Babies spit up, is this infant acid reflux?

Are you worried that your baby may have infant acid reflux? Many first time parents are becoming concerned with this due to the bombardment we experience everyday from television commercials and ads for reflux medicine.

What is spitting up?

After or during feeding babies will spit up milk or food. It is an easy spitting up of food, not a throwing up with pressure like vomiting, and usually only a mouthful or two. This refluxing or spitting up often occurs in infants during the first months of life, it is normal. As long as the baby isn’t choking on the food, spitting up large amounts or fails to gain weight it usually isn’t a problem.

Why do babies spit up?

Babies’ digestive systems are not fully developed and they don’t really know how to eat. There is a muscular valve at the top of the stomach called the LES, that is not fully developed until the child is 6 to 12 months old. Until this valve develops it is easy for stomach contents to push passed this valve and enter the esophagus, the result is spitting up or what could be referred to as infant acid reflux.

How to stop or reduce spitting up

Keep babies upright while feeding and for at least a half an hour afterwards. If you lay the baby down after feeding, place the child on its stomach on an incline of at least 30 degrees with the head up. Only place the baby in this position if they are awake. Lying on the stomach is not recommended during sleep for babies under 12 months old because of the link between this and sudden infant death syndrome. Positioning the baby on his/her back during sleep is generally recommended.

Smaller more frequent feedings will reduce the chance of refluxing. Filling up the stomach to capacity will increase the pressure and result in more refluxing. Keep total feeding time to less than 20 minutes.

Burp your baby while feeding and after feeding. You are trying to relieve pressure in the stomach. Sit the baby upright and support his head. Air bubbles will rise to the top of the stomach in this position. When you burp the baby in the standard way, with the baby over the shoulder, you can put pressure on the stomach and increase the incidence of infant acid reflux.

Don’t feed too often; wait at least 2 hours so the stomach contents from the previous feeding are not in the stomach.

Breast feeding is better than bottle feeding for refluxing and other reasons. After feeding keep the child upright and don’t play with or handle the child in a way that shakes or puts more pressure on the stomach for half an hour or so.

Don’t give baby junk food or drink, absolutely no soda or anything with caffeine.

Don’t make the diaper too tight, it increases pressure on the stomach.

Health effects

Most babies will outgrow this problem by the time they are 12 months old. As long as the infant is gaining weight and growing normally there is nothing to worry about. There are a small number of babies that spit up excessively. If the child throws up with force a lot, seems like he’s choking on the regurgitation or is not gaining weight, you should consult your doctor.

The information here is not meant to replace that of your doctor, always seek competent medical advice from a professional, see disclaimer. Acid suppressing drugs

I created this page because while doing research for this site and for my own health problems, I kept coming across discussion groups about infant acid reflux, where people were trading information about their experiences and which medications the had their babies on.

Like I said above, this is not meant to replace your doctor’s advice, but please think long and hard before you put a small child on these powerful medications. Please educate yourself before you make a decision. This site and others, plus a few good books will give you the information you need about infant acid reflux or acid reflux in adults.

The following link will give you access to good, natural information. Although it isn't specifically for infants, it should help you. I want more info, leave the infant acid reflux page.