Facts About Infant Spit Ups, Regurgitation and Reflux

Facts About Infant Spit Ups, Regurgitation and Reflux
by Ma. Theresa Hilario-Jirnenez, MD, FPPS

  • Infant reflux is defined as passage of stomach contents to the esophagus with or without reaching the mouth.
  • Regurgitation or lunged in Tagalog, is when the milk already reaches the mouth. To some it becomes more worrisome when it comes out of the nose.
  • Infant reflux is common with infants having one episode a day1
  • More infants experience regurgitation at 4 months of age where almost half of the babies regurgitate during most feedings and 2/3 at least once a day. This gradually declines up to 12 months of age but may persists up to 2 years of age.1
  • Infant reflux is normal but if the following troublesome symptoms2 appear, then it becomes a disease:
    • When the mother or caretaker cannot stop the baby from crying (irritability)
    • Incessant crying, or continuous crying
    • Frequent regurgitation
    • Back arching
  • Infant reflux is caused by the underdeveloped or immature muscle that prevents the stomach contents from going back to the esophagus.
  • Other reasons why infants have reflux include:1,3,4,5
    • Liquid diet of the baby (milk)
    • Always lying down
    • Short esophagus
  • Reflux in babies causes pain to the babies
  • Symptoms of reflux in babies affect the babies' quality of life6,7
  • Symptoms of reflux in babies also affect the mother& and care takers' quality of life
  • Symptoms of reflux in babies can affect the mothers' health and social life7
  • Some parents feel rejected by their babies and this will lead to feelings of failure7 as a parent because of their inability to comfort their babies
  • There is now an anti-reflux medicine for babies that is safe, effective to help babies suffering from infant reflux
  • This is anti-reflux medicine for infants can be given to breastfed or bottle-fed babies without the need to change your preferred way of feeding.8
  • For symptoms of infant reflux and how to manage them appropriately, please consult your pediatrician.

References:
1. Baird DC, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux in infants and children. Am Fam Physician. 2015;92(8):705-714.
2. Kim J, et al. Simultaneous development of the Pediatric GERD Caregiver Impact Questionnaire (PGCIQ) in American English and American Spanish. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2005;14:35.
3. Oman TI, et al. Mechanisms of gastro-oesophageal reflux in preterm and term infants with reflux disease. Gut. 200451:475-479.
4. Newell SJ, et al. Maturation of the lower oesophageal sphincter in the wets= baby. Gut. 1988;29:167-172.
5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Colc - infantile. Clinical Knowledge Summary, June 2017. Available at.httoviteks nice orn ukfrntir-i0fantae
6. Czinn SJ, Blanchard S. Gastroesophageal reflux disease in neonates and infants when and how to treat. Pediatr Drugs. 2013;1539-27.
7. Kim J, et al. Simultaneous development of the Pediatric GERD Caregiver Impact Questionnaire (PGCIQ) in American English and American Spanish. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2005;14:35.
8. Gaviscon Infant SPC.