Baby Acid Reflux

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Baby acid reflux is a medical condition, which is aptly defined as the condition that allows food eaten earlier by the baby and stomach acid to surge back up into the baby’s esophagus. This usually happens to the baby before their digestive system stabilizes and functions as it should. Usually, unless in very severe conditions, the baby outgrows the condition and therefore no medical intervention is necessary. However, if the reflux is very frequent therefore causing problems to the baby, medical intervention should be sought.

In a person’s body (babies included), there are muscles at the lower side of the esophagus that allows the food to enter the stomach after swallowing. These muscles usually close after food passage and only open when gas (often air swallowed with food) is being released. They are known as the lower esophageal sphincter.  In young babies, the muscles may let out the gas in addition to food contents swallowed earlier. The contents then flow back into the baby’s esophagus and into the mouth. Most babies spit them out.   Parents may mistake this as vomiting, although most of them refer to this condition simply as spitting up.

In most cases, baby acid reflux occurs minutes after the baby is fed. However, this may also happen when the baby cries, coughs or strains. The condition is very common as most babies experience it in the first three months of life.  The condition however usually disappears when the baby is between twelve and eighteen months of age.

Treatment for baby acid reflux should only be sought when the symptoms are severe therefore posing a risk to the baby’s development.  Some of the symptoms that parents should be on the look out for include frequent spitting, frequent vomiting, constant crying, the baby arching backwards while being fed, frequent hiccups, frequent coughing, bad  breath, poor sleeping habits and irritability. In more severe cases, the baby may have difficulty swallowing food and may be diagnosed with a sore throat.

Babies with severe baby acid reflux may have poor feeding habits, which affect their weight gain. In some cases, the baby may even loose weight. The baby may also be diagnosed with conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, wheezing and pneumonia.  Babies with the condition may also have excessive drooling, and may frequently develop sinus or ear infections. When the baby cries, the parent may notice that the baby’s voice is hoarse. Baby reflux in older children may manifest with symptoms such as trouble swallowing, bad taste, heart burn and water-like fluid coming from the baby’s mouth.

The treatment of baby acid reflux varies with the severity of the condition. Doctors usually recommend that mothers thicken the food fed to the babies, because this reduces the likelihood of the food coming back up. There are commercial baby food thickeners available for purchase although mothers and caretakers may need to confirm with the doctor about the safety of their use. Some of the common treatments offered by the doctors include antacids, which neutralizes the acid contained in the baby’s stomach, Acid suppressers, which suppress the rate of acid production in the stomach and acid blockers. These block acid production in the baby’s stomach.

Some of the lifestyle changes that parents are advised to make include keeping the baby upright after feeding and winding the baby after feeding. Since the contents contained in the spitting up have acid from the stomach, the condition may cause damage to the baby’s throat if left untreated.Baby reflux usually stops when baby is around 1 year old even without medical intervention.

Heartburn no More

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