Infant reflux or gastrointestinal reflux (GER) can cause babies to spit up many times each day. GER is not to be confused with GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease). GER, or infant reflux, is a common occurrence before the age of 18 months. Unless it is excessive, it is usually harmless.
A wet burp can happen when the baby burps and small amounts of food come up. However, burps do not always occur when spitting up. Spit-up can come up whenever the stomach contains food. It usually happens because the lower esophageal sphincter is not always fully developed in babies that are under a year and a half. Prone positioning during feedings can cause food to back up because the sphincter is not yet effective.
Small amounts of food simply go the wrong way. Gastrointestinal reflux can also be caused by secondhand smoke, caffeine and/or nicotine in breastmilk or a food allergy. It is rarely caused by a physical abnormality, a digestive blockage or another serious or life-threatening condition. The vast majority of babies outgrow it.
Professional medical care should be sought when the following symptoms occur.
When a baby is thriving and seemingly healthy, infant reflux (GER) does not require special care or medication. The need for treatment depends on the cause and severity of gastrointestinal reflux and the accompanying symptoms.