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Regurgitation is the passage of gastric contents (usually food) to the pharynx or mouth without effort or nausea. Sometimes it is expelled with force, so it can be confused with vomiting. Other times it stays in the esophagus and causes fussiness or fussiness in the baby.
This reflux occurs frequently in children under 3 months of age with spontaneous resolution at 12-14 months. 67% of healthy 4-month-old infants have spit-up more than once a day.
In general, these episodes of reflux do not cause problems in children, but in some children they do cause symptoms and health problems. In this case, it is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
Regurgitations are more frequent after feedings, and especially if the child is lying down, since the gastric content goes to the mouth without difficulty. Children with reflux tend to digest somewhat more slowly than others, so they may regurgitate food they have eaten several hours before.
Regurgitations are common and benign, the child's weight and height curve should not be affected by this problem. From 6 months on, the symptoms disappear, since solid foods are introduced into the diet.
Certain factors peculiar to pediatric age make children more prone to regurgitation. Due to immaturity, for example, they take longer to empty the stomach, and the lower esophageal sphincter is weaker.
In addition, the baby spends a lot of time lying down (supine) and this encourages the stomach content to move towards the mouth. As the baby grows, all these mechanisms mature, and that is why regurgitations decrease in frequency and quantity.
If the child is calm, happy, eats well and gains weight properly, there is no need to worry. On the other hand, if the child is irritable, restless, stops eating, or on the contrary is very anxious, does not gain weight correctly, vomits are greenish or bloody, or with nausea or effort, you should consult the pediatrician.
If the child is well, it is usually not necessary to treat with medications, since the reflux decreases and disappears in a few months.
To reduce the frequency or quantity of regurgitations, it is advisable not putting him to bed immediately after eating and having him sit up for a while. It is also important to feed the baby calmly, without haste, without letting the baby get anxious and swallow very quickly, since it favors the accumulation of gases and this favors regurgitation.
Some pediatricians recommend anti-regurgitation formulas, which are a little thicker than usual and generally more caloric, so they are recommended especially if the weight gain is not adequate. In cases where it has an impact on the baby's health (which is known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), pediatricians will prescribe drugs to improve the symptoms.
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