What are the Symptoms of Reflux in Babies?
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Babies are like a new world that you start exploring step by step. With birth, you learn a lot from your baby as he tries to adapt to his new life. E.g; Although reflux is generally known as a stomach problem that occurs in adults, it is also a problem especially in children under the age of one.
It is also possible to encounter other problems when you do not have enough information about this ailment, which can seriously affect your baby’s quality of life. For this reason, as a parent, you should definitely learn about the symptoms of reflux in babies.
What are the symptoms of infant reflux, which is quite common in newborns and infants? We have compiled for you what you wonder about how this problem can be understood and how it can be treated.
What is Baby Reflux?
Reflux or reflux is the condition in which stomach contents such as milk and food leak back from the esophagus and into the mouth for various reasons. Its known medical name is gastroesophageal reflux.
Infant reflux is seen in up to 60% of 0-6-month-old babies. Although it continues until the age of one year, it is observed that the complaint decreases and goes away on its own. Although it goes away on its own, it affects the baby negatively during this time.
Reflux Symptoms in Babies
Reflux is a stomach problem that bothers both adults and children, and it manifests itself with some findings.
Baby reflux symptoms include:
- Frequent vomiting (It occurs especially in the form of food coming back after feeding.)
- Spitting up vomiting
- Wheezing breathing
- Not gaining weight
- Having difficulty feeding
- Refusal to feed and throwing yourself backward
- Crying after feeding
- Do not chew as if ruminating after feeding
- Fluttering after feeding
- Nasal congestion
- Recurrent middle ear infections
- Recurrent respiratory infections
These symptoms are the main reflux symptoms observed in infants. If these findings occur, you should consult your doctor and learn how to proceed.
How to Tell if a Baby Has Reflux?
During the first months of life, babies may vomit frequently and may reflux some of the milk or formula they have been sucking on. The situation that the baby regurgitates what he ate in this way does not always indicate stomach reflux. Because the stomach capacity of babies, especially newborns, is very small and it is normal to have regurgitation due to overfeeding. In addition, the fact that their digestive systems are not fully developed plays an effective role in this situation.
So how can you tell if the baby is experiencing ordinary withdrawal or has reflux?
There are a few tricks you can base this on.
- If the baby’s vomit is gushing and copious,
- If the baby is not gaining weight or gaining weight well below the required weight,
- If you have frequent respiratory or ear infections,
- If he exhibits many of the symptoms of reflux,
infant reflux can be mentioned.
If the vomiting is small and like curdled milk, there is no need to worry if there is no problem with weight gain.
Causes of Reflux in Babies
There are some reasons that cause infant reflux. So what causes reflux in babies?
This stomach problem, which affects the little ones, can be physiological or nutritional.
- The valve between the stomach and the esophagus is not fully developed.
- Putting the baby to bed immediately after feeding.
- Not understanding that the baby is full even though he/she is full and overfeeding.
- Not burping the baby.
- Laying the baby on a flatbed.
- Making sudden movements while holding the baby.
Factors Triggering Reflux
The factors that trigger reflux in children can be listed as follows.
- Premature birth (the valve between the stomach and the esophagus does not develop).
- Brain and nervous system problems.
- The birth weight of the baby is more than 4 kilograms.
- Functional disorders originating from the esophagus.
- Stomach hernia.
- Structural anomalies in the esophagus.
- Delayed digestion of food in the stomach.
- Increased intra-abdominal pressure for various reasons.
These factors are among the most important factors that can cause reflux.
How is Reflux Diagnosed in Babies?
Detection of reflux in young children can be done easily. Most of the time, the findings observed by the parents and the doctor’s examination are sufficient to make the diagnosis. In addition, a method called pH meter analysis (pH monitoring) can be used for the diagnosis of reflux, which measures the acid escaping from the stomach with the help of a thin cable attached to the esophagus for 24 hours.
How Is Infant Reflux Treated?
Reflux in babies usually goes away on its own within the first year. However, reflux can challenge both the baby and the family in the first months. The frequency of vomiting, crying spells, feeding refusal, and other problems that may be encountered lead parents to research reflux treatment in infants.
There are medical and surgical treatment methods for reflux. But first priority is always given to practices aimed at improving nutrition and daily conditions.
You can take these steps to pass and prevent reflux:
- Feed your baby frequently and little by little.
- Do not put your baby to bed immediately after feeding. Let him stand for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Pay attention to the position in which you lay your baby. The most correct lying position for babies with reflux is the side-lying position, in which the head is supported at an angle of 30-40 degrees.
- Use an infant reflux pillow or mattress if needed.
- If you are supplementing with formula, make sure that the portion you prepare is not too large and does not exceed the baby’s stomach capacity.
- When preparing food for your baby, try to keep the consistency as dense as possible.
- Make sure to burp the baby after each feeding.
- If you are using a bottle during feeding, make sure you hold the bottle at the right angle or take care to use bottles specially designed for this. Otherwise, your baby will swallow air while sucking the bottle, which will trigger the gas problem.
- Be sure to use the appropriate numbered nipple for the bottle. The flow rate should not be too slow or too fast.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing. Especially tight clothes with elastic waist can increase the pressure on the stomach.
- If you continue to breastfeed, remove caffeinated beverages, spicy foods, dairy products made from cow’s milk, and fruits and vegetables containing intense acid from your diet.
- If the problem does not disappear despite all applications and precautions, or if the baby is 12-18 months old, other treatment methods should be started. Untreated infant reflux can lead to different health problems in the coming years. Therefore, reflux symptoms in infants should be well observed by parents.
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