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The 4 Best Magic Baby Formulas for Acid Reflux

There are two types of parents desperately searching the Internet right now, looking for the best baby formulas for acid reflux.

  • Parents whose baby has been diagnosed with either silent or acid reflux.
  • Parents whose baby has NOT been diagnosed, but the constant spitting-up and screaming is kinda freaking them out.

If you’re one of those two, consider yourself lucky.

Today I’m brushing out the giant cauldron I keep in the basement and using my Snape-taught potion mastery to share 4 formulas magically inspired to help your baby overcome the curse of acid reflux.

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

*Fifty “cool parent points” if you can name this source!

The magic baby formulas for acid reflux presented here are specifically centered on helping your baby keep his meal down.  If your baby spits up more than five times every day, these formulas may be your saving grace.

If you suspect a milk allergy or intolerance (fussy, gassy, cramping, etc.) is making your infant miserable, you need to use my formula allergy checklist first.

If you suspect colic, (your infant screams for hours for no reason) let me introduce your new hero.

First…What Defines Baby Acid Reflux?

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 Can Help a Baby with 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.

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

Gravity can help keep supper down where it belongs.  (This baby bean bag is helpful for this. Don’t use in the crib, though.  This is best for non-squirming newborns under mom’s watchful eye.)

Using Baby Probiotics

Recent studies have shown that giving your baby a probiotic can help babies struggling with acid reflux. There are some new baby formulas for acid reflux that already include probiotics, but you can also add it on your own with one of these best-performing baby probiotics.



The Thickened Magic
Formulas for Acid Reflux

One of the first ways a parent can help a baby with acid reflux, is to slightly thicken the formula, so it’s heavier – which means it’s more likely to stay put in the stomach instead of traveling up the esophagus to say hello to your shoulder.

There are two ways to get thicker baby formula, but only one will give you those magical happy results.

Method #1: Thicken the Formula Yourself

Here’s how most parents thicken their infant formula at home:

  1. Throw a tablespoon of rice cereal into a warm bottle of formula.
  2. Shake vigorously.

BAD IDEA. Here’s why:

  1. Newborns struggle digesting rice cereal. Their tiny tummies are set up for digesting solid foods. (If you insist on this, shoot for rice starch instead of cereal.)
  2. Shaking creates a bubble frenzy in the tummy. No matter how hard you try, you’re going to get bubbles when you try to mix them together. So instead of screaming because of acid reflux, she’s going to scream because of gas. Huzzah!
  3. The Nipple Nightmare: It’s stuck. You have to perfectly figure out how to thicken the formula without clogging up the nipple, leading to a really cheek-sore and frustrated baby.

Method #2: Use a Pre-Thickened Baby Formula for Acid Reflux

The method I would recommend is to pick up a standard baby formula that has been pre-thickened for you. No bubbles, no nipple nightmares, no kitchen experiments at two in the morning.

Because these pre-thickened formulas for acid reflux are in the same formula family as the basic baby formulas (all based on cow’s milk), you should be able to switch abruptly without any tummy troubles

Below you’ll find the best price on Amazon for you to try these out. You can save a LOT of money by purchasing these formulas in bulk!


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.

These formulas aren’t cheap, so do your wallet a favor and buy these formulas for acid reflux in bulk.


UPDATE!
2 New Formulas for Acid Reflux
I Have to Tell You About

After I wrote this article, I started getting emails from parents all over the world who had found their “Magic Formula” for acid reflux outside of the formulas I listed above.

I was shocked (and VERY interested). Here are the two formulas for acid reflux they kept raving about. (So really, I should call this the six best baby formulas for acid reflux…)

Kabrita Goat’s Milk Formula: Digests Similar to Breastmilk

Kabrita Goat’s Milk Formula has been shown to be easier to digest than cow’s milk formula.

If you keep striking out with the pre-thickened formulas, but aren’t yet ready to shell out hundreds for the fancy hypoallergenic formulas, why not give Kabrita Goat’s Milk Formula a try?

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.

Click here to learn more about what makes goat’s milk formula so much easier for babies to digest. Or, skip all that medical mumbo jumbo and use this special offer to try this amazing formula for yourself.

HiPP HA: An Organic Formula for Acid Reflux

American parents are falling in love with European formulas. Learn why.

HiPP Organic Hypoallergenic Formula is one of the most common formulas I get emails about. The difficulty with this formula is that it’s not FDA approved for sale, so the only way to get it is to purchase it here from Germany and have it shipped.

People LOVE these European baby formulas. Here’s a short list of why. (Click here for the long list.)

  • The milk comes from cows who eat grass raised on Demeter farms (who have a much higher organic standard than those on the US.)
  • The EU does not allow formula manufacturers to use certain ingredients (like corn syrup).

Yes, you’ll have to get used to the different packaging (boxes not cans), but fortunately the instructions also come in English!

Try a single box here, or save a bundle and have them shipped over in bulk. 

Are These Formulas for
Acid Reflux Hype? or Holy-Cow?

Call me nosey, but I’d love to hear whether or not one of these formulas for acid reflux like these helped your infant.

How quickly could you tell a difference?

 

We  honesty!  This post contains affiliate links that provide extra money for our mutual coffee habits addictions. Click here to learn more.

Have You Read These Yet?

We 
Citations

ScienceBasedMedicine.org
US National Library of Medicine

352 thoughts on “The 4 Best Magic Baby Formulas for Acid Reflux

  1. 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?

    1. 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!

  2. 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.

    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. 🙂

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

  4. I have a 7 week old that has acid reflux. We’re on Zantac. She’s fussy and spits up constantly. She is breast fed and I have tried everything with my diet. Wondering if I could mix breast milk with the powdered formula?

  5. Good day,

    I just would like to know:  our 3 month old have reflux and we currently give him NAN-AR plus his is getting 10mg of nexium each day. His nose sometimes sound blocked.
    Now we want to switch the formula milk to Isomil – do you think it is the right way to go?

    Thank you very much!

     

     

    1. Marie, I can’t give medical advice – that’s something you’ll want to discuss with your doctor. Isomil is a soy-based formula, so if you decide to make a switch, make sure you do it gradually, since it will take some time for his tummy to adjust to the new protein source. Here’s how to switch formulas slowly.

  6. Great link! Thank you so much Heather for taking the time to help my baby! I’ve found a great organic rice cereal, will definitely try it, hopefully it will work.

    Have a great day!

  7. Is there any organic formula that is A.R. or for spitting up? my bbay is currently on Hipp, but he’s been spitting up too much and I’d like to try something that might help him, but still been organic. thank you in advance!

    1. I haven’t found one yet (if anyone knows of one, please add your comment!). You could talk to your doctor about thickening an organic formula by hand. You can add a little bit of rice cereal, that will make it harder to spit up. Talk to your doctor about that, though, because you’ll want to make sure you get the amounts right. It has to be “Just right,” – not to thick, not to thin, etc.

    2. Thank you! I guess that adding rice cereal might be a good plan. I just have the feeling that our doctor would tell us to get a ready formula (as he already did even knowing that we use an organic formula). Finding a new pediatrician should be the goal now, the problem is that in the small country that we live this is quite an impossible mission.

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