In the upper part of the stomach there is a valve that prevents the stomach contents from passing back into the esophagus.
For many babies, this valve doesn't work very well, and milk and stomach acid can rise back up and out of the mouth. It is what is known as Reflux, and it is the reason why many babies expel milk through their mouth, especially after they have eaten.
This is usually not a problem. Babies retain enough milk in their stomachs so they are not hungry and grow normally. The only "problem" is that there are more clothes to wash.
Is it normal for a baby to have reflux?
It is normal for babies to spit up, or even vomit from time to time after meals. This is known as reflux, and most babies are over one year of age.
However, when a baby spits up a lot it can affect their growth or even cause esophagus or breathing problems, they may have agastroesophageal reflux disease, which needs to be addressed.
How to know if a baby has gastroesophageal reflux?
There are certain behaviors that can indicate that a baby has gastroesophageal reflux:
- It does not gain weight.
- Spit up or vomit forcefully, causing stomach contents to shoot out of the mouth.
- Spits up green or yellow fluid.
- Regurgitates blood.
- He doesn't want to eat.
- You have blood in your stool.
- You have trouble breathing
- He begins to vomit after 6 months.
Why does reflux occur in babies?
There are several factors that can cause reflux in babies, although the most common is that it is caused by a combination of factors.
In babies, the valve that separates the esophagus and stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, is still has not matured enough, which causes stomach contents to pass into the esophagus. Over time, this valve will only open when the baby swallows and will remain tightly closed the rest of the time.
Babies spend most of their time lying down, which makes reflux more likely to occur. In addition, their diet is completely liquid, which also promotes reflux.
In some cases, childhood reflux symptoms may indicate other more important problems such as:
- Allergic gastroenteritis. It is an intolerance to certain foods, generally to the protein in cow's milk.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is a condition in which the reflux is so acidic that it can irritate and damage the lining of the esophagus.
- Eosinophilic esophagitis. It is a condition where eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, accumulate and damage the lining of the esophagus.
- Obstruction. It is caused by obstruction, narrowing in the esophagus (esophageal stricture) or the passage between the stomach and the small intestine (pyloric stenosis).
How can reflux be prevented in babies?
Some things that can reduce reflux in babies:
- Keep the baby in an upright position.
- Feed the baby in the most upright position possible.
- Keep the baby in a sitting position for 30 minutes after feeding.
- Try and smaller size more frequent shots.
- Feed the baby less milk but more often.
- How to prepare a bottle?
- Tips for feeding a baby formula
- Infant colic
- Is my baby getting enough milk?