Most parents know that kids can be finicky eaters (loving sweet potatoes one day and hating them the next, only wanting to eat buttered pasta for every meal, throwing a fit unless they’re allowed to eat a whole sleeve of cookies . . .), but if you’ve been noticing that your infant or toddler occasionally becomes fussy at mealtimes, there’s a possibility that they’re dealing with acid reflux.
Because children cannot always fully communicate their feelings, it can be difficult to know when your little one has acid reflux. Here are a few warning signs of acid reflux in children and babies that you should look out for.
Signs of Acid Reflux in Children and Babies: How to Spot It
Acid reflux typically occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes when it shouldn’t, allowing digestive acids to rise back up into the esophagus. Infants sometimes experience acid reflux and associated symptoms like vomiting (spit-up) or fussiness because their LES is still developing.
Acid reflux is a common reason for babies to spit up, but it can also affect kids of almost any age. Your toddler or child may occasionally experience acid reflux and heartburn, especially if they consume typical heartburn triggers, like chocolate, peppermint, or high-fat foods.
How to Treat Acid Reflux in Babies
Keeping your baby or toddler upright for 30 minutes after they eat is a great way to help decrease occasional acid reflux. Also, limiting the amount of triggering foods like peppermint, chocolate, citrus fruits and tomato products in their diet is another positive step, as is encouraging them to take smaller bites and to chew slowly.
Acid Reflux in Kids: The Bottom Line
Occasional acid reflux is common in children and infants, and one of the main reasons babies spit up after eating. But if you notice that your toddler or child burps or hiccups often after meals, has coughing fits at night, complains of a stomach ache after eating, or just plain refuses to eat, they could be dealing with a more serious digestive issue. This is why it’s important to bring your child to their pediatrician as soon as you start to notice a pattern.
*TUMS is for children 12 years and older. If you think a child under 12 years is suffering from heartburn/acid reflux, speak to your doctor regarding the appropriate course of treatment