1. home
  2. baby care
  3. Expert Panel
  4. Diagnosed with GERD when he was a week old
Avatar Member
Diagnosed with GERD when he was a week old

Hi Glenda,
My son is 7 weeks old and was diagnosed with GERD when he was a week old. The doctor will not give him any meds because he says that as long as my son is gaining weight there is no need for meds.

Well after each feeding, he may either vomit large amounts of milk or just have small spit ups. Normally after feeding, I will sit up son up for a few minutes and then try to burp him either over my shoulder or with him sitting on my lap. There would be times where he would just vomit even before he has burped, or he will have a big burp and then afterwards have a big spit up. After all that, he will cry. I feel so sad when I see this happen because I worry that he is not getting enough to eat since he vomits so much of it and helpless that I can`t help ease his pain when he vomits. Lately, he has not been sleeping well. He only sleeps for an hour and then gets up crying either because he vomited or his reflux is making him uncomfortable. Because of this, my son seems irritated and I am getting irritated myself.
I wanted to know what suggestions you can provide me on helping him feel more comfortable so that he can sleep better and also what I can do to help ease his pain when he vomits?

Answer: Hi, Thank you for contacting our organisation. I am sorry that things are so tough at the moment, and that your son is so uncomfortable. It sounds like your doctor doesn’t understand that (does he understand it is his distress and not the vomiting that is the problem?) so perhaps it would help if you wrote down everything that was happening in a diary to show your doctor? (include feeds, how often and how long they take, any problems feeding, his sleeps, time taken to settle and how long he sleeps, any crying or irritability, any reflux that you notice; if he vomits and then cries, write that down- anything at all that can give your doctor an idea of what is going on). Other than that, you could perhaps take your partner or friend who has seen what is going on, and can back you up. Sometimes that helps too. I can understand that your doctor doesn’t think medications are necessary because of his vomiting, especially as his weight is okay, but if he/she could perhaps see how uncomfortable he was, and how disturbed his sleeps are, he may re think the medication option (and some bubs, even though they have no weight issues, do need medication to help control their reflux). Please trust your instincts on that, and keep pursuing it if whatever you try, your son remains distressed. There may be some things you can do that will help though, such as:
  • Keeping him upright for 20 – 30 minutes following a feed, and as much as possible throughout the day.
  • Try to keep his body straight during the feed (and at other times) as much as possible, and try to avoid him slumping as that can put pressure on his tummy and cause pain. Take care when you are burping him on your lap, that he doesn’t slump- if he is, then perhaps over your shoulder will work better.
  • Try burping him more often throughout the feed (unless it distresses him and disrupts the feed)
  • Try offering slightly smaller amounts slightly more often
  • Consider offering him a dummy to suck on as that can be very soothing to a refluxer (if he will take it- some won’t)
  • Elevate the head of his bed and change table
  • When you change his nappy (if possible), do it before a feed rather than after (on an empty tummy), and turn his legs to the side rather than lifting them above his stomach.
  • Avoid any tight nappies or elastic waistbands as that puts pressure on their tummy
A recent medical article said that approx 50% of babies with reflux are allergic to cow’s milk protein, so that may be something else you could consider. You don’t mention if you are breast or bottle feeding, but if breast feeding, it may be worth doing a trial to avoid all traces of cow’s milk for a week or so to see if that makes any difference to him. If it does help, then it is important to seek medical advice – getting the diet right, especially if you are breastfeeding, is essential and you may need to follow up with a dietitian. If you are bottle feeding, then it may be worth talking to your doctor about trying a hypoallergenic formula (they are available on prescription) to see if that helps at all. Taking cows milk (and sometimes soy and other foods) out of the bubs diet, can sometimes make a huge difference (of course though only if food sensitivities are an issue) I hope that gives you some ideas to try. If you find, no matter what you do, bub is still very uncomfortable, please let your doctor know. Glenda
Answered: 22 Feb 2008