Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)
GORD is common in babies. It occurs because the muscle (sphincter) at the bottom of your throat that leads into your stomach (oesophagus) is quite lax in babies, resulting in milk going back up their throat. As they get bigger, the muscle gets stronger and the symptoms (generally) get less. Also, as they move from an entirely liquid diet to a more solid one, food is more likely to stay in their stomachs.
Symptoms of reflux
The main symptom of GORD is posseting or vomiting (sometimes the entire feed). However, sometimes the reflux may be more occult, only going a little way up the oesophagus so that it doesn’t produce a full vomit. This can result in discomfort so your baby may be irritable or arch their back after feeds.
Treatment of reflux
If your baby is putting on weight and isn’t distressed by the reflux, no treatment is necessary. Milk thickeners such as gaviscon and carobel are available. They thicken the feed in the hope that it stays in the baby’s stomach. They are easy to take if your baby is bottle fed, but quite difficult if breastfed. (My 2nd son had reflux and just vomited thickened milk if I gave him gaviscon.)
If your baby suffers from discomfort caused by GORD, they can be prescribed ranitidine which decreases the amount of acid in the stomach hence reducing discomfort (but not vomiting).