflux in infants?

The most common symptoms of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease in infants are vomiting or spitting up, wet burps or hiccups, refusal to eat, difficulty swallowing, failure to gain weight, irritability during feeding, abnormal arching of the back, frequent coughing and disturbed sleep.

Feed little and often.

Inftants’ stomach volume is quite small, feeding more than stomach capacity at one meal increases the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, making it easier for stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. Therefore, if your infant has reflux, reduce the amount of food you give at the meal and increase the frequency of feeding.

Feed your infant in an upright position.

Acid reflux occurs after meals, and a horizontal position facilitates the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. Therefore, feed your baby in an upright position and lay your infant down after making sure that he is in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after feeding.

Burp your inftant more often.

If your baby has reflux, burp both during and after feeding. It is very beneficial to burp the baby every 30-60 ml in formula-fed babies and every time the baby releases the nipple in breastfed babies.

Give importance to safe sleep.

It is thought that raising the head of their bed may be beneficial for infants with reflux, but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), this practice is not effective and may increase the likelihood that the infant will shift into an unsafe position while sleep. The AAP recommends that babies always sleep on their back on a flat, firm surface. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend sleep positioners designed to keep the baby’s head and body in one position, due to the risk of infant death syndrome (SIDS) or suffocation.

Do not neglect the doctor’s control.

If the symptoms cannot be alleviated by lifestyle and dietary changes, medical support under the control of a doctor or, rarely, surgical intervention may be required. Therefore, if you observe reflux symptoms in your baby, you should definitely consult a doctor.


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