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Breast milk is best for babies. Professional advice should be followed before using an infant formula. Introducing partial bottle feeding could negatively affect breast feeding. Good maternal nutrition is important for breast feeding and reversing a decision not to breast feed may be difficult. Infant formula should always be used as directed. Proper use of an infant formula is important to the health of the infant. Social and financial implications should be considered when selecting a method of feeding.

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Reflux and Regurgitation in Infants

Read the Frequently Asked Questions

Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) indicates that the gastric content of the infant flows back from the stomach via the oesophagus into the mouth. The situation of mild (or 'silent') reflux is quite common in infants, especially during the first months, and can be seen as physiological if this occurs in a healthy well growing infant. Another word used to define this problem is 'regurgitation'.

GOR becomes pathological when the intensity or frequency of vomiting increases and when complications, such as apnoea (short of breath), aspiration, oesophagitis and failure to thrive arise.

The terms regurgitation and reflux are often used interchangeably to describe the regurgitation or 'spilling' of feeds.

In infants, regurgitation can be a symptom of simple immaturity or of more complex disease and thus, it is important for Healthcare Professionals to assess the true cause of the regurgitation to ensure effective management of both the underlying cause and relief of symptoms.

Regurgitation of feeds occurs frequently during early infancy affecting up to 40% of infants under 3 months of age.1 Regurgitation of feeds can be distressing and worrying for parents, however in the majority of cases it is harmless and will spontaneously resolve before 12 months of age. In such cases parental reassurance, positioning advice and thickening of milk feeds may help ease parental distress.

Reference

  1. Shepherd R. The Diagnosis and Management of Gastro-oesophageal Reflux in Infancy. Modern Medicine of Australia. April 1991; 80-86.

Below you will find some frequently asked questions related to Reflux and Regurgitation in Infants. To view the answers please download the PDF. Download PDF

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) and regurgitation?
  • Why does gastro-oesophageal regurgitation (GOR) or regurgitation occur in infants?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) and regurgitation?
  • How is gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) diagnosed?
  • How is gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) and regurgitation managed in infants?
  • How is gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) managed in infants?
  • Where to get help and support for parents?

Breast milk is best for babies. Professional advice should be followed before using an infant formula. Introducing partial bottle feeding could negatively affect breast feeding. Good maternal nutrition is important for breast feeding and reversing a decision not to breast feed may be difficult. Infant formula should always be used as directed. Proper use of an infant formula is important to the health of the infant. Social and financial implications should be considered when selecting a method of feeding.

 

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Last Updated: 03/04/2014

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