Diet, Allergy & Reflux

On this page I’m going to attempt to pull together all of the information we have on diet, allergy, intolerances and gastric reflux disease. Some infants presenting with signs of gastric reflux may have their symptoms relieved entirely by changing their diet.  It is my experience that if there is a food allergy present, it is impossible to gain good control of gastric reflux disease with medication.

If there is a history of any allergy (including hay fever) in either parent there is an increased risk that their children will have allergies and if both parents have allergies this is further increased to 50-60%. Even in a non-allergic family there is a 5-15% risk of allergies.

Studies have shown that about one third of infants with gastric reflux disease will have a cow’s milk protein allergy or intolerance.1 Skin prick or blood RAST testing will often not pick up this “gastrointestinal” food allergy as it may be a delayed reaction, and is best diagnosed by an elimination diet and challenge. This involves removing dairy from the mother’s diet if breastfed or a trial of a non-cow’s milk based formula. A trial of a dairy free diet is in fact the first recommendation on our treatment guidelines: GORD and Managing Uncomplicated Reflux. Some parents have found that unproven forms of testing such as Kinesiology have helped them to remove offending foods. GRSNNZ doesn’t endorse these and would recommend that limited diets also be supervised by a dietician, that a medically qualified health professional (paediatrician, allergist, immunologist etc) be involved and if appropriate the foods be challenged after a suitable time lapse.

Cow’s milk protein allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance. Breast milk always contains lactose even if the mother is on a strict dairy free, lactose free diet so a baby who responds to a change in their mother’s diet, does not have a lactose intolerance. Please contact us if you would like an article on Lactose Intolerance vs. Milk Protein Allergy.

For more information please see: Food and Reflux

Solids should be introduced around six months of age.2 In addition to this, it is our experience that a number of infants with GOR do not cope well with the introduction of gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oat products) and may develop an intolerance to this. Good first foods that are less likely to cause a reaction include plain baby rice (please check the ingredients as some brands of baby cereal contain milk products), kumara and pumpkin. Taking the introduction of solids slowly should allow you to work out which foods cause problems.

If you have further questions try our site search or contact us.

Bibliography:
Allergy Today Spring 2006 ( page 48 )
Crying Over Spilt Milk Survey December 2006
http://www.allergyclinic.co.nz/
Allergy Today Summer 2006/07 ( page 8 )
References:
1 Gastroesophageal reflux and cow’s milk allergy in infants: A prospective study. URL:http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=3022081. Accessed: 2010-08-21. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5sA3Q7aKH )
2 Ministry of Health. Starting Solids. URL: http://www.healthed.govt.nz/uploads/docs/HE6014.pdf Accessed:21/08/2010

Written by Roslyn Ballantyne (RN), National Coordinator for © Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust December 2006. Last updated February 2015.

Page may be printed or reproduced for personal use of families, as long as copyright and Crying Over Spilt Milk‘s URL are included. It may not be copied to other websites or publications without permission and acknowledgement.

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ added a new photo.

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  • After advice/recommendations about private paediatricians. We are in the Waikato and are desperate to see someone privately about our four month old who suffers terribly with reflux. Happy to travel (I.e. To Auckland) and don't care what it costs. We really just need to get him proper help. I can't stand to see him in such excruciating pain every feed (and most of the time in between feeds!)

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ added a new photo.

  • My 3.5 yr old daughter has terrible reflux blisters in her throat and at 8 months old had a fundoplication which resulted in a pitched nerve now her reflux is back don't know what to do

  • It's Oral Health Month and Plunket shared this article in their recent newsletter: http://www.plunket.org.nz/your-child/1-2-years/health-and-daily-care/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-children-s-teeth/ To add to this, did you know that some children's toothpastes do not have the recommended amount of fluoride in them?

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  • Isn't this the cutest baby ever? One of our Trustees has been amazing with sharing her photos.

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  • First in a series from our recent slideshow. :-)

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  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ shared Inspiring and Positive Quotes's photo.

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  • For Canterbury families:

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  • Hi I was just wondering if there is a support group or page on Facebook to chat with other people? Thanks in advance.

  • #canvacup #gastricreflux #gor #gord #infant #baby #gastricrefluxsupportnetworknz #cryingoverspiltmilk #child #family #reflux #tautoko #tamariki #whanau

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ shared David Wolfe's video.

  • Do you use screens for distraction and have sleep issues with your child? It might be a good idea to not use them for an hour before bed time at night. It could also pay to explore lighting in the room for an hour before bed, and in the bed room during the night and for any night time wakings. Even digital clocks and nightlights are too bright for some.

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ shared Purple Clover's photo.

    ... However, it is essential to have some "you" time. Even just 5 minutes for half a cup of tea. ;-)

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ shared Brainwave Trust Aotearoa's photo.

  • Sorry to anyone who has tried to join using the Join GRSNNZ tab on Facebook. I just realised it wasn't connected to MailChimp. All sorted now. The alternative and probably better way of joining though is to go to: http://www.reflux.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/grsnnz-membership-confidentiality-agreement-form/

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ updated their cover photo.