Diet, Allergy & Reflux

Please note this page needs updating for current guidelines around preventing food allergy and introducing potential allergenic foods.  See this excerpt in the meantime.

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: https://www.healthed.govt.nz/resource/starting-solids.   Accessed: 10/09/2016

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.

  • Has anyones bub had a fundoplication surgery? My almost 9 month old is having one as is failing to thrive and no meds or anything helping. Also what are the best solids for her with her oesaphagitis? Thanks

  • hi i have a little girl that will be 4 weeks old on thursday. we have been having abit of trouble with her spilling/bringing up with some of her feeds this can be between 10ml and what seems like a whole feed i am breastfeeding but due to not producing enough i need to top her up with either EBM/doner milk or formula i am currently using nurture gold 1 in her bottles. when bottle feeding i have her more upright almost in a sitting position then let her chill to let milk settle before burping but yet the milk still tends to come up normally she will gag before hand. is there any type of formula that could help or just thinkening agents to put in the formula or would anything like gripewater or inficol to help bring the wind to the top on her tummy to keep the milk down? any advice would be great. thanks in advance.

  • hi my little girl is going to be 4 week old on thursday and we are having trouble with her spilling/bringing up at possibly half of her feed times this can be between 10ml to what seems like a full feed. i am breast feeding but due to not producing enough i am topping her up with either EBM/doner milk or formula i am currently using nurture gold 1 (since thats all my local dairy had at the time. during bottle feeds i have her almost sitting right up then let her chill in that same position for at least a minute then burp for maybe good 5 minutes but still she tends to bring it up normally she will gag then up comes the milk. she is not really bothered by it at all. is there any cant of thicker formula that i can swtich to or are the thickeners thatyou put in the only option? would something like gripewater or inficol work to help get the wind threw the milk so the milk stays down? any advise would be great. thanks in advance. 🙂

  • What you speak often becomes the truth for those who hear, including your self-talk. Be kind to yourself too. Big hugs to everyone out there who are coping with infant and child Gastric Reflux and associated conditions. You are loving caring parents to your wonderful strong children.

  • Thinking of everyone affected by the recent earthquakes. It certainly gave us a good shake here, but we have no damage. Here is a good article published by Treasures.

  • Had peadetrician appt this morning. End result being a formal diagnosis of severe reflux and an another appointment in a week or so with ENT specialist to check his nasal passage and osephagus. Need to use both gavisone and losec. Bad sleep during day is probably due to reflux. But he is also flat lining in his weight gain, so need weekly weigh ins and have a minimum amount to try and get into him, but he's starting to refuse feeds so its getting more difficult. At the end of the appointment she said we're doing all we can and that she wishes there was something she could do to make it better but it's not likely to get better anytime soon. I burst into tears at that

  • Hi just wanting more info!!my daughter is 3 months old and only 4 weeks ago had a virus, which seem to being on reflux. The pediatrician then after going back twice decide that she has slient reflux, they were not helpful just told me to give her gavison, but that made her very constipated . So went back to gp and got losec, which I am very unsure about giving it to her. She seems to have a few good days then bad , tensing up so bad and not sleeping, is that normal?? Also can losec upset her tummy more , can i give it to her with pear at her age?? Im just giving to her by puting them in her mouth in the afternoon. Need help one unsettled baby girl 😫

  • BreastFedNZ App - Short App Survey - Sent by GRSNNZ

  • Does anyone have experience with apnoeas and a baby who has outgrown these? Can you share your experience with someone who has posted? Please see posts to the page.

  • Just a question to those mums and dads with infants who suffer with Apnea. When did your little one grow out of apnea episodes? My little one is 6 months and had one on Friday. It's really scaring me and the paediatrician at the hospital said he would grow out of them but Ive got no idea when this is meant to happen. I know every child is different Im just finding it really hard to cope with the anxiety of when it could happen next. Thanks in advance.

  • Sara wants to get in touch with others that have a child who has had to have a gastrostomy due to reflux. See posts to page if you can help.

  • Has anyone had their babies needing a gastrostomy/peg/mikey button purely for reflux? Would love to get in touch with anyone who has! Thankyou!

  • https://m.facebook.com/starshipfoundation/photos/a.404110593784.167013.124721253784/10154021067883785/?type=3&fs=1

  • Another good article. It talks about tantrums as well and says this: "Young children are still learning how to communicate, and their language abilities aren’t very sophisticated yet." That makes sense as to why our toddlers with ongoing pain from reflux can have tantrums in response to pain. They either don't have the ability to communicate what they are feeling or maybe are so overwhelmed that they can't communicate it. Does anyone else relate to this? PS: I love this picture I found. http://childmind.org/article/how-discipline-toddlers/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=childmind&utm_content=4+-+How+to+Discipline+Toddlers&utm_campaign=Weekly+092716&source=Weekly+092716

  • Emma has asked a question about whether others have a child who's Gastric Reflux has returned. Please see the visitor's posts to page.

  • Has anyone's baby had infant reflux that resolved itself over time, but has then returned months later?

  • I like the message from Emily at the end to other mothers "Dear mother, You are brave. You are strong. It is a sign of your love for your children and your partner that you’re getting help so that you can be the best mother you can be. It will be OK."

  • Please see the visitor posts to the page, and share your experiences with first solids.

  • Hey all. My son has GERD and we have just started introducing solids. I was wondering what solids you introduced that had either had an effect or no effect on your little ones reflux?

  • Have you had luck removing stains? Can you share these with Michaela? See posts to the page and reply there please.

  • Hoping I have a straight forward question, how do you get stains out of your (and your baby's) clothes. I find I can get milk stains out but when my DD spits up pure stomach acid I'm finding I can't get the smell or stains out. Does anyone have any good tips?

  • https://m.facebook.com/purpleclvr/photos/a.375609882543951.1073741828.369508529820753/1557557571015837/?type=3&fs=1

  • This chat with Plunket might be of use to some of you.