Oh, how exciting! The time has come to introduce
solid foods to your baby! But, wait a moment —your baby has
reflux. The text books don’t really talk about how solid foods can
react with some babies who have reflux, so that really isn‘t a
valid option to seek information. In my opinion, there is no
proven method to introducing solid foods with certainty that all
will go smoothly. It can be a slow, tedious process that one must
take on diligently and proceed with patience.
If your doctor has suggested the introduction of solid foods in
the way of cereal in your baby’s bottle, be aware of possible side
effects. Oftentimes, reflux babies are younger than their
non-reflux peers when the doctor suggests adding cereal to the
bottle or feeding cereal from a spoon. Always call your doctor
immediately if you suspect an allergic or any other serious
Maybe cereal in the bottle is the answer for your baby to help
weigh down your baby‘s formula or breast milk to help the reflux,
but keep in mind that it may not be the right answer. If it isn’t
the answer, be sure to contact your doctor to let him/her know and
together you can discuss the next move in your reflux game plan.
Listed below are some side effects I have personally seen or heard
about as they relate to reflux:
* Rice may cause gas, constipation and cramping. Many refluxers
battle constipation or slower-moving stools already, and the rice
can really impact this situation and make the reflux worse.
* Oatmeal is usually next in line for cereal introduction and may
work well with some refluxers or cause loose stooling or
* While Barley is generally the third in line, it may cause loose
stools, or in our situation it caused eczema.
Each baby reacts differently, and of course, there may be a host
of allergic/intolerant reactions that can be readily resourced
online. This article speaks more of the food introduction
progression as it relates to reflux and what works best.
However, keep in mind that some babies who are truly
allergic/intolerant to certain foods can have major reflux flares
from foods and your doctor should be contacted.
WHAT WORKS FOR SOME DOESN’T WORK FOR ALL
Traditionally, first solid-food introductions for non-refluxers
are veggie based versus fruit based foods. However, I have seen
many reflux babies who are already taking their medicine with
apples or pears move forward with fruits as a natural progression.
Veggies may be too harsh to tolerate, while fruits are more easily
tolerated in some refluxers.
However, veggies versus fruits is a double-edged sword because
while many veggies can be harsh (hard to digest), many of the
fruits can cause awful reflux acid flare (I‘ve seen many who
cannot tolerate peaches for instance). On the other hand, many who
cannot tolerate apples do well with pears. Of interest to note in
my varied experience, is that Puree style versus Stage 1 and
higher sometimes work better for refluxers. My son couldn’t
tolerate anything higher than pureed pears for many months.
When it comes time to introducing solid foods, discuss with your
doctor what is nutrionally suited for the well-being of your baby.
Keep in mind the reflux issues when you discuss solid food
Experience has shown me that sweet potatoes work wonders for some,
but for most are not well-tolerated. Bulky foods oftentimes need
to be watered down with formula or breast milk to a very thin
texture. Carrots work for some but not for all. Oftentimes “bulky”
first foods are hard to handle for a reflux baby’s digestive
It can be very tedious to try and determine which solid food
agrees with your baby and ascertain which ones, if any, disagree.
To help minimize confusion and pinpoint a possible offending food,
take your time and spread out introductions no shorter than every
3 days. Also a good idea is to keep a food diary. It makes it
easier to pinpoint if something has triggered a reflux flare.
Only you and your doctor can determine what a reflux flare may be
coming from -- be it illness, a particular solid food, etc..
Perhaps a Pediatric Gastroenterologist or an Allergist may warrant
a consultation. There are many medical reasons why certain foods
can cause a reflux flare and your doctor can best guide you to
finding the answer.
My son had severe reflux for the first 2-3 years of his life. He
was unable to tolerate any solid foods for the first 20 months as
we continuously worked closely with his Ped GI and a Pediatric GI
Nutritionist. It was determined in my son’s case that he had an
immature GI tract … once it had reached a more mature level, he
was finally able to tolerate solid foods.
He tested negative to all allergies at 8 months of age, yet
displayed delayed reactions to certain foods he ingested (eczema,
reflux flare, bad gas and cramping, colic for hours, etc.). All he
could handle was Alimentum and pureed pears in the way of solids
for 20 long months. For us, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and
apples were an awful nightmare with reflux flare, cramping,
crying, and gas pains that lasted for hours.
My son is now 6 yrs old and has outgrown almost all his reflux
issues. He can eat all foods with success and is a thriving boy
with no known allergies.
Disclaimer: I am a mother who has experienced a
difficult path to success in introducing solid foods to my son
when he was an infant. I am not a medical professional. The
information I speak about in this article is based solely on my
opinions and personal experience dealing with a child who had
severe reflux for 3 yrs. This article should not replace your
doctor’s care and advice. Your medical concerns should be approved
by your Pediatrician. Anything written herein, should not replace
your physician’s medical advice.