Tips to Relieve Reflux in Babies | News | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Loyola primary care physician talks about reflux in babies

MAYWOOD, Ill. – (February 13, 2015) A baby's feeding habits are a common source of questions for pediatricians. Though every baby will spit up, some do it considerably more than others, which can cause parents to think something might be wrong.

"One of my most important jobs as a pediatrician is to be an advocate for parents. Every child is different and it’s important for parents and physicians to be able to discuss concerns. There really are no silly questions," said Josephine Dlugopolski-Gach, MD, pediatrician at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "When it comes to spit-up I am an expert on this topic since all three of my children had reflux and spit up after just about every feeding. I had to do lots of laundry but they eventually grew out of it," she said.

Babies are rapidly changing and growing. Like everything else, baby's stomach is small and can tolerate only small amounts of food. As the baby gets bigger so will his or her stomach and spitting up will become less common. 

Also, mechanisms throughout their bodies are developing including the esophageal sphincter, the flap that keeps stomach acid from going into the esophagus. This immature function is completely normal and causes the milk to come back up. 

"Babies typically outgrow spitting up by 6 months. This is when the stomach muscles and the flap that keeps food in the stomach matures. Also, when babies start eating more solid foods and sitting up, spit-up become less frequent," said Dlugopolski. "There are medications to help reduce the discomfort of frequent spitting up but they usually do not help with how often the child is spitting up. Your pediatrician can help decide if the medication is right for your child."

Dlugoposki gives some tips to help ease spit-up after a feeding.


  • Burp the baby after every 1-2 ounces or 5-10 minutes of breastfeeding
  • Hold the baby upright for several minutes after feeding
  • Put the baby in a car seat or swing for 30 minutes after feeding


Though spit-up is normal for babies it also can be a warning sign of a bigger problem. Here is what to look for:


  • Poor weight gain
  • Vomiting bile (green) or blood
  • Crying all the time and inconsolable
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased amount of urine
  • Projectile vomiting


About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.