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When is infant reflux normal and when can it indicate a problem

It is normal for the baby to spit up (regurgitate) until around 7 months of age, as the baby's stomach becomes easily filled, which causes a small vomit, also known as reflux. This is something that happens more easily in newborns or small babies, because they present a smaller stomach, which is becomes easily full.

The reflux happens when the baby's stomach gets very full, which causes the valve that closes the passageway to the stomach to open easily, which causes the baby to regurgitate the milk. In addition, spitting up can also happen due to excess air in the baby's stomach, which happens when they swallow a lot of air during the feeding process. In this case, the air will occupy a large area in the stomach, eventually pushing the milk up, causing a small vomit.

When is infant reflux normal and when can it indicate a problem

How to avoid reflux

To prevent a baby from having reflux, it is important to keep your baby from swallowing too much air during feeding or drinking large amounts of milk so their stomach does not get too full.

In addition, other precautions to avoid reflux include putting the baby to burp after eating and ensuring that they don't go to bed straight after feeding, and it is also not recommended to perform sudden movements after the feed.

When can reflux be a more serious problem

For it to be normal, what the baby spits up should have a whitish coloration, and there may be traces of blood, which indicate that the mother's nipples may be cracked, for example.

However, in certain situations the baby's reflux may not be normal, and it is recommended to see their pediatrician when they:

  • Have difficulty gaining weight or is losing weight;
  • Do not want to eat;
  • Are constantly irritated or show intense crying, especially after spitting up;
  • Have excessive hiccups or excessive production of saliva;
  • Have difficulty breathing after spitting up;
  • Have a reflux that has a greenish coloration;
  • Becomes uncomfortable or restless while eating.

When the reflux has some of these characteristics, this may indicate that the baby has problems with reflux or with bowel obstruction, for example, and in these situations it is important to see the pediatrician or go to the hospital as soon as possible, so that the cause of the problem can be identified and treated appropriately. One of the problems with regurgitation is that it increases the risk of respiratory arrest or pneumonia, as the passage from the stomach contents to the baby's lung may occur.

Between 8 months and 1 year of age, frequent reflux in the baby is no longer normal, as the baby is able to adopt an upright posture and the food he or she eats is either solid or pasty, being more difficult to regurgitate because they are thicker.

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