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Gastroesophageal reflux in infants

  • Alternative Names

    Reflux - infants


    If your baby or infant is spitting up more than you expect but is still growing well and seems content, no changes in feeding may be needed.

    Talk with your doctor or nurse about some simple changes that may be made when feeding:

    • Burp your baby after drinking 1 to 2 ounces of formula, or after feeding on each side if breastfeeding
    • Add 1 tablespoon of rice cereal to 2 ounces of formula, milk, or expressed breast milk. If needed, change the nipple size or cut a small x in the nipple.
    • If possible, hold the baby upright for 20-30 minutes after feeding.
    • Raise the head of the crib, if possible. However, your infant should still sleep on the back, unless your healthcare provider suggests otherwise.

    When the infant begins to eat solid food, thickened foods may help.

    Sometimes medicines are used to reduce acid or increase the movement of the intestines.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The majority of infants outgrow this condition. In unusual cases, reflux may persist into childhood and can cause varying degrees of esophageal damage.

    • Aspiration pneumonia caused by stomach contents passing into the lungs
    • Irritation and swelling of the esophagus
    • Scarring and narrowing of the esophagus

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if your baby is vomiting frequently, especially if the vomiting is forceful or if other symptoms of reflux occur. Also call if your baby:

    • Has problems breathing after vomiting
    • Is refusing food, and is losing weight or not gaining weight
    • Is crying often