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The Best Magic Baby Formula for Reflux

Today I’m brushing off my giant cauldron and using my Snape-taught potion mastery to share the best formula for reflux.

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;

I’ll be honest. The best formula for spit up is not going to have snake fillets and frog’s eyes. They will however be specifically designed to help your baby keep his meal down. If your baby spits up more than five times every day, these formulas may be your saving grace.

But let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. Did you know there are three types of acid reflux in babies? Let’s consider each of them separately.

First…What Defines Baby Acid Reflux?

The reason babies struggle so much with reflux is because their tiny little esophagus isn’t 100% fully formed.  This means that the flap of skin (my technical term…) that keeps foods down in the stomach isn’t quite ready to play Bouncer and keep breakfast’s milk from trying to join the party going on in the mouth.

There are three main kinds of baby acid reflux. Here’s what I like call them (along with their proper fancy-pants medical term.)

Regular Reflux: GER

Impress the Doctor Term:  Gastro Esophageal Reflux, (reflux or GER)

GER is very common in babies, basically it means the baby spits up once in a while. It’s not that serious so start with allergy-sensitive formulas first.  Give it a a week to see if things improve.

The Crappy Reflux: GERD

Impress the Doctor Term:  Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

This type of acid reflux is not as common (1 in 300 babies) but is much more serious.  These babies will struggle to grow, hate to eat, seem to have constant colds, and may wheeze or show other breathing problems.

Talk your doctor if you suspect this.  Your little suffering infant will mostly likely need medication. I would also discuss switching to one of the formulas for acid reflux below, as they have been shown to help with GERD.

The Sneaky Reflux: Silent GERD

Impress the Doctor Term:  Silent Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

This type of reflux is by far the crappiest because it’s silent.  Your sad-faced little guy re-swallows the spit-up so you never see it. This causes twice the damage, since the bile burns on the way up and on the way down.  Poor baby!

Silent reflux is hard to diagnose.  Look for him to be Mr. Cranky Pants, hate the sight of a bottle, and cry more after meals than at other times during the day. Call your doctor for an analysis and see if using one of these formulas for reflux can help.

What is the Best Formula for Reflux?

When it comes to finding the best baby formula for reflux, it’s important to ask these questions:

  • Have I discussed my options with my pediatrician? If you haven’t, do so!
  • How much can I afford to spend on a formula? If money is tight, start with a thickened formula, then move towards the more expensive hypoallergenic options.
  • Does my baby have other digestive issues, like constipation? If so, consider using a baby formula for acid reflux based on goat’s milk.
  • How important is it to me to use an organic baby formula? If this is really important, perhaps consider a European baby formula brand.

Let me provide you with a few specific suggestions.

A Pre-Thickened Baby Formula for Acid Reflux

Pre-thickened baby formulas for acid reflux have been very carefully mixed to be a little thicker than the standard formulas. This means they are a little heavier and harder for your baby to spit up.

If money is tight, I would encourage you to start with one of these because they are cheaper than the hypoallergenic options below.

Give one of those a try for a week and see if things improve. If not, it may be time to try the next formula for reflux…

The Hypoallergenic Magic Formulas for Acid Reflux

Scientists have shown that in some cases switching a baby to a hypoallergenic formula can really help manage the acid reflux symptoms. The two most popular hypoallergenic formulas for acid reflux are…. *drum roll* *envelope tear*

Before you jump into the hypoallergenic pool, make sure you talk it over with your doctor first. If your baby is currently using a regular formula and you want to switch to a hypoallergenic, make sure you follow my steps here on how to switch “formula families” without disrupting your baby’s delicate tum-tum.

The Best Formula for Spit Up and Other Digestive Issues

If you keep striking out with the pre-thickened formulas, but aren’t yet ready to shell out hundreds for the fancy hypoallergenic formulas, I would try this free sample of goat milk formula.

Studies have shown (like this one), that goat’s milk digests in the stomach more similarly to breastmilk than regular cow’s milk. This means that babies who often struggle with constipation or reflux when using cow’s milk-based formula will often do much better on goat’s milk formula.

  • Regular goat’s milk has a high protein content that can be difficult for a baby’s kidney, but this formula has been specially adapted to balance that protein out so it’s easily digested and easy on the kidneys.
  • Although the packaging says their formula is a “toddler formula” their nutritionalist (with a doctorate in Nutrition and Dietetics) told me that is perfectly safe to use for any child over 6 months who is has started eating solid foods.

Right now they are giving away a free sample of formula, along with their organic snack puffs and goat milk porridge. Click here to take advantage of their free offer and get this formula for spit up a try.

The Best Organic Formula for Acid Reflux

If choosing an organic baby formula is really important to you, HiPP HA is going to be your best formula for reflux. The difficulty with this formula, though, is the only way to get it in the USA is to purchase it here and have it shipped.

The packaging is in a box (not a can), but the instructions come in English, so don’t let the Deutsch on the front discourage you from giving it a try.

Find out why parents in the US are falling in love with organic European baby formulas.

What Else Can Help a Baby with Reflux?

Besides trying to find the best formula for spit up, here are a few things that tend to help babies with acid reflux.

Medications: Zantac or Prevacid

The two most common medications in treating acid reflux in the US are Zantac and Prevacid.  Zantac doesn’t actually reduce the amount of acid in your baby’s tummy, it just makes it less acid-y (another technical term from yours truly).  For this reason, babies can be on Zantac for longer periods of time. It can take several weeks, however to kick in and make a difference.

