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Best Formula for Reflux in Babies

Infant reflux occurs when a baby spits up and food returns from the baby's stomach. Reflux can occur in healthy infants several times per day. Rest assured, as long as your baby is healthy, content, and meeting all milestones, reflux is not a cause for concern. It affects many infants, especially those 3 months old or younger. In fact, it's more common than you might think. Studies have shown that approximately 50% of infants experience some degree of acid reflux. Dealing with acid reflux in babies can be challenging, but there are several strategies parents can employ to help manage the condition and provide relief for their little ones. In this article, we’ll highlight practical tips and strategies to help you navigate the complexities of acid reflux in babies. 

What is Infant Reflux?

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER), is a common digestive disorder characterized by regurgitating stomach acid and/or food into the esophagus. 

What is Infant Reflux

The primary symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest caused by stomach acid irritation of the esophageal lining. Other symptoms may include regurgitation of sour-tasting liquid, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, coughing, wheezing, and hoarseness.

In infants, acid reflux can manifest differently, often presenting as frequent spitting up or vomiting, irritability during or after feedings, arching of the back, difficulty feeding, and poor weight gain.

While occasional acid reflux is common and typically not a cause for concern, frequent or severe reflux can lead to complications such as esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus), esophageal strictures (narrowing of the esophagus), and respiratory problems.

Treatment for acid reflux depends on the severity and frequency of symptoms. Lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, elevating the head of the bed, and avoiding tight clothing, can often help alleviate symptoms. In more severe cases, medications such as antacids, H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed to reduce stomach acid production or strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter.

What causes Acid Reflux in newborns?

In the early stages of life, your baby's digestive system is still maturing, which plays a significant role in acid reflux. Fortunately, in most cases, reflux in infants is a normal part of their development and does not cause significant problems. Several factors can contribute to acid reflux in newborns:

  • Immature Digestive System: Newborns have immature digestive systems, including underdeveloped lower esophageal sphincters (LES), which may not fully close to prevent the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus.

  • Feeding Position: Feeding newborns in a lying-down position, especially with a bottle, can increase the likelihood of reflux as gravity does not assist in keeping stomach contents down.

  • Overfeeding: Overfeeding, whether through breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, can lead to excessive intake of milk, causing the stomach to become overly full and increasing the chances of reflux.

  • Type of Milk: Breastfed babies may experience reflux if the mother consumes certain foods or drinks that may irritate the baby's stomach or increase gas production. In formula-fed babies, switching formulas or using a formula that is not well-tolerated may contribute to reflux.

  • Positioning After Feeding: Placing a baby in a lying-down position immediately after feeding can increase the likelihood of reflux. Holding the baby upright for at least 20-30 minutes after feeding is recommended to allow gravity to help keep stomach contents down.

  • Pressure on the Abdomen: Tight clothing or pressure on the baby's abdomen, such as from tight diapers or being placed in car seats for extended periods, can increase abdominal pressure and contribute to reflux.

  • Laying Down Too Soon After Feeding: Putting a baby down to sleep too soon after feeding can increase the likelihood of reflux, as the baby's stomach is still full, and gravity is not assisting in keeping stomach contents down.

  • Premature Birth: Premature infants may be more prone to reflux due to their underdeveloped digestive systems and LES function.

  • Medical Conditions: In some cases, underlying medical conditions such as anatomical abnormalities, food allergies or intolerances, or gastrointestinal disorders may contribute to reflux in newborns.

Spit-up vs. Reflux

There are several differences between spit-up and reflux, and the terms are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings:

  1. Spit-Up: Spit-up is the spontaneous expulsion of small amounts of stomach contents through the mouth. It's a common occurrence in infants, especially during or after feeding. Spit-up in babies is usually effortless and occurs without any discomfort or distress. It's considered a normal part of infancy, and most babies outgrow it by the time they reach their first birthday.

