What Causes Reflux In Babies That Are Breastfed? Best Explained

New mothers don’t realize that why their baby is crying all the time. I have visited one of my friends, and she said that my baby always looks cranky and don’t know how to handle his fussy crying behavior. Being a mother, I know these are all signs of reflux in babies. I remember my friend asked what is reflux in babies?

Symptoms of newborn reflux is quite disturbing, as we cannot easily understand the real problem behind their continuous crying. It is good to consult with your doctors first to know about the real cause behind your fusspot and how to cure GERD in infants permanently?

Most babies have a problem spitting up while burping, but it doesn’t mean that your child needs treatment. You can learn how to treat GERD at home. A little care and home remedies can overcome the symptoms of newborn reflux. 

But do you have any idea of the common signs of reflux in babies? Dont worry; this article with a detailed guide will help you know what causes reflux in babies? And how to help a baby with reflux?

Here I have gathered all the necessary information about acid reflux in babies and when does reflux peak in babies. Let’s dig into it for a detailed overview.

What is reflux in babies?

Some studies show that almost 40 to 70 per cent of babies spit out daily without any symptoms of newborn reflux. However, it is normal for a baby, yet it’s troubling for mothers, especially when the baby cries all the time. 

Did you overfill your baby? Is there any stomach ache due to GERD in infants? Did you eat something that doesn’t accept your baby’s tummy? if Yes, then you must aware of the food that cause acid reflux in babies. 

A baby spits out all the food he intakes just because the stomach does not accept it due to immature esophagus. When your cranky baby over drinks milk and their underdeveloped esophagus can not get that quantity, their tiny stomach contents overflows. All of the content moves backwards to the esophagus, which causes reflux in babies. It occurs in all infants many times a day. Usually parents don’t have any idea about when does reflux peaks in babies?

When you baby reaches at 1, then the signs of reflux must reduce. If not then it will lead to GERD in babies, which is more serious than reflux in breastfeeding babies. 

This guide will get you to know about infant reflux in detail. 


What are GER, GERD, reflux occurs in babies symptoms and treatment ?

A normal spitting up of babies is called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GER), found in almost all babies. It happens when your baby spits up some milk after overfeeding; that is all because your baby’s stomach refuses to take more content in it. Even though it is common in babies, mothers are usually worried because of the disturbance in babies.

If a baby is continuously vomiting with discomfort, or there is blood in or the baby is constantly refusing to take their meal or milk and the chronic cough begins spitting. It means that there is Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD in babies. Both the situations are identical; the difference is that one is normal and the other is a severe problem with continuing effects. 

Difference between Acid reflux and Silent reflux

Going through the mess of Gastro esophageal reflux requires patience and tolerance. When does reflux peak in babies? It usually gets started from the next day of the child’s birth and peaks up at almost 4 to 5 months. The troublesome reflux will outgrow from babies at 12-18 months. Meanwhile, you have to handle it.

Most parents don’t have any idea and confuse between the two main types of reflux that are not the same thing. Here we will discuss in detail what are these two refluxes and how you can prevent your baby from them.

Let’s move forward;

Acid Reflux in babies

Pediatric gastroenterology says Infant reflux happens due to immature LES (lower esophageal sphincter muscle); when the connecter muscle doesn’t work properly and breaks down to close the right way, the content from the baby’s stomach can easily circulate backwards into the esophagus because of any sealed boundary. It mostly happens when babies end up in their feeding process.

Silent Reflux in babies

When the food content flows backwards into the nasal passages and larynx, it is called Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) or silent reflux. It is known as silent because usually there are no visible symptoms all the time as compared to Acid reflux. It is difficult to detect because of no further spitting or expelling out of content. The food gradually backs off into the stomach. 

Reflux is prevalent in babies, especially in newborn babies. Still, if the reflux in babies shows negative symptoms or your baby is doing unusual things, you need further consultation with your baby’s paediatrician for treatment.

