Gastroesophageal reflux (GOR), also known as regurgitation or posseting, is the passage of gastric contents into the oesophagus. It occurs widely in healthy infants and is considered normal.1
As long as there are no other symptoms and baby is growing well and seems happy, parents should be reassured that newborn reflux isn’t a major concern. This article can help you spot the signs of reflux in babies and advise parents on managing GOR.
When could newborn reflux be a sign of something more serious?
Babies with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) experience more troublesome, severe, or long lasting symptoms in addition to reflux, such as poor weight gain and distressed behaviour.2
Advice for parents for managing reflux in babies 3
- Hold the baby upright for 20–30 minutes after a feed. If bottle-feeding, feed in an upright position
- Give smaller, more frequent feeds (while maintaining total daily volume of feeds)
- Offer a 1–2 week trial of anti-reflux formula
- If the 1-2 week trial of anti-reflux formula does not work, consider stopping the thickened formula, and offering a 1–2 week trial of alginate therapy added to standard formula (it is not recommended to add Gaviscon to a thickened formula)
Reassure parents that it is common for babies to bring up milk. However, certain red flag symptoms (such as refusing feeds, coughing/gagging during feeding, projectile vomiting) may indicate a need for further medical assessment and parents should be encouraged to see their GP or Health Visitor (Public Health Nurse in Ireland)3
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Clinical Knowledge Summary (CKS). GORD in children. 2009
Hyman PE et al. Gastroenterology 2006; 130: 1519–1526.
Vandenplas Y et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2009; 49: 498–547.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Clinical Knowledge Summary: GORD in children. March 2015. Available here.