Reflux in Newborns

signs of reflux in newborns

Infant reflux generally isn’t a cause for issue. It’s extremely uncommon for the stomach contents to have sufficient acid to irritate the throat or esophagus and to cause signs and symptoms.

Signs of Reflux in Newborns

See your baby’s doctor if your baby:

  • Isn’t really putting on weight
  • Has blood in his or her stool.
  • Consistently spits up forcefully, triggering stomach contents to shoot out of his or her mouth (projectile vomiting).
  • Spits up blood or a product that appears like coffee premises.
  • Has difficulty breathing or a chronic cough.
  • Spits up green or yellow fluid.
  • Declines food.
  • Is uncommonly irritable after eating.
  • Begins spitting up at age 6 months or older.

signs of reflux in newborns

Some of these signs can show perhaps major but treatable conditions, such as GERD or an obstruction in the digestive tract.

Reflux in Newborns Causes

In infants, the ring of muscle in between the esophagus and the stomach– the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)– is not yet completely mature. That allows stomach contents to flow backward. Ultimately, the LES will open only when your baby swallows and will stay firmly closed at other times, keeping stomach contents where they belong.

The aspects that add to infant reflux prevail in infants and often cannot be avoided. These aspects include:

  • Babies lying flat the majority of the time.
  • A nearly entirely liquid diet.
  • Babies being born too soon.

Sometimes, infant reflux can be caused by more-serious conditions, such as:

  • GERD. The reflux has sufficient acid to aggravate and harm the lining of the esophagus.
  • Pyloric stenosis. A valve in between the stomach and the small intestine is narrowed, preventing stomach contents from emptying into the small intestine.
  • Food intolerance. A protein in cow’s milk is the most common trigger.
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis. A certain type of leukocyte (eosinophil) develops and injures the lining of the esophagus.


Infant reflux typically clears up by itself without causing problems for your baby.

If your baby has a more-serious condition such as GERD, she or he may show signs of bad development. Some research indicates that children who have regular episodes of spitting up might be most likely to establish GERD during later childhood.

Treatment for Reflux in Newborns

Infant reflux normally clears up by itself. In the meantime, your doctor might recommend:

  • Holding your baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after feedings.
  • Disrupting feedings to burp your baby.
  • Offering your baby smaller sized, more-frequent feedings.
  • Utilizing a various size of nipple on baby bottles. A nipple that is too large or too small can cause your baby to swallow air.
  • Thickening formula or expressed breast milk somewhat and in progressive increments with rice cereal. Although recognized as an affordable strategy, thickening includes possibly unnecessary calories to your baby’s diet.
  • Switching the kind of formula you feed your baby.
  • Removing dairy items, beef or eggs from your diet if you’re breast-feeding, to test if your baby has an allergy.


Reflux medications aren’t advised for children with straightforward reflux. These medications can prevent absorption of calcium and iron, and increase the risk of specific intestinal and respiratory infections.

Nevertheless, a short-term trial of an acid-blocking medication– such as ranitidine for infants age 1 month to 1 year or omeprazole (Prilosec) for children age 1 year or older– might be advised if your baby:.

  • Has bad weight gain and more-conservative treatments have not worked.
  • Choose not to feed.
  • Has proof of an irritated esophagus.
  • Has chronic asthma and reflux.


Rarely, the lower esophageal sphincter is surgically tightened up to avoid acid from receding into the esophagus. This procedure (fundoplication) is generally done just when reflux is severe enough to prevent growth or to interfere with your baby’s breathing.


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