Infant reflux usually clears up by itself. In the meantime, your doctor might recommend:
- Giving your baby smaller, more-frequent feedings.
- Interrupting feedings to burp your baby.
- Holding your baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after feedings.
- Eliminating dairy products, beef or eggs from your diet if you're breast-feeding, to test if your baby has an allergy.
- Switching the type of formula you feed your baby.
- Using a different size of nipple on baby bottles. A nipple that is too large or too small can cause your baby to swallow air.
- Thickening formula or expressed breast milk slightly and in gradual increments with rice cereal. Although recognized as a reasonable strategy, thickening adds potentially unnecessary calories to your baby's diet.
Reflux medications aren't recommended for children with uncomplicated reflux. These medications can prevent absorption of calcium and iron, and increase the risk of certain intestinal and respiratory infections.
However, a short-term trial of an acid-blocking medication — such as ranitidine for infants age 1 month to 1 year or omeprazole (Prilosec) for children age 1 year or older — might be recommended if your baby:
- Has poor weight gain and more-conservative treatments haven't worked
- Refuses to feed
- Has evidence of an inflamed esophagus
- Has chronic asthma and reflux
Rarely, the lower esophageal sphincter is surgically tightened to prevent acid from flowing back into the esophagus. This procedure (fundoplication) is usually done only when reflux is severe enough to prevent growth or to interfere with your baby's breathing.