Acid reflux happens when your baby’s esophageal sphincter relaxes more often, leading to vomiting or regurgitation of milk or food. Infant reflux may or may not be normal, depending on your child’s other symptoms. Babies should be evaluated first by a doctor before starting any treatment for reflux. Nexium is a brand name for esomeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor that works by decreasing the amount of acid produced in your baby’s stomach. Esomeprazole works within 90 minutes of intake, but successful treatment for infant reflux usually takes up to 2 weeks with esomeprazole.
Are you a new mom or dad worried about giving your child Nexium for his spitting episodes?
Let’s talk about infant reflux and using Nexium for your baby.
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What is acid reflux?
Before we start talking about Nexium, it’s better to understand why a baby might need to take it in the first place.
The most common reason for giving Nexium to infants is acid reflux. It all starts with the esophagus, which is the long muscular passageway of food between the mouth and the stomach.
Right before it connects to the stomach, the esophagus has a sphincter that tightens the passageway, preventing food and stomach acids from regurgitating back upwards.
In infant reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER) or heartburn or spitting up, the esophageal sphincter relaxes on its own, causing some contents of the stomach to pass back to the mouth, leading to regurgitation or vomiting.
Is it normal for babies to have infant reflux?
It may be surprising to some parents, but it is quite normal for your little one to regurgitate some milk every now and then.
Around 50% of otherwise healthy babies from 0-3 months of age experience regurgitation.
It’s most commonly seen in babies 2 months of age, and it gradually lessens as they grow older. Fortunately, infant reflux goes away between 12-18 months old for most kids.
GER usually doesn’t cause symptoms other than regurgitation.
Despite these occasional vomiting episodes, babies don’t look distressed, can gain enough weight, and do not appear sick — but gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a different case.
In GERD, affected babies look uncomfortable, irritable, don’t gain enough weight for their age, and keep on vomiting.
How is reflux treated?
To be safe, it’s always best to have your child checked by a pediatrician. They will ask about what symptoms your baby may be experiencing and a physical examination.
Your baby may be initially treated with some lifestyle changes. If the reflux persists, your child may need to undergo some laboratory tests and started on medications.
Examples of these include antacids, acid blockers, and motility agents.
Treating a child for infant reflux depends on a case-per-case basis, so it’s always best to see a doctor first.
There are also massages you can do at home to help with the treatment of infant reflux.
What is Nexium?
Many babies are treated for GER and GERD with Nexium — but what is it exactly?
Nexium is one popular brand of esomeprazole, a type of antacid under the “proton pump inhibitor” class of medications.
Esomeprazole helps decrease the amount of stomach acid that is produced, helping to lessen the symptoms of heartburn.
How long does it take for Nexium to work?
Nexium is one of the most common medicines prescribed to GERD patients of all ages, including babies.
It helps lessen regurgitation, vomiting and irritability the most out of all GERD symptoms. Your doctor will determine the dose that your child will need, and how long the medicine should be given.
When giving Nexium for the first time, you can expect the medicine’s effects to start kicking in one and a half hours (90 minutes) from when it’s been given.
On average, it takes about two weeks for esomeprazole to show a significant improvement in your child’s symptoms.
To be safe, here are some side effects that you should watch out for when your baby is taking Nexium (esomeprazole):
- Increased gas
- Increased fussiness or irritability
What are some ways to help decrease infant reflux symptoms?
GER symptoms can be decreased or relieved by the following:
– Feeding your baby in an upright position
– Avoid lying flat after feeding
– Make sure to burp your baby after every feed
– Change the feeding schedule by increasing the number of feeds, but decreasing the amount of milk for every feed
What are some symptoms of infant reflux that would need a visit to the doctor?
These are some signs and symptoms that you should watch out for:
– No weight gain
– Refusal to feed
– Always irritable after feeding
– Difficulty breathing
– Frequent coughing episodes
– Vomiting or regurgitating blood
– Vomiting or regurgitating yellow or greenish fluid
– Blood in bowel movements or stools
Acid reflux, or GER, happens when your baby’s esophageal sphincter relaxes more often than usual, causing milk to regurgitate back up through the mouth and outwards via vomiting.
Infant reflux may normally be seen in infants and may not need specific medical treatment.
Still, babies who have other symptoms related to vomiting should be seen by a healthcare provider, who will determine if they need any medical treatment.
In particular, Nexium is a brand name for esomeprazole, a type of antacid that reduces the amount of stomach acid.
While its effects work within 90 minutes, GERD will usually need 2 weeks of treatment with Nexium.