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 but, the majority will still need medications to control their gastric reflux. However, 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 alone.

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. Lactose Intolerance vs Milk Protein Allergy

For more information on infant feeding options: Infant Feeding and Food and Reflux

Solids should be introduced around six months of age.2 In addition to this we recommend that gluten not be introduced into the diet until around one year of age. See Gluten can cause gastro-oesophageal reflux disease! for more information on gluten. Good first foods that are less likely to cause a reaction include plain baby rice, 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 August 2013.

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.

  • http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476%2813%2901596-5/abstract?elsca1=etoc&elsca2=email&elsca3=0022-3476_201405_164_5&elsca4=pediatrics

    The Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 164, Issue 5, Pages 959-960, May 2014, Authors:William Tarnow-Mordi, BA, MBChB, DCH, FRCPCH; Roger F. Soll, MD

  • Hello - wondering if you can help, my now 5 year old had silent reflux, my 5 month old also has reflux, I saw a specialist in Auckland for my first child but cannot for the life of my remember his name - do you have a list of specialists in Auckland? Many thanks Misty

  • Hi :) just starting my five month old on solids , any foods worse or better for reflux sufferers ? She is quite constipated from losec and gaviscon so also foods that aren't constipating

  • We only have six members in our Hawkes Bay GRSNNZ Local Support Network on Facebook. If you are coping with reflux and living in this area, we would love you to join us. http://www.reflux.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/grsnnz-membership-confidentiality-agreement-form/

    Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants & Children Charitable Trust Membership & Confidentiality Agreement Form / Newsletter Admin PageFirst NameLast nameEmailStreet AddressCity/TownAreaPostcodeDo you live in NZ?Country and Area if not NZHome Phone (include area code)Partner's NameE...

  • A large randomized controlled trial has shown benefits of probiotic treatment in an unselected general population of neonates.

  • hi there, im desperate for help. my wee girl is 5 weeks old and has always been unsettled from birth. At first she was constipated and in pain so paed put her on pepti junior and after no improvement added lactulose syrup for bowels. She has a bowel motion now only every 5-6 days so not ideal. over the passed few days she has got alot worse, fussing at feeds, acidy smelling breath, after finishing bottles she squirms in pain, cramps up like a banana, screams/cries etc. she doesnt spill ever and winds pretty well. Clearly something is still not right but have seen 3 paeds and all havent considered silent reflux?? i feel silly going back again but i know they are missing something, could it be reflux?? thanks Nicole

  • I have been reading your website, thank you, it's helped me a lot. 5 weeks with a very unhappy baby is extremely difficult.

  • Do you live in Northland, New Zealand and have a child with gastric reflux? We would love you to become a member of the Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ and join our latest Private Facebook Group - for the Northland GRSNNZ Local Support Network. We currently have five families who would be grateful to have contact with others in the Northland area and share their experiences. We have Local Support Networks throughout NZ and set up Private Facebook Groups as requested. We already have Yahoo Mailing Lists for each region, but many prefer Facebook. To join complete a membership and confidentiality form: http://www.reflux.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/grsnnz.../ Membership is free, and this gives you opportunities to discuss gastric reflux related issues with others in a safe, private and confidential setting. You will also get access to our newsletters.

    Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants & Children Charitable Trust Membership & Confidentiality Agreement Form / Newsletter Admin PageFirst NameLast nameEmailStreet AddressCity/TownAreaPostcodeDo you live in NZ?Country and Area if not NZHome Phone (include area code)Partner's NameE...

  • Hi there, I was on your website reading that doctors should prescribe the Losec granules instead of the suspension. Does this apply for 2 month old babies as well?

  • I am hijacking this photo. #gastricreflux

  • Hi, I am interested in people's opinion on advice from a dietician re my 13 month son who has reflux and lower GI issues, both currently well managed. I have posted before: he's on a restricted diet - no dairy, soy, gluten as well as a random no tomato/potato (latter done by me without paed knowledge following nasty flare up). He is still bf and not a great solids eater - picky, limited finger foods only, no mush. He is small (prem, lbw) but not at all underweight for size. He is on iron supplement (formerly anaemic) and trying to wean off losec. Dietician wants us a) to go on to neocate advanced and b) to reintroduce gluten. Neither of these sit well with me. I ate non-GF oats and small amount non-GF pasta yesterday - now I have an unsettled boy stretching and groaning after a month of calm. Coincidence?? Re neocate - is it really necessary to give him this or can I find the iron and vitamin boost elsewhere? He hates the taste and doesn't eat porridge/mash/stewed fruit to mix it into. The dietician really p***ed me off for her manner and lack of knowledge of son's history (in spite of having met before) and I don't trust her judgment. Thoughts? Sorry long post. Thank you for reading.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTHhWf_hGJI

    Pyrosis RGO mécanisme