Acid reflux is typically considered an adult disease. However, it is actually common among infants. Some sources claim nearly 50% of infants end up suffering from acid reflux within only first few months of their lives.
Most parents find their inability to understand and interpret the symptoms of acid reflux in babies frustrating. A baby who experiences acid reflux can only express this through crying, leaving the parent mystified as to the true cause of the behaviour.
The sooner parents educate themselves about issues commonly afflicting infants and toddlers, including acid reflux, the sooner they can prevent their baby’s pain — and their own — and end their own frustration. This is especially important because of the potential long-term negative effects of acid reflux on an infant. These include a baby’s failure to thrive because he or she does not eat enough food. Some babies experience breathing problems as a resulting of damage to their esophageal tissue caused by acid reflux.
Good News About Acid Reflux in Babies
Babies who experience acid reflux exhibit behaviour typical among babies. Experienced parents know that babies spit up, vomit and experience irritability regularly. It is difficult, therefore, for them to discriminate between normal baby behaviour and symptoms of acid reflux in babies.
Diagnosis of acid reflux in infants depends mainly on how frequent and how severe the symptoms of acid reflux in babies are. Babies suffering from acid reflux cannot keep stomach contents in their stomachs. A baby who vomits each time he or she eats could very well be exhibiting symptoms of acid reflux in babies.
Unlike adult acid reflux disease, musculature does not seem to be the cause of acid reflux in infants. Instead, a baby’s young and underdeveloped digestive system is not yet well-coordinated. As a result, a baby’s stomach may become too full too fast. The situation is aggravated by the amount of time infants spend on their backs compared to adults.
Parents who suspect their infant is exhibiting symptoms of acid reflux in babies should have their pediatrician examine their baby. As with adults, the first step is a lifestyle change involving things like thickening the baby food with cereal. If dietary changes fail to resolve the symptoms of acid reflux in babies, the baby may be given over-the-counter or prescription medications. Another option is a special bed that allows the infant to sleep in an inclined position, reducing the reflux.
Whatever the cause of acid reflux in babies and regardless what solution provides them with the most relief, it is certainly good news that majority of infants tend to not suffer long-term consequences as a result of having the disease.