If your little one has been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you’re likely sighing a breath of relief. Your baby’s pain, inconsolable crying, and excessive spitting up was exhausting your family. You finally have some answers.
While GERD is highly manageable, keeping the symptoms in check gets tricky as your baby grows.
Guidelines around caring for an infant with GERD are relatively straightforward. Although, as your baby grows, you may find things aren’t so straightforward. Before you know it your baby will be switching from being solely bottle fed to eating solids.
This transition can be tricky for new parents and especially tricky if you’re working to manage your child’s GERD symptoms. If you find yourself in this grey area, rest assured. We’ve compiled some tips on what constitutes GERD, top baby foods to avoid with GERD, and pointers for feeding an older baby (over six months) with GERD.
What is GERD?
Simply put, GERD is frequent spitting up which occurs in conjunction with discomfort, difficulty feeding, and typically leads to weight loss. These babies often cry inconsolably which becomes emotionally taxing for new parents.
GERD needs to be diagnosed by a doctor and can be managed with feeding changes, medication, or a combination of the two.
Baby Foods to Avoid with GERD
Unfortunately, there’s no standard list of baby foods to avoid for infants with GERD. This is due to the fact that individuals with GERD react quite differently to the same foods.
While GERD is unique to each individual, here are the five top foods that are often troublesome for babies with GERD:
- Fruits and fruit juices with high acidity, including apples, oranges, and other citrus.
- Vegetables that commonly produce excess gas including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and corn.
- Tomatoes and tomato products, which commonly aggravate reflux.
- Dairy products, including yogurt and cheeses.
- High fat foods (for the older baby), such as pizza, greasy cuts of meat, and french fries.
While some of these aren’t items you’ll be introducing as baby’s first solid food, you’ll be surprised how quickly your little one transitions to table food. Preparing ahead to steer clear of these foods will help avoid increased reflux.
Tips for Feeding a Baby with GERD
Introducing solid foods to a baby with GERD will take trial and error.
A good rule of thumb when introducing solid foods (to any baby) is to follow the four day rule. Introduce each new food for four days before moving onto a different food. This gives baby’s body an opportunity to show signs of intolerance.
While most experts recommend beginning with single-grain baby cereals, some pediatricians suggest these may cause excess gas. Plan to chat at your baby’s four month checkup about when to begin solids and what would be best to try. Some solid foods that are good for babies with GERD include pear and avocado.
You may find that, for a baby with GERD, it’s easier to make baby food instead of purchasing it. Making homemade stage 1, stage 2, or stage 3 baby foods allow you to control exactly what foods go into your purees. This means you can tailor them specifically to your child’s dietary needs.
As with most of parenting, learning how to manage your child’s GERD will take time. Be patient with yourself as you learn the best way to care for your new little one.
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