A common condition that is experienced by infants under the age of 12 months is infant acid reflux. Infant acid reflux is the technical term used when a baby spits up. The frequency of this condition generally takes place following the baby’s feeding. However, infant acid reflux can occur following any episodes of strain placed upon the baby’s stomach. These episodes can include coughing or crying.
The condition of infant acid reflux usually resolves itself within the first 18 months of birth. However, for the new parents, this condition may prove to be very disturbing. Therefore, it is important to know what causes infant acid reflux, steps that the parents can take and when to consult with a doctor.
Causes Of Infant Acid Reflux
When an infant spits up or exhibits infant acid reflux there are certain physiological dynamics taking place which causes this condition. This spitting up may be due to the fact that the baby has taken in too much liquid or food or may be due to other causes.
Those other causes may be an added strain on the stomach. The infant acid reflux, in these situations, is due to the fact that the muscle sphincter or muscle ring between the stomach and the esophagus relaxes or opens due to crying, coughing, etc. When this muscle relaxes or opens the contents of the stomach are released causing the backward flow of the food or liquid.
In addition, it is important to note that infant acid reflux is a natural occurrence due to the age of the baby. This young age reflects the underdeveloped strength of this particular muscle ring. Therefore, as the baby develops in a healthy manner, the strength and therefore the function of the muscle sphincter will develop correspondingly.
Practical Steps To Take
To minimize the condition of infant acid reflux there are a number of steps that the parent can take. First of all, it is important to remain calm. This will not only help to reduce the tension and anxiety that the parent may be experiencing, but will also help to minimize the anxiousness of the infant.
Also, the position of the baby is important during feeding times. Therefore, the child should be sitting up when taking liquid or being fed with solid food. This upright position will help the food to remain in the stomach.
Additionally, it may be helpful when minimizing infant acid reflux to have frequent feedings that utilize less food during those feedings. This will aid in preventing overeating and yet satisfy the infant’s hunger.
Also, it is important to burp the child frequently. This will allow for the escape of air that maybe building up in the stomach. It is best not to burp the child by placing the infant over the shoulder. This may cause additional pressure on the baby’s stomach.
Consulting With A Doctor
However, in rare instances, there may be a need to consult with your pediatrician regarding infant acid reflux. This consultation may be indicated when certain serious symptoms are exhibited by your child.
Some of those symptoms may include limited or no weight gain. Additional warning signs maybe the spitting up of brownish or green fluid, projectile vomiting, loss of appetite or a raspy voice. Also, if the urinary output of the infant is minimal or if diarrhea is present or if the child is feverish, these could be possible signs associated with infant acid reflux or other severe stomach ailments.