There are two types of parents desperately searching the Internet right now, looking for a formula 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 formulas 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. Here are a few of the best-performing baby probiotics available.
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:
- Throw a tablespoon of rice cereal into a warm bottle of formula.
- Shake vigorously.
BAD IDEA. Here’s why:
- 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.)
- 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!
- 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.
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
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
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!
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?
- Everything a New Mama Warrior Needs To Know About Baby Care
- 3 Reasons Why American Parents are Loving European Baby Formulas
- Does Your Baby Need a Hypoallergenic Formula?
- What’s the Best Baby Bottle? Here Are Some Olympic Winners You Should Try
- How to Choose the Best Baby Formula for Your Superbaby
We ♥ Citations
Separating Fact from Fiction in Pediatric Medicine: Infant GERD. ScienceBasedMedicine.org
Formula Feeding and Reflux: Regurgitating the Basics. FearlessFormulaFeeder.com
Specialty Baby Formula. BabyFormulaExpert.com
GERD in the Pediatric Patient: Management Considerations. US National Library of Medicine
Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.