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 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.)

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    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

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  • Anyone want to help? I know you all have plenty to say. ;-)

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    And just in case you missed the post and the opportunity to help others through.........In five words, no more no less, share some inspirational advice to parents that are struggling with a newborn suffering from colic, reflux and inconsolable crying. If there are enough submissions I will post these on my website and perhaps in my book - Prevent and Remedy Colic, Reflux, Lactose and Dairy Overload Naturally - which is off to the proof readers this week!! http://www.naturalwinding.com/book/

  • A new story: http://www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/ryans-story-of-reflux-and-christinas-story-of-pnd/ Thank you, Christina.

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    I don’t really know where to begin with my story of Ryan and his reflux, and me with Post Natal Depression. I used to feel very sad thinking of all the precious time that was robbed from us. I loved Ryan from the moment I saw him, and he was a dream baby up until two weeks of age. ...

  • Hi my 7 week old, breastfed baby started showing signs of reflux recently so I went to the GP and was prescribed Gaviscon sachets. I'm having trouble giving it to her, but it seems to be working. She usually goes poos after every feed but since starting the Gaviscon (monday) she has only been once. She strains and cries. Not sure what i safe to give her to help as she is so young? Thanks

  • Hi there My 8 week old boy is formula fed and is now trialing gaviscon for his silent reflux, already I feel like it is making a difference but I am worried about the possible constipation the gaviscon may cause...how do you parents relieve constipation in young babies? I know about the cooled boiled water but are there any other remedies that are worth knowing about? Or tricks that can maybe help avoid constipation?

  • Hi, would you say it's a reflux symptom to bring up small vomits between feeds? Like an hour or so after eating? I keep being told that's normal, but it doesn't feel normal? My baby is only 4 weeks old though, so it's hard to me to tell what's normal and what isn't.

  • Hi, my 10 week old is trialling gaviscon to see if it helps with her (potential) reflux. She isnt a miserable baby, but she does scream if I put her down in the daytime, she has a persistent cough, a husky voice (this developed over the last week), and she spills even hours after a feed. Does this sound like reflux? If so, how do I get her to keep the gaviscon down? It says to give it to her after a feed, but she vomits straight after a feed...also is it worth going dairy free to see if this helps? Finding the spilling and coughing and husky voice quite upsetting, it must be horrible for her :(

  • Here is an amazing article about using probiotics and digestive enzymes to help with reflux. I only found this after I had my second reflux baby and he was 4 months old. Our first son had an endoscopy when he was 12months, which revealed extremely low digestive enzymes in his stomach. So when losec and ranitidine didn't provide much relief for our new baby, we presumed he was the same. We put him onto probiotics and enzymes and have had great results. Worth a read if you are interested. Feel free to message me for any more info (iv been researching it ever since!)

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    What I found to help! I am not claiming to cure or diagnose anything!

  • Good on you team for creating an awareness week and getting all of the publicity. So proud of those who have shared their stories. They have all had me in tears, partly because it triggers memories and partly because reading about those who have been without medical support just makes me so sad. Plunket nurses should be required to read about the symptoms of reflux and some real life stories as part of training. So should midwives actually.