Does It Seem Your Baby Has Colic? It May Be Gastroesophageal Reflux

If your baby cries much more than normal, such as for hours at time, you may think they have colic. Even though this may be true, there is another illness they may have—gastroesophageal reflux. Below is some more information about this painful disease so you can help your baby feel better.

Gastroesophageal Reflux

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) occurs when the acid from the stomach goes back into the esophagus, which is also known as regurgitation. When this happens, it causes pain in the abdominal and chest area. It is common for a baby to have GER more so than adults. This is because their valve muscle that is between the stomach and esophagus is not fully developed yet. When your baby has GER, they are having a heartburn much like what you feel when you have heartburn. With GER, however, the pain is much worse.

Symptoms of GER

Other than crying much more than normal, there are other symptoms of GER that you can watch out for. You may notice that your baby spits up much more than normal, has frequent wet burps, and makes gagging noises in their throat. While lying down, your child may throw up their legs and/or arch their back after being fed. They may also seem more irritable, refuse to eat, and lose weight.

Treatment of GER

You can try some things at home to help make your baby feel better. Instead of feeding them all at once, try to split it up. For example, instead of one full cup, feed your baby one-half cup and then one-half cup later. This can help your baby because they will not have as much food in their stomach all at one time, which will decrease the acid reflux. Feeding your baby more frequently also stimulates saliva production, which neutralizes the acid in the stomach. When you finish feeding your baby, keep them upright for about 30 minutes. This will help keep the food down.

Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do. Breast milk is not only has more nutrients and is healthier for your baby, but it can also improve your baby's digestion when compared to formula.

If your baby continues to have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, take them to their pediatrician for treatment. There are medications they can prescribe to help your baby. Fortunately, your baby will likely outgrow GER within a few months.