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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is infant reflux?

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  • Joy Anderson

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Joy is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has a special interest in … View Profile

    Infant reflux is generally considered to be a weakness and immaturity of the gastro-oesophageal sphincter at the top of the stomach, which is supposed to keep the stomach contents from rising back up the oesophagus (food pipe). Acidic stomach contents can rise back up and burn the oesophagus ('silent reflux') or come out of the mouth as vomit.

    However, the acid in an infant's stomach is not as strong as that in an adult and following a meal of milk, it is essentially neutral (not acidic), so it is not that clear what causes the pain and crying in a baby diagnosed with reflux. However, reflux drugs that stop the stomach making acid seem to work in many cases.

    Reflux can often be a symptom of something else, like food allergy or food-chemical intolerance (not lactose intolerance).

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Infant reflux (sometimes called infant acid reflux) is the condition where the contents of the stomach are spit out, usually shortly after feeding. Spitting up (infant reflux) becomes less common as a baby gets older, and it's unusual if it's still occurring after 18 months of age.
    In a small number of cases, reflux can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), an allergy or a blockage.

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