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 (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 August 2014.

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.

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    For infant and child gastric reflux support in New Zealand: Phone/Text 022 585 5935 Phone 0800 380 517 Contact GRSNNZ via email form GRSNNZ has brochures available which explain what Gastric Reflux is, a few simple tricks, the support GRSNNZ offers and our contact details. If you are Health...

  • A question please -my daughter has twin girls aged 3 weeks.They were premature born at 35 weeks 3 days.One of them is fine breastfed and sleep.However the other one grunts and groans,pulls her legs up and sometimes cries after each feed.She does not settle well at all.Could this be reflux or what.I know it's early days but my daughter is exhausted!!Any suggestions would be great.Thanks

  • I have a question for mothers who have tried feed thickner. Can constipation occur when using this? I have checked the karicare website but does not state any side effects.

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  • My 10 week old son is in starship due to heart condition. His omeprizol has just been doubled to try and ease his discomfort with reflux. He is now on twice daily but a nurse said she had heard it was more effective given as a single dose? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a single dose? Sometimes the doctors listen to me and sometimes they dont so id need to have my facts straight if wanting them to change it. He has his omeproxol via ng and gaviscon mixed with pepti junior

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  • My baby is 10weeks (5weeks corrected) and can not sleep on her back at all since this has her coughing and spluttering when not just straight up projectile vomiting. It seems to be worse now she is on thickened formula (alongside omaprozole) esp at night it's like she can't actually spit up the feed anymore (or multiple hours later) as its thicker and therefore she stays choking on it. Does anyone have any nighttime tips it scares me

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  • Hi everyone. I have my second reflux baby (lucky me). She's nine weeks old, spills at least four times per feed, enough to warrant a full change of clothes! She's been on omeprazole (cot also raised) since 5 weeks of age and she's a lovely settled baby now. But, my question for you other parents is how do you handle night feeds? Keely will be lovely relaxed and settled, even asleep and then the spilling starts when she's back in bed. This keeps us up for an hour post feed including changing clothes, cloths under her head etc and of course re settling an over tired baby. I'm a bit rusty. What sort of night feed routine do you follow?

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  • Hi all! I surely hope that some one can help me... My firstborn had Reflux, but mildly, he grew up with Lactogen. He's 6 now and very healthly... My second child is now 14weeks, i started him with lactogen, but he vomits ALOT! Went for tests confirming he has severe acid reflux, doc put him on Novalac AR with Iberogast drops. It went ok, he gained weight..but stil vomits alot, and i've noticed that the milk he vomits, is not thickening.. At 10w injections he was 4.8kg.. Now at 14w he is 4.7kg... The sister sugested giving Infacare AR... Thus far he had 2 bottles, little milk coming up, but lots of acid... Anyone have any insight??