Babies spit up a lot, most even several times a day. It typically occurs just after feedings, but sometimes it seems to happen with no warning. That's normal, right? This is due to reflux, which most babies outgrow by the age of one.
However, it can sometimes persist into childhood. It's important to notice when normal spitting up becomes excessive vomiting. When vomiting and other abnormal symptoms, such as throat pain and breathing problems, arise, it may be due to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or GERD).
The most common symptoms of GERD in children and babies include:
- frequent vomiting
- a persisting cough
- trouble eating/gagging
- crying during/after a feeding
- heartburn, gas, or belly pain
How to Treat At Home
Minor cases of reflux can be treated with simple home remedies, such as giving smaller, more frequent meals and keeping the body in an upright position during feeding. Mothers are also advised to thicken milk/formula with cereal and burp their babies more frequently. Children with upset tummies should avoid drinking cow's milk and consuming dairy products until they feel better, as well. More often than not, these simple changes will provide noticeable differences in relieving symptoms.
When to Go to a Doctor
Sometimes, however, a trip to the doctor may be necessary. When the GERD causes the baby or child distress and affects his/her weight gain, it's time to schedule an appointment, especially if these symptoms persist for an extended amount of time. Take note of and inform the doctor if the baby or child vomits forcefully (projectile vomiting) after eating, as this could be a sign of more serious problems. Pyloric stenosis, for example, is a condition that can lead to serious problems, such as severe dehydration and malnourishment.
We will be able to assess the severity of the GERD and provide options for how to treat it. Simple diet changes are the most common, but if that is ineffective, some tests may be required for further information. T
he results of these tests may indicate the necessity for prescription medications such as antacids or acid blockers. If the problems persist, surgery may be the answer.