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Can Babies Outgrow Acid Reflux? Find Out Here

Can Babies Outgrow Acid Reflux? Find Out Here

You feed your baby and notice they always spit up their food. Asking around, you learned from other parents that it’s normal for babies to have acid reflux, especially in the first three months of their life. So, you waited. The problem is, your baby still spits up food way past their 3rd month. Now, you’re wondering: Can babies really outgrow acid reflux? How do you treat acid reflux in babies? Find out here.

Reflux is Common Among Infants

Gastroesophageal reflux or simply reflux occurs when the stomach contents flow back up into the food pipe or esophagus.

Experts say it’s common for babies to spit up their food in the first three months of their life. They also said reflux is common for babies under the age of 2. But most cases resolve on their own when they reach 12 to 14 months.

Finally, reports also mentioned that reflux is common among young children and teens.

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Why Reflux Happens in Babies

Can babies outgrow acid reflux? Like mentioned earlier, most cases resolve without treatment when they reach 12 to 14 months. But why does reflux happen in little ones?

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) generally occurs due to an issue with the lower esophageal sphincter or LES, a muscle below the food pipe that relaxes to let foods into the stomach and closes to keep the foods there, preventing the stomach contents from backing up.

Babies often have weak LES; that’s why it’s common for them to spit up their food. Little by little, their LES will develop fully, and acid reflux will resolve on its own.

When Should Parents Seek Medical Help

Although most babies can outgrow acid reflux without an issue, it’s still crucial for parents to know when they need medical help.

Reports say parents should bring their baby to the doctor if they are:

  • Not gaining weight
  • Constantly spitting up food forcefully (projectile vomiting)
  • Spitting up blood or substance that looks like coffee grounds
  • Spitting up yellow or green fluid
  • Unusually irritable after mealtimes
  • Refusing foods

It’s also essential to bring them to the doctor when they have difficulty breathing, chronic cough, and blood in the stool. Medical help is also necessary if they begin spitting up food at six months or older.

How Do You Treat Acid Reflux in Babies

Although most babies can outgrow acid reflux, parents can still do things to ease their symptoms. Consider the following:

  • Ask your doctor about adding some rice cereal to your baby’s milk to make it thicker. However, remember that babies shouldn’t have anything else other than breastmilk in the first six months of their life.
  • Burp your baby in between or after each feeding. Also, it will help to keep them upright for at least 30 minutes after mealtime
  • Avoid giving them too much milk or food

If you performed some of these remedies and noticed that your child’s condition is not improving, bring them to the doctor. When spitting up food already interferes with feeding and sleeping, your baby might be experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, the more severe and longer-lasting form of reflux.

Key Takeaways

Can babies outgrow acid reflux? According to experts, it’s common for babies to spit up their food in the first three months of their life. However, most cases resolve once they reach 12 to 14 months.

Consider keeping them upright for at least 30 minutes after mealtimes and burping them in between and after feedings. Not overfeeding them also helps.

If acid reflux interferes with your baby’s feeding and sleeping, and if they have other symptoms, such as not gaining weight, it’s best to bring them to the doctor to get checked.

Learn more about a Baby’s First Year here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) in Children
Accessed August 18, 2021

Infant reflux
Accessed August 18, 2021

Reflux in Infants
Accessed August 18, 2021

Gastroesophageal Reflux
Accessed August 18, 2021

Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux in Infants and Children
Accessed August 18, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Aug 19, 2021
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza