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Gastrointestinal Reflux

This occurs in every baby that spits up. That is most babies. The valve at the top of the stomach does not work well in babies and lets the milk reflux up the esophagus and they spit up. Some more than others. If they spit up a lot and the parent or doctor gets concerned, then it is defined as a problem and called reflux. But this occurs in most babies. If the baby refluxes so much that they do not gain weight, then we treat it with medications and rarely surgery. I have one patient per year need medication and two children in 24 years need surgery. But many infants reflux milk up. My daughter did it till 8 months old. If they are gaining weight and otherwise OK , then it is more of a messy problem than a health problem. We just watch the weight and see how they grow. Some babies are fussy and need an antacid like Tagamet or Zantac. These are safe and OK to give the baby for months. The other way to decrease the spitting up is to thicken the formula. We add Rice or Oatmeal cereal to the formula bottle and cut a larger hole in the nipple. The thicker solution stays in their stomach better and sitting them in a seat upright after the meal helps. Play with the hole size to allow the "heavy slush" to come out of the nipple at the right speed.

Almost every baby "grows" out of this and patients is the main treatment.

Dr. Knapp