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Understanding silent reflux in babies

By Emilie Warren May 29, 2012

Unfortunately, some babies suffer from acid reflux. Some babies have very visible signs of the condition, but other babies have silent reflux symptoms. Most babies that suffer from acid reflux will spit up or vomit very frequently after feedings. When this happens, the baby doesn't gain the right amount of weight after birth, making the symptoms very visible and easy to spot. However, silent reflux in babies is much more difficult to diagnose.

A baby with silent reflux symptoms won't spit up or vomit. Instead, the baby will swallow the liquid that's been regurgitated. Sometimes the baby will choke on the liquid before swallowing it. In the majority cases of silent reflux in babies, it's the parents that notice the symptoms. You will likely notice your baby choking after a feeding.

As there is no vomiting or weight loss, it can be more difficult for doctors to diagnose the problem. The chances of having your baby display the symptoms of silent reflux during a ten minute office visit are very slim. Babies that are experiencing silent reflux symptoms usually continue to put on weight because they want to eat more in an effort to soothe the pain they are feeling. Because it's difficult for medical professionals to diagnose silent reflux without the obvious symptoms, parents have to be very diligent in recording what's going on with their baby.

If you suspect that your baby is suffering from silent reflux, start keeping a journal of your baby's habits. Of course, babies cry for a number of reasons. Many babies don't sleep well at night. Some babies insist on being held all the time and will cry when they are put down. Even though babies cry for a number of reasons, it's important to understand the sound that your baby makes when he or she is in pain.

Start paying close attention to your baby when he or she cries. Is your baby crying because he is bored, frightened, tired, hungry, or in pain? Of course, it takes some time to learn each baby's specific cry, especially for first time parents.

However, with some time and patience, you will be able to determine what is making your baby cry.

If your baby seems to be crying in pain, start keeping track of what the circumstances are when your baby is crying. Is your baby lying down? If so, is she laying on her back or stomach? How long ago did your baby eat? After each feeding, listen to your baby. See if you are able to hear the liquid flowing up from the stomach and into the mouth. If this is the cases, you will sometimes be able to hear your baby choking on the liquid that has now become acidic.

Babies that have silent reflux often have bad breath and a constantly runny nose. If you suspect that your baby is suffering from silent reflux, take your journal to the doctor and explain your suspicions.

Your pediatrician will be grateful that you took the time to document your baby's symptoms and be able to prescribe medication that will help. In addition to medication, it takes proper management to relieve the pain associated with acid reflux.