  2. Reflux: Reflux, specifically gastroesophageal reflux (GER), refers to the passage of stomach contents back into the esophagus. This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscular ring at the bottom of the esophagus, relaxes inappropriately or is weak. Reflux can cause discomfort or pain, particularly when stomach acid irritates the sensitive lining of the esophagus. In babies, reflux can manifest as spitting up, irritability during or after feeding, arching of the back, difficulty feeding, and poor weight gain. GERD is the "chronic" or more serious version of GER


GER and GERD are both related to the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus, but they represent different levels of severity and frequency:

  1. GER (Gastroesophageal Reflux): GER refers to the normal and frequent passage of stomach contents, including acid, into the esophagus. It is common in people of all ages, including infants, and typically occurs intermittently without causing significant symptoms or complications. In infants, GER often manifests as spit-up or regurgitation, which is considered a normal part of development and usually resolves on its own as the infant grows.

  2. GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease): GERD, on the other hand, is a chronic and more severe form of reflux in which the reflux of stomach contents causes troublesome symptoms and complications. GERD requires medical evaluation and treatment to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and improve the quality of life for individuals affected by the condition. Treatment options for GERD may include lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, medications to reduce stomach acid production or strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter, and, in some cases, surgery. 

Symptoms of severe reflux

Although It’s rare for infants to have severe symptoms of acid reflux (GERD), the symptoms may include:

  • Frequent Heartburn: Persistent and intense burning sensation in the chest, often occurring after meals or when lying down.

  • Regurgitation: The sensation of stomach contents, including acid, moving up into the throat or mouth, sometimes leading to a sour or bitter taste.

  • Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia): Feeling as though food is stuck in the throat or chest or experiencing pain or discomfort while swallowing.

  • Chronic Cough: A persistent, dry cough unrelated to respiratory infections or other conditions, often worse at night or after meals.

  • Wheezing or Asthma-like Symptoms: Irritation of the airways caused by acid reflux may lead to wheezing, asthma exacerbations, or respiratory symptoms.

  • Disrupted Sleep: Nighttime reflux symptoms can disrupt sleep patterns.

  • Weight Loss or Poor Weight Gain: Reflux can interfere with feeding and digestion, leading to weight loss or poor weight gain in infants.

It's important to note that not all babies with severe reflux will experience all of these symptoms. If you suspect your little one may have GERD, it's crucial to consult your pediatrician for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Early intervention and management can help alleviate symptoms and prevent extra complications. 

Tips to Help Reflux

If you suspect your little one may have reflux, it's important to remember that each baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. While professional medical advice should be your primary source of guidance, there are some home remedies and lifestyle changes that can help with mild reflux symptoms:

  • Feed Smaller Amounts More Frequently: Offer smaller, more frequent feedings to prevent overfilling the stomach, which can contribute to reflux.

  • Keep Baby Upright During Feedings: Hold your baby in an upright position while feeding to minimize pressure on the abdomen and reduce the likelihood of reflux.

  • Burp Baby Frequently: Pause during feedings to burp your baby, which helps release trapped air and decrease the chances of reflux.

  • Hold Baby Upright After Feedings: Keep your baby in an upright position for at least 20-30 minutes after feeding to allow food to digest properly and minimize reflux.

  • Elevate the Head of the Crib: Place your baby's crib mattress at a slight incline by using a wedge or placing blocks under the head of the crib to help gravity keep stomach contents down during sleep.

  • Avoid Tight Clothing: Dress your baby in loose-fitting clothing to avoid putting pressure on the abdomen, which can worsen reflux symptoms.

  • Consider Thickened Feedings: Your pediatrician may suggest adding a small amount of rice cereal to breast milk or formula to help thicken feedings, making it harder for stomach contents to reflux.

  • Observe Feeding Position: Ensure proper positioning during breastfeeding to minimize air swallowing, which can exacerbate reflux.

  • Monitor for Triggers: Pay attention to potential triggers like certain foods or environmental factors that may worsen reflux symptoms, and try to avoid them when possible.

