Reflux, or gastric reflux, occurs when the contents of your stomach travel backwards and upwards into your gullet and sometimes, the mouth.
This is quite commonly seen in the first few months of a child’s life, and appears to affect all babies to some degree or another. For many it does not pose a problem, but for others it can make feeding time a bit of a nightmare.
The reason this condition is so common in babies is that the sphincter or muscular valve lying between the stomach and the oesophagus does not fully develop until a few months into a child’s life. The purpose of this valve is to allow food to travel in one direction – down into the stomach – preventing stomach contents escaping back into the mouth.
Babies will grow out of reflux within a few months especially as they start to sit up. Whilst most will only bring up small amounts of milk, some are more severely affected and when this happens, reflux can cause difficulty with feeding and give rise to symptoms such as coughs.
If you are worried about your baby, speak urgently to your doctor or midwife.