Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

Many babies cry a lot specially after the feeds. This could be Gastroesophageal  reflux.

Gastroesophageal reflux (GOR), the passage of gastric contents into the oesophagus, occurs commonly in newborn infants, especially those born prematurely. Physiologic GER typically is a developmental process that resolves with maturation. GER generally resolves on its own by one year of age. In infants who remain asymptomatic, no further evaluation or intervention is typically required.

In contrast, GOR disease (GORD), is clinically significant GER that causes problems. In infants they include frequent vomiting, aspiration pneumonia, irritability, failure to thrive, and exacerbation of respiratory symptoms, including chronic lung disease and most commonly excessive crying.

I see many babies who have been suffering as the reflux is undiagnosed or untreated. Diagnosis is usually clinical indicated by poor feeding, possetting/vomiting a lot, crying, arching of the back, unsettled babies. Treatment is by burping them after each feed for 15-20 min, sleeping them at an angle by raising the head end of mattress, feed thickeners like Gaviscon Infant/Carolbel and some medications which can be prescribed by doctors.

Babies who are breastfed, can be tried on feed thickeners like Gaviscon Infant or Carobel. They do tend to constipate the child, so dose may have to be adjusted.

There are some pre thickened formulas available now like Aptamil Anti Reflux (AR), Cow & Gate AR, SMA Staydown etc. They can be tried if the baby is formula fed and see if that helps. If the simple measures are not working then professional advice should be sought.

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