Symptoms

You need to take your baby to a doctor for a proper diagnosis if you think they may have gastric reflux.


SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE:

  • Chronic COUGHING.

  • SORE EARS or ear infections (Most of these are viral, but in those children that have other symptoms of reflux and frequently require antibiotics for these infections, they might be due to reflux also.)

  • May be DISTRESSED during or after FEEDING. ARCH their BACK in an attempt to relieve their pain or REFUSE to FEED. Others may COMFORT FEED (gorge constantly) and be unhappy unless feeding, and therefore have HUGE WEIGHT GAINS. Most gain weight well, but a few will FAIL to THRIVE (have a slow weight gain.)

  • GAGGING.

  • CAN BE HAPPY when DISTRACTED (making the parent feel like a fraud when their constantly upset baby smiles and babbles throughout the consultation with the doctor!)

  • Frequent Hiccups.

  • IRRITABILITY – may include SCREAMING, WHINGING, CRYING, FUSSINESS and will be inconsolable at times due to PAIN. Irritability is more common during or after feeding, or when laid down. Crying may start quite suddenly especially after hiccups and burps, or may be constant/almost constant. Parents and Health Professionals may suspect colic but the irritability does not follow a regular pattern such as colic does. A baby with reflux may have colic also, which confuses matters. If you consider your baby’s crying to be excessive seek medical help.

  • OVER-SENSITIVITY to NOISE due to tiredness.

  • Restlessness.

  • Some may hold their head to one side in an unusual position to ease their discomfort – SANDIFER SYNDROME is the term used to describe this.

  • May SLEEP LITTLE and be disturbed easily when sleeping. May WAKE FREQUENTLY at night but it is not uncommon for babies with reflux to sleep through the night due to exhaustion.

  • SPILLING or VOMITING (may be projectile, and may vomit through their nose). These may lessen as they sit up and increase when they crawl. May occur at any time including right up until the next feed.

  • DIFFICULTY SWALLOWING

  • Frequent UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS (coughs or runny noses) and/or frequent SORE THROATS. (All children have their fair share of these and most are viral, but in those children that have other symptoms of reflux and frequently require antibiotics for these infections, they might be due to reflux also.)

  • CHANGE in VOICE.

  • Chronic WHEEZING.


MEDICAL ADVICE AND HELP – More serious symptoms

If your baby has any of the symptoms on the list above in bold type please seek medical advice. Urgent medical help should be sought if any of the following occur in relation to gastric reflux:

  • Has difficulty BREATHING, is breathing faster than normal, stops breathing (apnoea), is grey or blue tinged in colour, is making grunting sounds when breathing, has decreased muscle tone (floppy) or decreased responsiveness.

  • Refuses to DRINK or drinks less than half of their normal fluid intake over a 24 hour day, has less than four wet nappies in 24 hours, or goes six hours without a wet nappy.

  • Has a HIGH TEMPERATURE (above 38.3°c, or if baby is under three months of age).

  • VOMITING is frequent and the baby fails to have four wet nappies in 24 hours or goes six hours without a wet nappy, becomes lethargic, difficult to rouse from sleep or if skin is mottled in colour. Vomit contains blood or coffee ground like material).

Always seek medical help if you are concerned about your child or yourself.


OTHER CLUES THAT GASTRIC REFLUX DISEASE MIGHT BE THE PROBLEM:

  • Many babies, especially very sleepy ones DO NOT SHOW any pain/discomfort until UP TO THREE MONTHS of age.

  • Reflux may be HEREDITARY (mother, father or siblings may have had/do have reflux).

  • About one third of infants with reflux will also have a MILK ALLERGY/intolerance.

  • Reflux is more common in PREMATURE babies.

  • The SEVERITY of SYMPTOMS may vary at different ages.

  • Symptoms may appear to WORSEN when the baby has a cold, virus, teething, infection, or allergies.

  • PARENTS MAY HAVE A GUT FEELING THAT THEIR CHILD IS IN PAIN, SO IF YOU ARE CONCERNED SEEK MEDICAL HELP.


REFERENCES:
V.I.S.A’s “When to especially seek medical advice”.
Treasures® Baby Book
Well Child, Tamariki Ora, Health Book
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:
Rochelle Wilson (President of GRASP).

Written by Jennifer Howard (National Coordinator 2001 – 2013) and Roslyn Ballantyne (RN) (National Coordinator) for © Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust 2004.

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.

