What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is characterised by a burning sensation or heartburn along with a acidic taste in the mouth and throat. Like adults, babies also tend to suffer from acid reflux which causes them to spit out. Unfortunately, it becomes quite frequent for many. In babies, the muscles between oesophagus and stomach are not fully mature, hence the contents of the stomach flow backward.
Causes of Acid Reflux
The few common reasons which cause reflux in babies are:
- Premature birth
- Lying flat on the stomach
- Consuming an all-liquid diet
Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Babies
- Frequent vomiting
- Refusal to eat or difficulty eating
- Heartburn and gas
- Abdominal pain
- Colicky behavior
- Sour taste in the mouth and baby making faces
- Spitting greenish yellow fluid
- Presence of blood in the stool
- Chronic cough
- Irritability after eating/feed
Also Read: Colic: symptoms, reasons and home remedies to treat the colic in babies
Home Remedies to Cure Acid Reflux in Babies
The problem reduces as your baby gets older and becomes more active. However, some babies become irritated and cranky when they get this sour taste in their mouth. Well, one can try some natural remedies for infants to reduce their discomfort.
#1. Adjustments in sleeping
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Babies who suffer from acid reflux have difficulty in sleeping. An incorrect position and timing can worsen the situation and make them fussier. In order to reduce that, keep the baby’s head elevated up to 30 degrees with the help of some towels or pillow. Making your child sleep in this position will decrease the chances of your baby spitting out the milk. You can even make them sleep on their back or on the left aside to clear the acid.
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Babies who suffer from acid reflux should be made to do some basic exercises. This will help to improve digestion. Make sure you do not feed the baby immediately after exercise or before the exercise. The best exercises to try are cycling the legs, knee pushing towards the stomach to reduce bloating and gas.
#3. Massage Therapy
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Regular massage helps to improve the functioning of the respiratory and digestive systems of your baby. A good massage stimulates the vagus nerve in the brain which controls various regions of the respiratory and digestive systems. Massage also helps to reduce crying and helps in sleeping. You may massage your baby using long strokes to prevent reflux.
Also Read: Why does your baby spit up after every feed?
#4. Coconut Oil
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Coconut oil contains anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce inflammation from reflux. It even keeps the digestive system lubricated and helps it to function more effectively. Nursing mothers should ingest 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil to boost baby’s immune function. Babies can be given virgin coconut oil in moderation with some warm water. once they are 6 months old.
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Peppermint possesses antispasmodic and soothing properties, which calm the digestive system and ease the acid reflux. Just mix 2 drops of peppermint oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and use it to massage the baby’s abdomen in a circular motion. It should be done twice daily. Nursing mothers can drink some peppermint tea 2-3 times a day.
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Chamomile is an excellent natural remedy for reflux. The antispasmodic and sedative properties help to improve digestion. Nursing mothers should drink 2-3 cups of chamomile tea every day.
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Cumin seeds stimulate digestion and help to reduce gas and acidity. Boil 1 tsp of cumin seeds with 1 cup of water and cover it for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool. Strain the concoction and give 1-2 tsp of this solution to your baby 2-3 times a day. This is applicable for babies who are at least 6 months old.
Also Read: 10 common reasons of stomach pain in babies
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Fennel seeds contain a compound - Anethole,
which helps to suppress the spasms of the stomach and this makes it an effective remedy to treat acid reflux. Nursing mothers can drink fennel tea 2-3 times a day. Babies who are 6 months of age can be given ½ - 1 tsp of fennel tea divided into 3 parts to be taken in a day.
#9. Ginger Root
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The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help to decrease pain and discomfort caused due to heartburn. It helps to soothe the stomach and reduce the production of acid in your baby’s tummy. Nursing mothers can sip ginger tea 1-2 times a day.
How to prevent Acid Reflux in babies?
Here are a few things you can do to prevent an acid reflux in your baby:
- After feeding, do not lay your baby immediately down. Hold your baby upright for at least 30 minutes after feeding and burp your baby. Burp your baby after each feed/meal. In fact, you can interrupt and stop the feed and burp the baby between the feeding session.
- Give your baby small frequent feeds. You can increase the number of feedings and decrease the quantity of each feed. Small quantities are easier to digest for babies. And, do not overfeed your baby.
- For bottle-fed babies, the size of the nipple hole needs to be checked. Large holes make your baby gulp in air and this leads to acid reflux. Try different nipples till you find one that does not allow air to pass.
- Change the formula you are using. Some formulas might contain certain ingredients that are causing acid reflux in your baby. Check with your pediatrician and try a different formula if the need be.
- The diet of the breastfeeding mother has a direct influence on the baby’s health. She should avoid consuming spicy and fried foods. She should include probiotic curd in her diet to improve her and her baby’s digestion. Common allergens such as eggs, soy, gluten, wheat and citrus fruits should be avoided.
Also Read: 5 Home Remedies to get rid of worms in Kids
It is however best to consult a doctor if the symptoms become severe leading to discomfort and if the home remedies do not show any significant improvements,
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