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Infant Reflux

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

Infant reflux occurs because the muscular valve that keeps food down isn’t closed tightly. This causes babies to regurgitate their feeds. As you know, babies are notorious spillers and it is extremely common for small amounts of milk to come back up after a big feed. There are varying degrees of reflux and the more severe form is called GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease).


Babies who have some degree of reflux may bring up their food otherwise known as posseting, but will not appear to be affected, often smiling as the milk is ejected. However, GORD requires treatment due to its impact on calorie and nutrient intake and most noticeably the mood and behaviour of the baby.


Lucas was diagnosed with reflux which we didn’t expect as he hardly vomits and his weight gain wasn’t yet affected. Silent reflux is where the milk is regurgitated but doesn’t make its way out of the mouth and this is where reflux can be misdiagnosed as Colic.


GORD is often caused by the baby consuming a protein they cannot digest. This can be through the mum’s diet or through formula. The most common allergy or intolerance is Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance, followed by Soy.


Symptoms to look out for:

❗️Pain during feeds (back-arching, crying)

❗️Refusing to drink despite hunger or loss of appetite

❗️Gagging

❗️Abnormal movements of the head and neck

❗️Coughing (especially during the night when lying down)

❗️Wheeziness

❗️Failure to thrive (no or low weight gain)

❗️Irritability and fussiness

❗️Difficult sleeper (wakes crying)

❗️Dehydration (no wet nappies in 3 hours)


If you are concerned that your baby might have reflux, always seek the advice of a GP who will be able to refer you onto a paediatric gastroenterologist. The good news is most babies grow out of their reflux by the time they are 1 year old. In the mean time there are prescription medications to keep the acidic regurgitation at bay which will help your little one drink with ease.




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