    If reflux symptoms persist or are severe, consult your pediatrician for further evaluation and guidance. They may recommend medications or other interventions to help manage your baby's reflux.

Best Formulas For Anti-Reflux

One effective treatment option is to switch to a formula that can help your baby avoid reflux. At Organic Formula Shop, we carry HiPP Anti-Reflux and BebeM, which are two great options from our Specialty Formula Range for managing infant acid reflux. HiPP Anti-Reflux Formula and our Bebe-m formulas are designed to help manage symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in babies. This formula is thicker in consistency than standard infant formulas, which can help reduce the occurrence of reflux episodes by making it more difficult for stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus. Use our handy Ingredients Comparison Chart to find the best option for your little one.

HiPP Anti-Relux Formula (All-Stages)

HiPP AR Anti-Reflux Milk Formula

HiPP AR is suitable from birth onwards for infants of all ages, including older babies who have begun eating solid foods. This gentle, nutritionally complete formula is made with a base of skimmed milk. It also contains whey, vegetable oils, lactose, and starch. It can be used as a complete supplement to breastfeeding or as an additive that enriches your baby's diet with essential nutrients. It contains prebiotics, fatty acids (DHA and ARA), and vitamins A, D, and C; it supports development, digestion, and a strong immune system. 

Parent review about Hipp Anti Reflux:
Changed My Life!

My baby had severe acid reflux, colic, and gas. I tried every specialty American formula. I spent hours researching how to help. His doctor prescribed him 2 different prescription meds all to no avail. 3 to 4 outfit changes a day from spit up, constant screaming crying, poop issues too. Vomiting and bloating you name it. I have to combo feed BM and formula because I don't produce enough milk and it was terrible. I finally found this formula, and learned about European regulations on formula vs America and I am so glad I found it. Within 24 hours my baby had normal bowel movements. No more spit-up or vomiting and the gas was greatly reduced. He loves the taste, its thick and keeps him full longer. I really can't believe he rarely spits up at all anymore. This truly did change both our lives. He is so happy, smiles, giggles, interacts. And most importantly he feels better.

 Bebe-M Organic Formula

Bébé M Organic VEGAN Rice Anti-Reflux

BebeM Stage 1: for babies aged 0 - 6 months of age
BebeM Stage 2: for babies aged 6 - 10 months of age (Follow On formula)
BebeM Stage 3: for toddlers aged 10+ months and up

Bebe-M is a dairy-free vegan (plant-based) formula range created with a unique base of 100% organic rice protein hydrolysate. The formula is thickened with carob gum and corn starch to help keep stomach contents in and infant reflux at bay. Bebe M formulas are developed to provide all the vital nutrients that growing newborns require to thrive since they believe every baby deserves the best start in life. 

Parent Review about BebeM:
So Happy I Found You!

My daughter was taking another brand offered on your site up until she turned about 4 months. Once the seasons changed, the brand changed their formula, stating that the rice grows differently in the colder months, and they always have to make this change. It ended up upsetting my baby's stomach leaving her with diarrhea and dehydrated, I was afraid and frantic because I needed a replacement quick! Because we are plantbased vegans, my options were limited, a friend introduced me to this brand, and it's been 2 months and it's been perfect! It does require a good amount of mixing (we put it in the blender), but she transitioned to it without any issues. I love this brand and am so grateful for it! Also, your shipping is so fast! I wish the cans had more in them, but that's not the websites fault, it's just how the company makes their formula, I highly recommend this! 

Any Formula-related questions?

Organic Formula Shop offers safe European formulas that will give you peace of mind and comfort. It’s key to know that you are giving your baby nutrition that mimics breast milk as closely as possible and is made with premium organic ingredients. Contact our dedicated customer support team at Organic Formula Shop for expert advice and guidance tailored to your baby's needs. They have earned hundreds of 5-star reviews from our customers, helping you to provide the best nutrition for your little one. Contact us here or shoot us an email at  

Please note: every baby and situation is different, so we always advise you to talk to your pediatrician first and see how these guidelines and tips can help you. This guide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.