Prevacid actually reduces the amount of bile in that tiny tum-tum.  This is okay for short durations, but can cause damage if used for long periods of time.  For that reason, most doctors will choose to hold this option back as a Trump card, waiting to see if you can see improvement on just Zantac.  If your baby is reaching the peak time (4-5 months) and doesn’t seem to be improving, using Prevacid for a week or two may help you get over the hump.

Sleeping On an Incline

You can always wean those off and teach her how to sleep in the crib later, when the symptoms aren’t so bad.

Gravity can help keep supper down where it belongs. Let your baby spend the first few months of life sleeping in a swing or car seat or something else that will keep her safely propped up.

Using Baby Probiotics

Recent studies have shown that giving your baby a probiotic can help babies struggling with acid reflux. Many of the best baby formulas for acid reflux already include probiotics, but you can also add it on your own. Talk to your doctor if you’re interested in pursuing this option.

Your First Priority is a Plan

The hardest part of having a baby with acid reflux is feeling stuck in a cycle of screams. It’s important that you have a plan, a way forward to give you hope of a better scream-free future.

Meeting with your doctor will help you with that plan, for sure, but that’s just the start. A formula shift is your best bet (besides medication) to help your child cope with a burning throat.

When picking out the best formula for spit up at your house, start with the questions above and work your way down the list. The more options you have to try, the more hope you will have, the easier it will be to get through this!

Here’s the best news: This will pass. Your baby won’t have acid reflux for ever! You just have to keep plowing through these next few months best you can.

It will get better.

Hang in there, sister.

We Love Citations

Separating Fact from Fiction in Pediatric Medicine: Infant Gastroesophageal Reflux. ScienceBasedMedicine.org
Speciality Formulas. BabyFormulaExpert.com
GERD in the Pediatric Patient: Management Considerations. US National Library of Medicine
Ausnutria-Hyproca Study Says Goat Milk Infant Formula Digestion Closer to Human Milk. DairyReporter.com

Have You Read These Yet?

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352 thoughts on “The Best Magic Baby Formula for Reflux

  1. Have you considered trying a hypoallergenic formula? Or a pre-thickened formula like Enfamil AR? Enfamil AR is less expensive than Nutramigen (a hypoallergenic) so perhaps start with that. Ask your doctor first, though. He will know things I don’t. 🙂

  2. You could ask your doctor about Prevacid. It can’t be used for long periods of time, but it can be helpful. Zantac doesn’t reduce the acid, it just makes it less “acid-y”. Prevacid actually reduces the amount of bile being produced (which is why it can only be used for a short period of time). Most doctors will hold this option back until nothing else is working. Ask him about the Prevacid and see what he says. Hang in there, friend. I’m so sorry to hear about your little girl’s struggle! I hope this can help!

  3. My daughter has been a mystery. She was born at 30 weeks and her spit up issue started in the hospital. They had there ways of fixing it but unfortunately it wasn’t something we could do at home. What they suggested was a hot mess and didn’t work. We’ve tried her on alimentum, nutramigen, Puramino, Prosobee & Enfamil AR. None work. She’s extremely fussy and cries a lot after she eats and she usually spits up at least half a bottle. It hasn’t been too concerning to her doctor because she has been gaining weight. Lately she doesn’t spit up from about 9-10pm until 6am but as soon as 6am hits all hell breaks through and she’s back to spitting up. So in that way it’s improved because before she was spitting up constantly all hours. We’ve also tried Zantac for her uncomfortableness but it didn’t help. Is there anything you’d recommend trying that we haven’t yet?

  4. Hi, our baby is 2 months old and he started on Similac. He was having infrequent stools and was constipated so they switched us to Enfamil and we had the same experience. Then they switched us to Enfamil Reguline and he was pooping so much it was basically diarrhea. Then they switched us to Enfamil GentleEase which worked well for the first 2 weeks and now he has diarrhea again. He’s been on acid reflux prescription med since 3 weeks and the probiotics drops as well. Any suggestions as to what to change to next? Some are saying Goodstart formula may be the answer. Thanks for your suggestions.

  5. Dear Stephanie,

    It sounds like you have been battling this silent reflux for awhile. That can be so frustrating! Firstly, I’d like to encourage you to continue to do whatever your doctor suggests. I’m in no way a doctor, or have the expertise that can help you with issues that medical science can assist you with. That being said, I can give you some ideas to think about and talk over with your doctor so that hopefully together you can find a resolution to help your little guy. I have talked with a well-known gastrointologist to hear his thoughts on acid reflux treatments and here they are so that you can talk them over with YOUR doctor.

    1) I would suggest trying Similac Total Comfort or Good Start Soothe. Just make sure you switch slowly so that his system has time to adjust.

    2) Make sure he’s sleeping on an incline or put him in a Rock n’ Play. to sleep.

    3) Keep him up right for 20-30 min after each feeding. A baby carrier is great for this. Click here for the baby carrier article.

    4) Talk with your doctor about probiotic drops. Recent studies have shown that they help babies with reflux.

    I hope this can encourage and help you. You’re being such a good mom in helping him through this. Being a parent of a refluxing baby isn’t easy at all. Hang in there!

  6. My baby is seven months old and has silent reflux that we still haven’t seemed to get under control (he’s been on medication since he was three). I need to supplement with formula since my supply seems to be dropping. I’ve tried the hypoallergenic formulas like nutramigen and alimentum but he wants nothing to do. He is eating solid foods now so I’m wondering if switching to a soy formula would be best? Or to try one of the ones you’ve listed. I’ve heard dairy agitates it.

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