  • Hi, my 5 month old has started solids and we have been ok'd to feed these before milk as otherwise he spills most of it. He takes losec granules, which was have been giving with pear 30mins before a milk feed. Can we now just give these with his solids with milk following half an hour+ later? Or not due to the higher volume of food in his stomach so it wouldn't be digested by the time he has his milk. Thanks

  • Hi. We've used the karicare thickener in our boys bottles on top of losec and neocate to control his reflux. Now he's 4 months old I was looking at using watties rice cereal to thicken his bottles before moving to solids at 6 months. Looking to find anyone who thickens with rice cereal. Advice? Thank you

  • Argh! I don't know if I'm doing the right thing for my wee girl. We discovered her reflux early 8 days old and has been on goats milk formula for 3 months. Did it help? Hard to say but she was happy enough. We were reffered to the hosp dietician by our plunket nurse and on Thursday started neocate. Its made things worse and she seems in pain.. her poops are slimy green. We gave her a few gaviscon feeds with it to help her tum cos she seems to have a sore tummy a lot. So its Sunday, we've been on it three days but I am continually second guessing myself. Should we have seen a change in her by now. Is it normal to take a few days for the tummy to get used to it? I hate putting her through all this esp if it doesn't end up working... sometimes I just want to throw it in and put her back on goats milk... would love some advice from others on neocate or just any advice/encouragement please and thank you :)

  • Hi mums I have recently taken my daughter off losec on advise from a paed to see how she went. We didn't notice the symptoms coming back and also started solids around same time with it going great. She's had a cough and cold but is over it except this nagging cough which is day and night until she eventually throws up. My question is could the cough actually be the reflux and should I start losec again.

  • A Good News Story ... http://www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/his-gastric-reflux-stopped/

    Hi Roslyn, Thanks for the updates over the past several months. I am leaving the group as my little boy no longer suffers from gastric reflux and is also no longer dairy intolerant! FYI he was on Neocate from 3 months old and had a combination of formula and my milk until he was 7.5 months. ...

  • Hi. My boy is 6.5 wks. He started screaming at 3 wks. Became unsettled for periods of up to nearly 12hrs without sleep. He's been on formula as my milk never came in. He gets about 100-200 ml breastmilk /dy I pump. He started spilling/vomiting a lot at 4.5wks old.started losec 9 dys ago-frm GP. Saw paediatriciAn 4 dys ago and started amino acid formula to check for CMA. I feel things improved a bit about 4 dys after losec started. Also he seemed great once on th amino acid formula but thn yesterday was his old really bad self - fussed all day 10am-4pm thn really distressed n frantic 4-9pm. He's been ok today.i also started adding karicare thickener 2 dys ago. His first poo day after starting amino acid formula was soft n ok but I thnk he might b constipated with th thickener. He really had to push to get yesterday's out n was very sticky. Anyone else experience this? What do you do? I've heard lactulose and prune juice etc can make reflux/ wind worse. I thought about halving th amt thickener I'm using.also his vomiting better on th new formula I think but still occasional. He vomited Sunday night n mayb brought th losec up- could 1 missed dose like thts make him bad th next day like he was? Any opinions greatly appreciated

  • Please consider joining Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust for access to our Newsletters and Private Local and National Support Networks: http://www.reflux.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/grsnnz-membership-confidentiality-agreement-form/ Membership is free, and this gives you opportunities to discuss gastric reflux related issues with others in a safe and confidential setting. If you have completed a membership form previously, but never received anything further, please message me (Roslyn Ballantyne at https://www.facebook.com/roslyn.ballantyne.rn ) or comment below. The membership sign-up had been a double opt-in with a confirmation email, but as some people have had trouble with this, I've now changed it to a single opt-in. (I do still need to process applications and add you manually to your Local Support Networks though.)

    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 I'm a bit confused. I filled out th membership form on th cryingspiltmilk main page. Do I need to do anything else? I see there's a forum somewhere else - kiwi health or something? Or do I just post n use this Facebook page? I'm thnking you hav th older site but most people jst use this Facebook page now yeah? Ta :) I hav a 6 wks old beautiful boy who has been in so much pain been breaking my heart but I'm jst getting things in motion now to help I thnk. Saw paediatriciAn few dys ago n hav started losec gaviscon mylanta and amino acid formula with karicare thickener

  • Hiya, I'm starting to introduce solids to my almost 6 month old and just wondering if there are any foods that any of you have found to be better than others and which ones to avoid? TIA. :-)

  • Other information here: http://www.lalecheleague.org.nz/news-a-events/lllnz-conference-2014/312-lllnz-50th-anniversary-conference-2014