There are two types of parents desperately searching the Internet right now, looking for a formula for acid reflux.
Parents whose baby has been diagnosed with either silent or acid reflux.
Parents whose baby has NOT been diagnosed, but the constant spitting-up is kinda freaking them out.
If you’re one of those two, allow me to sprinkle you with happy sun-beams of encouragement.
Encouragements that I will whisk into the giant cauldron I keep in the basement for emergencies:
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;*
*Fifty “cool parent points” if you can name this source!
The magic formulas presented here are specifically centered on helping your baby keep his meal down. If your baby spits up more than five times every day, these formulas may be your saving grace.
If you suspect a milk allergy or intolerance (fussy, gassy, cramping, etc.) is making your infant miserable, you need to use my formula allergy checklist first.
If you suspect colic, (your infant screams for hours for no reason) let me introduce your new hero.
First…What Defines Reflux?
There are four main kinds of reflux that affect infants. Here’s what I call them (along with their proper fancy-pants medical term.)
Impress the Doctor Term: Gastro Esophageal Reflux, (reflux or GER)
GER is very common in babies, basically it means the baby spits up once in a while.
It’s not that serious so start with allergy-sensitive formulas first. Give it a a week to see if things improve.
The Crappy Reflux
Impress the Doctor Term: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
This type of acid reflux is not as common (1 in 300 babies) but is much more serious.
These babies will struggle to grow, hate to eat, seem to have constant colds, and may wheeze or show other breathing problems.
Talk your doctor if you suspect this. Your little suffering infant will mostly likely need medication.
I would also discuss switching to one of the formulas below, as they have been shown to help with GERD.
The Sneaky Reflux
Impress the Doctor Term: Silent GERD or GER
This type of reflux is by far the crappiest because it’s silent. Your sad-faced little guy re-swallows the spit-up so you never see it.
This causes twice the damage, since the bile burns on the way up and on the way down. Poor baby!
Silent reflux is hard to diagnose. Look for him to be Mr. Cranky Pants, hate the sight of a bottle, and cry more after meals than at other times during the day.
Call your doctor for an analysis and see if using one of these formulas for reflux can help.
What Can Help a Baby with Reflux?
The reason babies struggle so much with reflux is because their tiny little esophagus isn’t 100% fully formed. This means that the flap of skin (to use a technical term…) that keeps foods down in the stomach isn’t quite ready to play Bouncer and keep breakfast’s milk from trying to join the party going on in the mouth again.
There are two things that tend to help babies with acid reflux (other than medications, but that’s between you and your doctor).
Sleeping on an incline. Gravity can help keep supper down where it belongs. ( This baby bean bag may be helpful in this. Don’t use in the crib, though. This is best for non-squirming newborns under mom’s watchful eye.)
Thicker formulas. A thicker formula is heavier, which makes it easier to keep down.
The Non-Magic Formula for Acid Reflux:
Trying to Thicken It At Home
Here’s what most parents do to thicken infant formula:
- Throw a tablespoon of rice cereal into a warm bottle of formula.
- Shake vigorously.
What’s the magical result?
No spark…no twinkle…not even a glimmer.
Why isn’t it working? I give you three reasons…
Younger Infants Can Struggle Digesting Rice Cereal
The younger your infant, the less “magical” the result of adding rice cereal by hand is going to be.
Newborns in particular can have a difficult time digesting the rice cereal. The smaller particles of rice starch works better for them than rice cereal.
Shaking = A Bubble Frenzy in the Tummy
No matter how hard you try, mixing in cereal by hand is going to create bubbles. (That or raw chunks. Yum!)
Those bubbles travel down into your infant’s tummy. So instead of having an infant screaming because of reflux, you have an infant screaming because of gas. Huzzah!
The Nipple Nightmare: It’s Stuck and Won’t Come Out
Now that you’ve thickened the formula by hand, you have to make sure your baby can actually drink it…without using the hollow-cheeks method of sucking that leaves her really torked off and sore.
So to avoid that, you have to try an endless assortment of nipples to get the right flow. (Or try to improvise with a scissors, making a mess and a new choking hazard.)
You can do better, my friend.
Use one of these magic formulas below and eliminate all sorts of curses. Each of these acid reflux formulas will work just fine with the standard nipples.
A Note About Poopies: Some parents have complained that using an acid reflux formula like one of these can cause constipation. If your baby’s poops are thicker than peanut butter (always a better indicator than frequency), use these anti-constipation suggestions to keep the pipes clean and movin’.
The Formula for Acid Reflux You’ve Been Waiting For
There are only three thickened formulas on the market (as of this writing). Talk to your doctor on which one to start with.
Not only will Doc have some great insight, he may just have a freebie or two to throw your way.
These aren’t cheap! Grovel if you have to.
If he’s plumb-out of free samples, and hysterical weeping isn’t scoring any discount coupons, purchase the standard size first.
Then, if it works, you can save cash by going with I call The Big Kahuna bulk options.
Enfamil A. R.
Enfamil A.R. uses rice carbohydrates instead of cereal, so it flows easily through the nipple, yet settles solidly in your baby’s tummy.
It’s a fully-fortified formula for acid reflux, including DHA & ARA and immunity boosters. You can purchase it in powder form or in premixed containers and nipple-ready bottles.
Similac Sensitive for Spit Up
Similac Sensitive for Spit Up uses the same “Early Shield” formulations as the normal Similac formulas.
Lutein, DHA, ARA, nucelotides for immunity, prebiotics, and an exclusive palm olein-oil blend for growing bones are all bubbled together with rice starch to create a formula for acid reflux your baby can keep down.
After mixing, let it sit for 10-15 minutes to thicken up evenly. Yes, it will look a little grainy. (That’s normal.)
Pregestimil is a hypoallergenic and lactose-free formula that’s usually used for colicky symptoms, but may be a good back up plan as a formula for acid reflux.
55% of it’s fat content comes from a special blend of fats (called MCT), designed to help babies who struggle digesting fats.
It comes in powder form or in Nursette bottles. These special bottles have the colic formula premixed, so all you have to do is attach a standard nipple.
- The big kahuna 6-pack is 96 oz.
Hype? or Holy-Cow?
Call me nosey, but I’d love to hear whether or not a formula for acid reflux like these helped your infant.
How quickly could you tell a difference?