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If you’ve been reading up on reflux, you probably know that it is a common condition in babies. In most cases, reflux will pass by the time your baby is 6 months old and won’t require any special treatment. Although some have milder symptoms than others, all babies are different. If your baby experiences discomfort when eating or drinking, it might be an indication of silent reflux. This silent reflux quiz will help you determine if your infant has any of these symptoms.
What is silent reflux?
Silent reflux occurs when the contents in the stomach are pushed back up into the esophagus. While most babies experience reflux, it is common for some not to show any signs of discomfort. This is because the esophagus is covered by a strong sphincter muscle that prevents the refluxed material from traveling back up. In other words, the stomach contents remain there.
However, in cases of silent reflux, the sphincter muscle is not strong enough, meaning the contents are pushed up into the esophagus. The refluxed material is irritating and can make your baby feel uncomfortable. Therefore, your baby may exhibit some symptoms or no symptoms at all. With the infant reflux quiz you should be able to tell.
Symptoms of silent reflux in babies
- Regurgitated food through the nose - Since the refluxed material travels up the esophagus, it may come out of the nose instead. This can be detected when your baby is breathing in food particles or an unusual smell. In severe cases, the food may come out as droplets, causing your baby to have a runny nose. Alternatively, the baby may sneeze as a reaction to the food particles.
- Regurgitated food in the mouth - The refluxed material may also travel back down the esophagus and end up in the mouth. In this case, you will see your baby drooling and swallowing frequently.
- Barf - In other cases, the refluxed material may come out as vomit. This may occur when the baby is trying to feed, especially if the baby is gassy or has colic.
- Colic - Many infants experience colic, which is characterized by excessive fussing and crying, especially in the evening and/or nighttime. There may be no specific cause for the colic, but reflux could likely be one of them.
- Regurgitated milk - Contrary to what you may think, silent reflux does not always lead to vomiting. Your baby may try to feed but produce very little milk, or even no milk at all. This may be a sign that the milk is being pushed back up into the mouth.
Besides all the previously mentioned symptoms, there can be even more signs, and some symptoms does not necessarily mean your baby has silent reflux. The Laryngopharyngeal reflux quiz will show you some more possible symptoms to look out for.
What causes silent reflux in babies?
In most cases of silent reflux, there are no specific causes. However, certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing reflux, including:
- Being born prematurely - since the esophageal sphincter is not fully developed when a baby is born prematurely, it is easier for the refluxed material to come back up.
- Being born with a cleft palate or a hiatal hernia - The esophageal sphincter relies on a strong and healthy muscle. If there is an abnormality that affects this muscle, the refluxed materials can easily come back up.
- Having a very large tummy - In the case of a very large tummy, the contents in the stomach can back up and push into the esophagus.
- Having a low muscle tone - A baby with low muscle tone may also be more prone to developing reflux.
How to treat silent reflux in babies
Keep calm. The first thing that you need to do is remain calm. Since most cases of reflux don’t require medical treatment, it is important to keep your cool. You will be more likely to make a mistake when you are in a panic state. - Identify when your baby is fussy. It is not possible to determine whether your baby has reflux 24 hours a day.
Many babies that have reflux are fussy for only a couple of hours a day. You will probably notice your baby is fussy after a feed.
Feed your baby in an upright position. Feeding your baby in an upright position could help to relieve some of the symptoms. To do so, you can use a specially designed baby seat (Bumbo seat). Alternatively, you can hold the baby in your arms while feeding her. Does your baby suffer from
Tips to help relieve your baby’s symptoms from silent reflux
Make sure your baby is well fed. If your baby is hungry, feed him/her as soon as possible. If you are bottle feeding, make sure the nipple is not too fast as this can worsen the symptoms. If you are breastfeeding, make sure you are feeding your baby regularly. If you notice your baby is fussier during certain times of the day, it could be because the baby is hungry and you didn’t feed him/her at the right time.
Try to burp your baby after every feed. Burping your baby after each feed can help to release the gas build-up in the stomach and make your baby less fussy. - Make sure your baby isn’t too hot or too cold - A baby that is too hot or too cold can be fussy as well. It is important to keep your baby at a comfortable temperature to reduce fussy behavior.
Silent reflux may be a source of discomfort for your baby, but it’s not something you can see or hear. This means that it often goes unnoticed by the parents.
The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to help relieve your baby’s symptoms and make the reflux go away. The first thing you can do is to take the "does my baby have silent reflux quiz at the top of the page,
If you suspect that your baby has silent reflux, it is important to keep an eye on the baby’s feeding pattern. If your baby is fussy, drooling, or producing barf, and has a bloated tummy, it could be a sign of silent reflux.
If this is the case for your baby, you should speak to your doctor to rule out any other conditions that could be causing the symptoms.