What causes acid reflux in babies?

Reflux in babies is all due to the premature connecting muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). It interlinks the baby’s esophagus and stomach. It helps the baby food to remain in the stomach. You will be amazed after knowing that this muscle only opens at the time when your baby swallows food; otherwise, it remains to tighten all the time and keeps the food in the stomach. 

The other common causes of acid reflux and silent reflux that we cannot ignore are;

  • Laying Position of the baby

Babies always lay straight and flat. Because of no movement and laying in a single position can cause reflux in babies.

  • Inherited problem

Reflux in babies is so depressing, and when you come to know that it is genetically inherited, it makes you afraid because all upcoming babies may also face reflux problems.

  • Overfeeding and eating

Overeating or taking extra meals can also cause reflux in babies and children. Because of the short baby’s esophagus, your baby’s tummy is not ready to digest rapidly, and it spits everything out.


  • Child’s diet

Every mother wants to feed their baby a healthy diet, but they don’t have any idea that changing your child’s diet menu are also risky for healthy infants. Sometimes, babies have food intolerance that lead to worrisome symptoms of reflux.  

  • Mother’s diet

Reflux in breastfed babies is all because of a mother’s diet. Want to know about foods that cause acid reflux in babies?

Eating citrus fruits and vegetables, hot and spicy foods, taking a lot of caffeine, food with great mercury levels, and high alcohol intake can be the most dangerous foods that cause acid reflux in babies.

  • Empty stomach

Stomach empty for so long (Gastroparesis), starving can make gases in tiny mini belly of healthy infants that will be painful for them.

Symptoms of newborn reflux and How to treat acid reflux in babies? 

I know you are thinking about the symptoms of reflux in babies because many of you are going through this problem. Study shows that one in five babies face reflux problem.

Symptoms of reflux in infants might sometimes be different from other types of reflux. According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases here are the most prominent signs of reflux;

1. Discomfort burping

When your child is burping with discomfort, and after doing all-natural remedies for acid reflux, your baby needs extra care and medication for that. Annoying burping is a serious symptom of newborn reflux. 


2. Projectile vomiting

Forceful spitting up and projectile vomiting with severe cramps can occur due to gastroesophageal reflux. Spitting with a green or yellow fluid or a coffee colour substance may also be alarming for parents.

3. Colic pain

Heartburn with extreme colic and abdominal pain is one of the common symptoms of reflux in babies and might sometimes signify the danger if develop GERD in babies.

4. Disturb tasting

When your child wakes up in the morning, they sometimes feel an Unpleasant taste every day. Make sure to look into this matter; otherwise, sometimes it may cause great danger.

5. Choking while feeding

The prominent sign of reflux in babies is choking while feeding, and they suddenly start crying during feeding. It is all because of irritable esophagous.

6. Poor weight gain

Due to less eating with skipping meals, mostly children stop gaining weight. It is also due to continuous vomiting when the baby’s stomach refuses to take in food content. It is also a severe symptom of gastroesophageal reflux .

7. Uncomfortable sleeping

It is difficult for babies to sleep at night when facing GERD problems. Disturb sleep may cause irritation and fussiness in your baby.


How to solve the problem of GERD at home?

I know it’s hard to help your baby sleep peacefully due to disturbance in their digestive tract. 

Every mother is concerned about how to help a baby with reflux. There are many natural remedies for acid reflux that can help you prevent your baby from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Parents usually want to handle their children in their homes. That’s why they always ask how to treat GERD at home? Here is a guideline for them.

As you know, GERD is a complicated form of GER (Gastroesophageal reflux); all the treatments depend on the severity of the symptoms and especially the age of your baby – how to treat GERD at home? Some natural remedies for acid reflux work well to solve GERD’s problem, but sometimes it doesn’t hit off well. You have to visit your doctor as well for better suggestions. 

