11 Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux in Babies
Every article that we publish, confirms to stringent guidelines & involves several levels of reviews, both from our Editorial team & Experts. We welcome your suggestions in making this platform more useful for all our users. Write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As parents, we are used to babies throwing up, spitting, and coughing. Acid reflux may also look strangely similar, but usually, your baby will look troubled or may even end up crying. Most babies have this occasionally, but if your baby is having acid reflux episodes more often, then there is a problem that needs addressing. While it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment, there are some natural remedies for acid reflux in babies that can help alleviate the discomfort associated with acid reflux in babies. In this article, we’ll explore safe and natural ways to treat your baby’s acid reflux episodes.
How to Treat Baby Acid Reflux Naturally?
Here are some natural ways to treat acid reflux in your little one.
1. Cumin Seeds
The seeds of cumin are known to stimulate the process of digestion, thus bringing a reduction in the chances of acidity and the formation of gas. Babies above 6 months of age can be given cumin seed water orally only, and for babies below 6 months of age, the mother can take it. Boiling a few spoons of cumin seeds with water and straining them gives a solution that can be consumed by the baby. A few spoons of this water given every day can bring relief from acid reflux.
2. Castor Oil
The constituents of the oil contain detoxing abilities, which can help to directly flush out any items in the baby’s body that might be causing trouble. Take a cloth and dip it in castor oil. Put the cloth on the baby’s tummy and wrap it in plastic so that the oil does not drip elsewhere. Cover this with cloth and let the cloth stay up to an hour. Later, give your baby a nice warm bath, and the relief he gets will be supported.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil consists of anti-inflammatory constituents. This directly affects the irritation that causes acid reflux in the child. Furthermore, the oil is known to lubricate the digestive system, making it function at a higher efficiency. The oil also contains lauric acid. This is an antimicrobial fatty acid that helps in boosting the immunity in newborns. A spoonful of extra virgin coconut oil with hot water should be given to your baby thrice a day before feeding him.
It is important to consult a paediatrician before using coconut oil for babies orally below the age of 6 months, as the research on the efficacy of coconut oil in babies is still underway.
Peppermint is available in the form of an oil which is a potent cure for acid reflux. Peppermint in itself contains quite a few soothing properties that provide relief from any spasms one might be suffering from. Peppermint oil is also known to provide relief in indigestion and inflammation, which also acts in reducing acid reflux.
It can be used on the baby by mixing a few drops of peppermint oil in a small spoon of olive oil. This mixture can then be rubbed on the baby’s tummy to provide relief from the reflux. This should be done twice a day. Mothers can talk to their doctor if they can consume peppermint capsules or even make peppermint tea and consume it twice or thrice a day.
5. Probiotics for Babies
The reason for acid reflux could also be the absence of good bacteria in the gut, which results in a comparatively larger amount of bad bacteria that cause digestive issues and so on. The presence of good bacteria helps maintain a balance that fights off the bad bacteria and keeps the gut healthy. If your doctor agrees with this solution, you can administer probiotics to your baby. These come in the form of powders that can be given to your baby with the water. The powder can also be mixed with breastmilk in a bottle and given to the baby. If your baby is purely breastfeeding directly, then the powder can be applied around your nipple prior to the feeding so that it is sucked by the baby.
6. Motion Exercises
Most babies lie down in their cribs without any motion or exercise. This could also result in improper digestion or acid reflux. A small amount of motion-oriented exercises can help stimulate the digestive process and also take care of any gas or bloating inside the stomach. These, consequently, reduce the chances of acid reflux from taking place. The best way is to let your child lie down flat and move his legs as if he were riding a bicycle. Undertaking this exercise for a few minutes every day will be fun for the baby as well as assist digestion. Do not do this right after feeding or at least half an hour prior to feeding the baby. A 2014 research published in the journal “Biological Research for Nursing” found that massage was effective in alleviating symptoms in infants who were experiencing discomfort due to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Chamomile tea is a well-known remedy for adults in taking care of the stomach as well as getting a good night’s sleep. For acid reflux in babies, chamomile is also known to work wonders. The chamomile flower contains constituents that have properties that reduce spasms in the body as well as are light sedatives. This, in combination, provides relief from acid reflux and allows the body to rest. Boiling a few flowers with water and straining them gives a solution whose few spoons can be given to a baby above 6 months every day.
