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Gastroesophageal reflux in infants is a relatively common disorder, more often in formula-fed than breast-fed infants, as breast milk is more easily digested. Its origin, in addition to limited tolerance to milk, may be due to immaturity of the digestive tract or due to a physical problem, in which case it is advisable to consult a doctor.
As a general rule, babies under 3 months of age can spit up daily without reflux, so other symptoms should also be observed, such as post-feed discomfort, rejection of the breast or distracted and jerking feedings, and / or shortage of weight gain.
Sometimes, the baby does not have much problem vomiting milk, even if not small amounts, but gains weight normally and is satisfied and without discomfort, so even if there is reflux, it does not need treatment.
Normally, reflux disappears as the digestive system matures, around 7-8 months and almost completely before one year of age, but when breastfeeding, the mother can take certain dietary precautions to try to help the infant .
In the first place it is convenient to remember that, although in the case of babies fed with formula milk some of the advice may be valid, what should never be done is to alter the amounts of milk or water to make it thicker, since it is extremely dangerous for the health of the infant. What we must do is:
- Postural changes
Offer the baby the breast or the bottle in a position where he isslightly incorporated, and maintain that position after feeding and, as far as possible, while the baby sleeps, either by raising the crib or by carrying. It is also usually advisable to make sure that the baby empties the first breast well before offering more, since the milk at the beginning contains more lactose, which is more difficult to digest.
- Change in baby's diet
Gastroesophageal reflux in the baby can be a symptom of possible food intolerances, and cow's milk is in the lead. To see if the proteins in cow's milk are the cause of the intolerance, the mother must maintain an elimination diet for at least 2-3 weeks, subsequently introducing the dairy products to confirm.
- Change in the mother's diet
Citrus fruits, tomatoes, caffeinated beverages, alcoholic beverages, or chocolate can also aggravate reflux symptoms in an infant. Certain changes in the mother's diet to see if the breastfed infant's reflux improves. These changes are strict, totally eliminating potentially worsening foods for a minimum of two weeks and then reintroducing them every 4-5 days.
- Observe symptoms
It is very useful to keep a diary of what is ingested, since it can help to decipher the possible changes in the infant's symptoms, although, of course, this only helps if the reflux is caused by the mother's diet.
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