Use this pamphlet to provide straightforward answers to some of parents' most common reflux questions.
Download the Reflux Parent Educator here or ask your Mead Johnson sales representatve for copies.
Surely you want to enjoy feeding and nurturing your new baby. But when common feeding issues like frequent spit-up get in the way, it can be a source of frustration. And if your baby’s doctor identifies this as common reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GER), you might be wondering what to do next.
It can be comforting to know that about 2/3 of otherwise healthy babies may experience frequent spit-up during their first 3 months, with about 50% spitting up every day. Although it’s common, it can be uncomfortable, so it’s important to learn how you can help. While your baby’s doctor is the authority, refer to this Q&A to find some answers that can help turn feeding times into happier times.
Why does my baby spit up?
Spit-up is usually caused by immaturity of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that prevents backflow from the stomach to the esophagus. In young babies, this muscle is still developing so it sometimes doesn’t close all the way. This allows food from the stomach to travel back up the esophagus and into the baby’s mouth. As a baby gets older, the LES becomes more mature and better able to do what it should do — keep the food down.
Is frequent spit-up/GER a cause for concern?
Since about 2/3 of otherwise healthy babies may experience frequent spit-up, this issue is quite common. As long as your baby is growing and seems content, there’s no need to worry that spit-up is a serious medical issue. Yet, if she seems uncomfortable and irritable, it’s a good idea to consult your baby’s doctor and make some adjustments that can help your baby keep her food down — and feel more comfortable.
Is frequent spit-up the same as common reflux and GER?
Frequent spit-up, GER and common reflux are terms that are often used interchangeably.
I’ve also heard of GERD. How is that different from GER?
While GER is common, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a less common but more serious condition in which gastric acid flows back into the esophagus, which can cause complications that may require a doctor’s treatment. Babies with GERD display multiple complications such as refusing to eat, poor growth, colic, gagging and/or difficulty swallowing. If you notice these symptoms, see your doctor.
Does frequent spit-up/GER require reflux medication?
When managing GER, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends “lifestyle changes, which can include feeding and/or position changes as first-line management options.” Thickened formulas such as Enfamil A.R.™ are designed for babies with frequent spit-up.
Why isn’t reflux medication recommended as a first-line management option for babies with frequent spit-up/GER?
Because many of these medications are intended to reduce stomach acid, which plays important roles for your baby, they are explicitly recommended only for babies with GERD. Lifestyle changes are recommended as a first-line option for managing uncomplicated spit-up/GER. Reflux medicines should only be used under a doctor’s direction.
How can I reduce frequent spit-up/GER?
Since the AAP recommends a change in feeding and position, you can try more frequent burping, feeding smaller amounts or keeping your baby upright for 30 minutes after each feeding. In addition, if you are formula-feeding, incorporate a thickened formula designed to reduce frequent spit-up. Enfamil A.R. is clinically proven to reduce spit up by over 50%,† while still providing complete nutrition for your baby’s first year.
How does a thickened formula like Enfamil A.R.™ work?
While Enfamil A.R. may not seem thicker in the bottle, it is designed to thicken further inside the stomach where it matters. The thicker consistency helps reduce spit-up and helps babies keep their formula down.
Why is a thickened formula recommended over adding rice cereal to regular formula?
Here’s why a thickened formula like Enfamil A.R. is recommended:
Can I use a thickened formula if I’m supplementing?
Thickened formulas are suitable for babies who are exclusively formula fed or for those who are being supplemented with formula, even if it’s occasional.
If Enfamil A.R. helps my baby, should she stay on it?
When babies are more comfortable, life is so much more enjoyable. That’s why many moms who switch to Enfamil A.R. continue using it throughout the first year. It’s good to know that Enfamil A.R. has complete nutrition like a routine Enfamil® formula, as well as brain-nourishing DHA.
Will my baby outgrow frequent spit-up/GER?
This condition usually reaches its peak at around 3 months of age but can last until 12–14 months. By then, the muscle that connects the stomach and esophagus has grown stronger and is better able to do its job. Since it’s hard to know how long frequent spit-up/GER will last, try and find a way to help your baby feel more comfortable. That way, you can soon enjoy calmer, happier times together.
† Compared to the same infants at the beginning of the study.