GER or GERD? This Baby
Symptoms Guide helps you find out if your baby has infant
acid reflux, and which type it is. It's important to react timely to
and to know when to seek medical advice.
What is acid reflux in babies?
All babies spit up regularly. That's absolutely normal because their
digestive system needs time to develop. There is a muscle at the top of the stomach which can take 6 to 12 months to tighten; once it does, milk stays in the stomach.
Food that has reached the stomach, may go backward, and reach the
esophagus and mouth again. That's when we see the
typical spitting up a bit of her milk after a feed, or she
might truly vomit. Or, she may just be uncomfortable for a while after
This totally harmless form of baby acid reflux is called GER (Gastro
Esophageal Reflux). It usually occurs in the first months and most
babies outgrow it by 6 to 12 months old.
But some babies spit and vomit more than others. And it is accompanied
by severe tummy aches, poor weight gain, very difficult feeding, ...
something more serious going on: GERD
Esophageal Reflux Disorder).
is a medical condition that definitely needs medical help. Let's have a
look at the symptoms to help you decide what your baby has.
Does my baby have reflux - GER or GERD?
The harmless infant
reflux type GER
Esophageal Reflux) is very very common. Your baby simply spits a bit
after a feeding. She
may be uncomfortable for a little while after feeding. She may also
vomit a little from time to time.
Normally though, your baby
would not be truly disturbed by this - other than a few moments of
distress. If your baby is otherwise well and developing normally, there
is nothing to worry about.
Symptoms of the more
serious GERD (Gastro
Esophageal Reflux Disorder) type infant acid reflux
Spitting and vomiting very often (regularly more than 5
times a day). See your doctor immediately if this happens
Uncomfortable and/or screaming when lying flat on the back (supine position). In contrast, more comfortable and calm when held in an upright position
Uncomfortable during feeding - often even crying and
Interrupted feeding: i.e. your baby stops several times during a feed to swallow the refluxed milk back down
Coughing often after feeding (the returned food and acids
reach the throat and stay there for a while)
Not gaining weight as should
Tummy aches: screaming often, back arching, etc.
Sleeping poorly, waking up screaming
Always contact your doctor to discuss any of these symptoms if you notice them.
If your baby is projectile vomiting, take him or her to the doctor immediately. This is a symptom that is sometimes confused as a symptom of GERD, but is a classic sign of pyloric stenosis, which requires urgent medical attention. So if you do notice projectile vomiting, don't delay and see your doctor ASAP.