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Baby reflux (regurgitation) is a very common Gastrointestinal Disorder that affects more than 50% of healthy full-term infants through the first year of their life. It causes anxiety and frustration to the family and parents often seek for medical consultation to fix this frequently observed “problem” that has direct impact on the quality of their everyday life.
Reflux in infancy is nothing but effortless returns of gastric contents into the mouth. Usually we have to do with “happy spitters” and baby reflux is going to be spontaneously resolved within the first year of life. But when the baby seems also irritated, without gaining proper weight or even refuses to eat, then we are dealing with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which is a much more severe situation and treatment is totally different. Pediatrician consultation is therefore mandatory to reach the correct diagnosis and provide the most effective regurgitation management for the baby.
But what causes regurgitation in babies and what can be done?
In older children and adults, an elastic-like muscle at the entry to the stomach closes like a valve to prevent liquids from being pushed back up. In babies, however, this valve or sphincter isn’t fully effective until between 6 and 12 months of age. Since it isn’t fully developed yet, the valve is easily pushed back by the contents of the stomach – resulting in regurgitation or spitting up. Regurgitation can also occur after overfeeding, but another not so frequent cause of baby reflux is allergy.
When the baby spits up frequently but is growing normally and does not really face any other complications besides reflux, there is probably no cause for alarm. What a parent is supposed to do though in such a case is give his/her baby less to drink during a feeding, but feed him or her more frequently. Also burp in between and not move the baby about too vigorously after a feeding.
According to the most recent guidelines for regurgitation management in infants, anti-regurgitation infant formulas are also recommended to overcome this disorder, when breastfeeding is not applied.