When Your Baby Has GERD

Your baby has been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is when acid from the stomach flows up into the esophagus. This is the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach.

Home care

  • Feed your baby small amounts, more often.

  • Use a thickening agent to thicken formula, if advised.

  • Keep your baby upright during a feeding.

  • Burp your baby often during feeding.

  • Keep your baby upright for about 30 minutes after each feeding.

  • Give your baby medicines exactly as directed by the healthcare provider.

  • Keep a log that shows how much formula or breastmilk your baby takes in each day. Take this log to the next visit with your child’s healthcare provider.

  • Follow all other home care instructions. Ask questions if they aren’t clear.

Back sleeping every time

Even with GERD, make sure your baby sleeps on his or her back until age 1. This lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Do it every time your baby sleeps, even for a short nap. Tell every caregiver. Side sleeping is not safe and not advised.

Follow-up care

If medicines and changes in feeding don’t ease symptoms, your child may need surgery. Surgery is often not an option until a child is age 1 or older.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your baby's healthcare provider right away if he or she has:

  • Breathing problems (call 911)

  • Trouble gaining weight

  • Spitting up or vomiting that gets worse or doesn’t stop

  • Blood in vomit

  • Cough or wheezing that doesn’t go away

  • Choking that happens often

  • Refusal to feed

  • Irritability

  • Trouble sleeping

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