1. Does milk help acid reflux?

Many new moms ask, does milk help acid reflux? Breast milk can help reduce acid reflux because it is two times easily digestible. If breastfeeding is not possible, you can change your baby’s formula milk and can try lactose-free milk after consulting your doctor. It sometimes helps to relieve painful symptoms.

2. Switch the best milk for acid reflux

If you want to prevent GERD in babies, you need to get the best milk for acid reflux because sometimes the dairy is disturbing the digestive system of your baby. First, you need to consult with your baby’s doctor, and after their recommendation, you should change formula milk for your baby’s health.


The best milk for acid reflux is hydrolyzed protein formula that can easily digest. It is a mixture of cow’s milk and other ingredients. The other beneficial milk formula is soy milk formulas, usually recommended to lactose-intolerant children because it does not come from cow’s milk. Both formula milk is good to save your baby from acid reflux, but there are certain conditions; you need to consult your doctor first before switching the formula milk.

3. Child upright position

Your baby’s sleeping position matters a lot during reflux, as studies show that the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) increases when your child sleeps in an inclined position or a carrier. The best is to sleep with back in a firm place to reduce the risk of reflux in infants.

4. Take out time for a burp

Burping is the most crucial factor in saving your baby from reflux, whether given formula milk or breastmilk. It is one of the best natural remedies for acid reflux. The baby needs to burp to get out all the gases that evaluate the problem of reflux in babies.

5. Focus on Feeding bottle nipples

Avoid air gulping in your baby’s feeding nipple; make sure to fill it with milk; otherwise, the air in it creates trouble in the stomach of babies, which might cause severe problems of GERD.

Related: 8 Best Baby Bottles for Acid Reflux ( 2022 Reviewed)

6. Loose diapers and clothes

It is good to use loose diapers and clothes to prevent your newborn from reflux; tight diapers can press the baby’s tummy and give them uncomfortable feelings.

7. Overfeeding is harmful

Dont overdose on your baby; try to give him small feedings according to their requirements. Dont worry, You will gradually settle down the dosage of your baby after some time.


8. Mother’s diet

There is no doubt reflux in breastfeeding babies is all because of your diet. Mother’s diet matters; change your diet if your baby indicates acid reflux.

How to cure GERD permanently – Medication or surgery?

After doing all the remedies and changing your lifestyle, you didn’t progress your child’s reflux; the other solution is surgery or baby acid reflux medicine. Pediatric gastroenterology hepatology also recommend medicines for youngsters to get rid of this dreadful pain. It will help to reduce the excess amount of acid in your stomach. But these medicines are not for infants. 

As you know, taking medicines has unfavourable side effects that cause gastrointestinal infections, disturbing bones growth, and other drug interactions. It would be great for you to talk to your doctor before taking any medicines.

The permanent solution to GERD is surgery; if you are not getting any successful results from taking different prevention, and the symptoms of reflux are increasing rapidly in your baby, you should think about surgery. With the complete guidance of a doctor, you should be able to prevent your baby permanently from GERD.

Doctors solve gastroesophageal reflux  problems with remedies and medicines in babies; the surgery is only done for babies with severe breathing problems and chronic cough. It is called fundoplication, in which doctors tightens up the LES so that the food content cannot find any other area to flow back into the esophagus. This surgery is very rare among babies.

Final thought

Acid reflux and silent reflux, both types of reflux are treatable and can be controlled with some severe precautions. Every newborn can go through this painful struggle. Still, if you take some preventative measures properly, then it could help your baby sleep peacefully throughout the night without having any trouble. 

As you know, mild cases can quickly go off with a little bit of care, so you dont need to be worried. Some home care adjustments are all you need to make your toddlers happy and comfortable.

But symptoms like pyloric stenosis can cause a severe problem and tighten the connecting muscle abnormally without a single food in the baby’s stomach. At that time, you need to consult with your doctor to diagnose the problem straight away to save your baby from any danger