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After doing some research online (which admittedly is always a bit prone to error) I feel pretty confident that my newborn son has Silent Reflux (or laryngopharyngeal reflux). In short, it seems like stomach acid is entering his esophagus after feeding and causing discomfort/irritiation.

We spoke with our family doctor about it and he didn't seem that concerned and mentioned that it can pass over time. I'd still like to explore practical tips to help in the meantime.

Has someone had experience with this before? Any suggestions?

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I am not a doctor, but my understanding is that reflux does resolve itself over time. The problem is often that the valve between the esophagus and stomach is underdeveloped, and can't keep the stomach acid out of the esophagus. Once the child matures and that valve has a chance to fully develop, the problem often resolves itself.

In the meantime, though, there is no reason for your child to continue to suffer. If your current doctor refuses to consider treatment, it might be worth trying to get a second opinion. There are several medications that can help considerably with the child's reflux, usually by neutralizing or reducing some of the acid in the stomach. If your current doctor won't prescribe it, you might want to talk to another doctor.

Other things you can do to help
One analogy I found helpful was to think of your child's stomach as a big water-filled sack, with an small, open valve on top. Anything you do to your child that would cause that sack to spill its water will also cause your child's stomach acid to come up into the esophagus. Thus you might want to avoid things like:

  • turning the child upside-down (or even prone, in some situations)
  • squeezing the child around the middle (or holding them around the middle with their back to you)
  • excessive spinning, twirling, jumping, bumping, etc.
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My daughter had extremely bad reflux as an infant, and eventually had to go on medication. Before we moved to that step, our doctor had us try several things to help her:

  • Smaller, more frequent feedings. Less volume in the stomach, less likely to overflow and force stomach acid back up the esophagus.

  • Feed in an upright position.

  • Burp more frequently during feeding.

  • Positioning. After eating, carry the baby in a sling, or put them in a bouncy seat for 20-30 minutes. The idea is to keep their upper body a bit elevated so gravity can assist with keeping the acid down.

  • Elevate the head of their mattress. The concept is the same as above, letting gravity help with keeping the stomach acid down. Our doctor's recommendation here was to get one of the wedge positioners, and put it UNDER the mattress, as opposed to in the crib, which is what the directions called for.

All of these did help with managing her reflux, and she did grow out of it around the time she was ready to start solids.

  • I'd plus two if I could...my youngest was a miserable baby because of reflux. We never gave him meds, my husband was strongly against it. He was breastfed, and so I ended up feeding him little "snacks" every hour for months, and he "slept" in his little peanut chair at a 45degree angle. Eventually we were able to get him in his crib, elevated as mentioned above. I also found that my foremilk (the more watery stuff that comes at the beginning of a feeding) exacerbated his reflux, so I used a hand pump to express most (not all, he still needed some) of it. – Jax Apr 17 '16 at 0:40

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