Reflux in infants

Most babies spit up once in a while, but some do it a lot. This is called reflux. Reflux is short for gastroesophageal reflux or GER. 

Reflux happens when food in the stomach comes back up during or after a feeding. It often happens to babies who were born early. Most of the time babies outgrow the condition in a few months. Most babies don’t seem to be upset by reflux.

How can you feed your baby if he has reflux?

If your baby had reflux in the NICU, the nurses may have shown you how to feed and position your baby to minimize spit up. These tips may help:

  • Hold your baby upright during feeding.
  • Try smaller, more frequent feedings.
  • Burp your baby often, especially if you are feeding him with a bottle.
  • Try a different nipple on your baby's bottle so he swallows less air.
  • Keep your baby still after feeding.

When should you call your baby's provider about reflux?

These symptoms may mean that your baby has other problems digesting food:

  • The spit-up is bright yellow or green.
  • There is a large amount of spit-up.
  • Your baby arches his back or cries during feeding.
  • Your baby vomits with great force (projectile vomiting).


Last reviewed: August, 2014

Most babies spit up once in a while, but some do it a lot. This is called reflux. Reflux is short for gastroesophageal reflux or GER. 

Reflux happens when food in the stomach comes back up during or after a feeding. It often happens to babies who were born early. Most of the time babies outgrow the condition in a few months. Most babies don’t seem to be upset by reflux.

How can you feed your baby if he has reflux?

If your baby had reflux in the NICU, the nurses may have shown you how to feed and position your baby to minimize spit up. These tips may help:

  • Hold your baby upright during feeding.
  • Try smaller, more frequent feedings.
  • Burp your baby often, especially if you are feeding him with a bottle.
  • Try a different nipple on your baby's bottle so he swallows less air.
  • Keep your baby still after feeding.

When should you call your baby's provider about reflux?

These symptoms may mean that your baby has other problems digesting food:

  • The spit-up is bright yellow or green.
  • There is a large amount of spit-up.
  • Your baby arches his back or cries during feeding.
  • Your baby vomits with great force (projectile vomiting).


Last reviewed: August, 2014