Infant GERD Treatment
In some cases, infant GERD treatment may not be necessary. Reflux often improves on its own after 1 to 2 years of age. In these cases, sleeping and feeding modifications (such as keeping the infant upright for 30 minutes after feeding) are sufficient. When these measures are not enough, the doctor may recommend infant GERD treatment such as medication or surgery.
For an infant with GERD, treatment will vary based on a number of factors, including the severity of symptoms and the age of the infant. In some cases, treatment may not be necessary because reflux will often improve on its own after the child is 1 to 2 years of age. In these cases, feeding and sleeping suggestions can help considerably.
In other cases, the healthcare provider may recommend medications. In rare cases, surgery may be recommended for infant GERD treatment.
Infant GERD treatment usually begins with making feeding and sleeping modifications. Some examples include:
- Giving the infant smaller quantities with more frequent feedings. This can help decrease the chances of regurgitating. Talk to your child's doctor or nurse about the amounts of formula or breast milk that your baby is taking.
- If your baby is bottle-fed, adding up to one tablespoon of rice cereal to 2 ounces of infant milk (including expressed breast milk). If the mixture is too thick for your infant to take easily, you can change the nipple size or cross-cut the nipple.
- Burping your baby after 1 or 2 ounces of formula are taken. For breastfed infants, burp after feeding on each side.
- Burping the infant several times during feeding.
- If possible, keeping the infant in an upright position for 30 minutes after feeding.
- Having the baby sleep on his or her back. Infants with GERD should usually sleep on their backs, as is suggested for all infants. Rarely, a physician may suggest other sleeping positions.
- If a food allergy is suspected, changing the baby's formula (or modifying your diet if you are breastfeeding) for 1 to 2 weeks.
- If a child is not growing well, feedings with higher calorie content or tube feeding may be recommended.