If your pediatrician is satisfied with your child's growth and weight gain, then all is probably well and your baby just has a bad case of reflux, which is very common in infants. Most of the time, reflux occurs when the muscle between the stomach and esophagus is too loose, which allows stomach acid and food to slosh back up into the esophagus. Although reflux can make your baby (and you) miserable, the good news is it's not serious and usually subsides by the time a baby is about 6 months old. At this point, the muscle begins to tighten up and your baby can sit up independently (which helps keep food down). Until then, use the following tips to make your baby more comfortable during feedings:
• Offer smaller, more frequent feedings so meals are easier to digest.
• Keep your baby upright for at least 20 minutes after each feeding -- this means no falling asleep on the breast or with a bottle. Burp frequently during the feedings.
• Once your baby is 3 months old, prop his head up with a wedge under the crib mattress, which help digestion when he sleeps.
• With your pediatrician's okay, thicken your baby's formula or breast milk with a teaspoon of rice cereal. Sometimes the thicker the food, the more likely it is to stay down.
• If the problem is very severe, your pediatrician may prescribe medication (like Zantac or Reglan, though there are questions as to how effective these interventions are) to minimize stomach acids and speed up digestion, or suggest you see a pediatric gastroenterologist.
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.