HOW TO SPOT...
Baby illnesses are part of growing up, but with a little knowledge, you’ll learn to recognise the symptoms and make it better
Reflux is when the contents of a baby’s stomach travel back into his oesophagus or mouth. Paediatrician and M&B expert Dr Scott Dunlop says many babies regurgitate milk. “However, if it becomes regular vomiting or is accompanied by acid pain, we usually diagnose reflux,” he says. Reflux usually occurs at between two and four months of age.
What are the symptoms?
Babies with reflux vomit and hiccup a lot. Sometimes they swallow their vomit, which is called silent reflux. If your baby swallows a lot when he’s not feeding, this is a sign. And you’ll know when he has oesophageal pain because he’ll look miserable or worried, and will cry or scream in pain whenever you lie him down on his back.
What causes it?
What is it?
Food should travel in one direction: down the oesophagus, into the stomach and through the bowels. In babies with reflux, there’s a weakness in the band of muscles in the lower oesophagus, which act as a valve to the stomach. If this valve doesn’t close properly, milk can travel back up the oesophagus, resulting in vomiting. “It’s normal for the lower oesophageal sphincter to be loose in babies,” says Scott. “In most cases, the muscle tightens by six months of age. This, combined with being in a more regular upright posture at that age and starting on solids, usually leads to an improvement of symptoms,” he adds.
What can you do?
Keep bub as upright as possible when feeding him, and for at least 30 minutes afterwards. Carry him around in a sling so he spends more time upright in general, or place him in a rocker so his body is angled upwards slightly.
See your GP if...
Your baby starts projectile vomiting, his chronic reflux is combined with refusing food or he’s not putting on weight. Your GP will assess him, provide a proper diagnosis and recommend strategies to help you manage the symptoms. Johnson’s Baby Lotion 200ml, $5.49