Babies are prone to reflux as they have small stomachs and the lower oesophagus valve (which opens and closes to stop milk going back up from the stomach) may not yet have developed fully.

All babies bring up small amounts of milk or vomit from time to time. If your baby does this sometimes, but is content, growing well and putting on weight and he doesn’t seem to have any major discomforts at feeds, the bringing up of milk should stop gradually as the baby gets older and the digestive system matures.

If, on the other hand you notice any of the following symptoms, your baby may be suffering from reflux and it may be worthwhile speaking to a pharmacist who may then refer you to a doctor if necessary:

  • Constant or sudden crying (especially during or after feeds)
  • Frequent waking at night with discomfort
  • Your baby arches their back or neck during feeds
  • Vomiting frequently
  • Frequent hiccupping and bringing up milk with burps
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Poor growth/ weight gain

There are some simple steps that you can take to relieve your baby’s symptoms:

  • Wind your baby before feeds and every 1 to 2oz during the feed, and after feeding
  • Keep your baby upright for 30 minutes after feeds
  • Tilt the head of your baby’s crib or cot so that their head is at a higher level at night
  • Avoid any pressure on your baby’s tummy after a feed e.g. tummy time or placing them in their car seat

There are various formulas available on the market that help to ease the symptoms of reflux as they are thicker feeds or thicken when they come into contact with stomach acid.

Examples of these formula are:

  • Enfamil AR
  • Aptamil Reflux

These are both pharmacy-only brands.

There are various medications available over the counter to deal with wind as excess wind and reflux often go hand in hand. These include:

  • Colief
  • Infacol
  • Dentinox drops

If none of these over the counter options are providing your baby with any relief it is worth talking to your GP about a prescribed medication as an option.

There are three main options available currently and these are Zantac liquid, Losec (omeprazole) tablets and most recently Zoton Fastabs (lansoprazole).

Doctors often prescribe the losec in the tablet form to be dissolved in water and administered via a syringe, but this can be tricky, especially when you have a hungry little baby to tend to! There is an option available to have the losec made up in a liquid form. Not many pharmacies do this, but at Boots Upper Baggot street, we have had many babies recently that we have made this up for. The solution is made up on a weekly basis and is covered via the Drugs Payment scheme (DPS). If you or your baby are not currently registered on this scheme your local Boots pharmacist can help you to apply and register you straight away.

We also provide leaflets on all aspects of Baby Digestion in store. Check out www.bootswebmd.com for more information or contact your local Boots pharmacist, all our pharmacy locations can be found on www.boots.ie

Lisa O’Brien, MPSI                                                                                                           Pharmacist

Lisa is a Pharmacist working in boots pharmacy and currently expecting her second child. She has been attending Physiofit Woman Physiotherapy, Pilates and massages since her first pregnancy to help manage her Pelvic Girdle Pain. Lisa will be a regular contributor to our Women Expert’s Corner.