Treatments and advice for reflux in babies

Reflux doesn't usually require treatment if your baby is putting on weight and seems otherwise well.

The following treatments and advice may beoffered if your baby appears to be in distress or their reflux has a specific, identified cause.

Feeding advice

Your midwife or health visitor may want to check how you feed your baby and suggest some changes to help with their reflux.

These changes might include:

  • burping your baby regularly throughout feeding
  • giving your baby smaller but more frequent feeds
  • holding yourbaby upright for a period of time after feeding
  • raising the head end of your child's cot try using books under the legs, or place a pillow under the head end of the mattress; but make surethe cot isstable, don't put any loosepillows inside the cot, and never put your babyto sleepon their front or side
  • using thicker milk formulas that are less likely to be brought back up these are available to buy without a prescription, but only try them if advised toby a healthcare professional

If yourdoctor thinks your baby could have acows' milk allergy, they may suggest trying special formula milk that doesn't contain cows' milk.

Read moregeneral breastfeeding advice and bottle feeding advice .


Babies with reflux don't usually need to take any medication, but sometimes the following medicines may be offered if your doctor feels the problem is severe:

  • alginates these form a protective barrier over stomach contents, stoppingthem travelling up and irritating the oesophagus
  • proton pump inhibitors(PPIs) andH2-receptor antagonists these reduce the level of acid in the stomach, so the stomach contents don't irritate the oesophagus as much

Alginates may be used if changing the way you feed your baby doesn't help. PPIs andH2-receptor antagonists may berecommended if your baby appears to be in discomfort or is refusing feeds.


In a very small number of babies most often, babies with serious underlying conditions such as cerebral palsy an operation may be needed to treat GORD by tightening the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus.

Surgery may also be neededif there's a blockage or narrowing in the oesophagus, stomach or small intestine.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018