Please Note: Chamomile tea should not be given to babies below the age of 6 months. For babies above 6 months of age, you can give a few teaspoons only. Before introducing chamomile tea to your little one, we recommend consulting your paediatrician first.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
This is yet another way that works on the principles of science and sets the pH value inside the stomach to a normal state. Once the acid levels are balanced, the acid reflux reduces, and your baby will stop feeling any discomfort. Mixing a tiny amount of this raw unfiltered vinegar with warm water and giving only a few teaspoons of this mixture to your child may be beneficial. However, it is important to learn that there is not much evidence or research study that supports this statement. Anything orally apart from mother’s milk cannot be given to babies below 6 months of age in order to safeguard their health.
9. Feeding and Sleeping Practices
By making small changes in the position of sleep and feeding, chances of acid reflux can be highly reduced. It is good to ensure that the child is always upright while feeding is on (applicable for babies above 5 to 6 months when feeding weaning foods). While sleeping, if acid reflux persists, try to provide an elevation of around 30 degrees for the upper part of the baby. This ensures that the food stays in the stomach and prevents the baby from throwing up.
10. Upright Holding for 20-30 Minutes
Holding the baby upright for about 15-30 minutes after feeding can do great wonders in reducing the likelihood of acid reflux in babies. You can hold the baby in an upright position and gently walk around the house or rock in a comfy chair along with your baby. Remember not to rock or jostle your little one too hard while the food is settling.
11. Rice Cereral in Formula
A 2017 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews revealed that when feed thickeners were given to term babies with Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER), there was a significant reduction in the number of daily reflux episodes. In fact, babies with GER were 2.5 times more likely to experience a noticeable improvement in their reflux symptoms when feed thickeners were incorporated into their feeding regimen. The incorporation of thickening agents, such as adding 1 tablespoon of rice cereal per ounce of formula, has been observed to diminish visible regurgitation and the height of oesophagal regurgitation. However, it does not result in a reduction in the reflux index. One side effect is that the use if rice cereal in formula may cause excessive weight gain.
Acid reflux rarely gets out of hand for babies and can be easily controlled. With the above-mentioned home remedies for reflux in babies, you can take care in ensuring that reflux is prevented altogether and your baby gets quick relief in case it has affected them.
1. Baird. D. C, Harker. D. J, Karmes. A. S; Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux in Infants and Children; American Family Physician; https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2015/1015/p705.html; October 2015
2. Rosen. R, Vandenplas. Y, Singendonk. M, et al.; Pediatric Gastroesophageal Reflux Clinical Practice Guidelines: Joint Recommendations of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition; J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr.; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29470322/; March 2018
3. Infant reflux; Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infant-acid-reflux/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351412
4. Kwok. T. C, Ojha. S, Dorling. J; Feed thickener for infants up to six months of age with gastro‐oesophageal reflux; Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003211.pub2/full; December 2017
5. Neu. M, Pan. Z, Workman. R, Marcheggiani-Howard. C, et al.; Benefits of massage therapy for infants with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease; Biol Res Nurs.; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24379449/; October 2014
6. Kaltenbach. T, Crockett. S, Gerson. L. B; Are Lifestyle Measures Effective in Patients With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? An Evidence-Based Approach; JAMA Internal Medicine; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/410292; May 2006
7. Horvath. A, Dziechciarz. P, Szajewska. H; The effect of thickened-feed interventions on gastroesophageal reflux in infants: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials; Pediatrics.; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19001038/; December 2008