The food that we eat enters the stomach
through a tube called the oesophagus. A ring of
muscles known as the lower oesophageal sphincter
opens to allow food to enter the stomach. It
normally opens to release gases after a meal. In
case of infants the contents reflux out of the
mouth and cause vomiting or regurgitation. Acid reflux is
common in infants and occurs during the
first three months of age. Usually, the symptoms
disappear by the time the child is 18 months old.
However, at times the symptoms of acid reflux are
severe requiring medical evaluation and
Symptoms of acid reflux in
Frequent spitting or
Refusing food or eating only small
Frequent hiccups or
Poor sleep habits.
Difficulty in swallowing due to
frequent sore throat, plus respiratory problems
and sometimes spells of paused
If the infant is healthy, content, and
growing well, no diagnostic tests or treatment are
necessary as the symptoms may resolve with time.
However, if the doctor suspects an underlying
serious condition, then blood and urine tests,
oesophageal pH monitoring, upper GI series, etc.
may be recommended. In rare cases an endoscopy may
be done to rule out the possibility of narrowing
or inflammation of the oesophagus.
Treatment of acid reflux in infants
depends on the severity of the problem. For most
babies, the symptoms disappear as the baby grows
older. If the symptoms are severe or if acid
reflux is diagnosed, the doctor may prescribe
over-the-counter medications such as antacids,
acid suppressors or acid blockers. However, these
medications have several side effects such as poor
digestion, diarrhoea, bloating, decreased
absorption of various nutrients, increased risk of
gastrointestinal infections, electrolyte
imbalance, increased risk of rickets, and impaired
kidney function. Medications should be given only
if they are absolutely necessary.
Making some lifestyle changes will
definitely help reduce the symptoms of acid
reflux. But, it is better to consult a doctor
before making any major changes in sleeping
positions, feeding etc.
Keep the infant upright during feeding
and at least for 30 minutes after
At night, position the infant on his
back and elevate the head of the bed to 30
· Smaller, frequent feedings work best.
Overfeeding increases abdominal pressure and may
lead to acid reflux.
Thickening the feeds with rice cereal
is also useful.
Breast fed babies have fewer episodes
of acid reflux. Breast milk is more easily
digested than formula milk and is less irritating
to the digestive tract. Breast-feeding mothers,
however, must avoid garlic, chocolate, caffeine
and other foods that may promote
Burp the infant several times during
feedings. This helps minimize gastric pressure and
reflux. Burping infant on a full stomach increases
the chances of regurgitation.
Avoid elastic or tight clothes around
the baby's waist.
Avoid giving citrus juices and
caffeinated beverages to infants.
Generally, these measures go a long way
in not only relieving the symptoms but also
preventing the condition from becoming chronic as
the infant grows older. Unlike OTC drugs, they do
not have side effects and can be incorporated as
lifestyle changes. But in majority of cases, the
infants outgrow the spitting up or acid reflux by
the time they reach their first birthday. If the
symptoms persist even after that, then the best
recourse would be to opt for the holistic
treatment which is a natural cure for acid reflux
by tackling its multi-factorial nature. It is also
perfectly safe as there are no side effects
associated with it. In the long run, it can ensure
a PERMANENT acid-reflux-free life for your