Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) is a normal physiological process that happens after feeding in healthy infants, children and young people. When GOR does not respond to simple treatment, is associated with other symptoms or is prolonged it is referred to as Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). It is more common in premature infants, children with neuro-disabilities, obesity and young teens.
At least 40% of infants effortlessly regurgitate after feeding; this resolves spontaneously in the vast majority of infants around their first birthday. During exclusive milk feeding, it may be helpful to feed smaller volumes more frequently or to use a thickened feed under guidance from your GP or registered dietitian. Later on, it is more common for those infants to take longer to accept solids and a variety of textures and they may become aversive to feeding due to discomfort or pain. Some older infants become highly selective about texture and which foods they will eat; coinciding also with the neo-phobic phase which peaks around 18 months of age.
Conditions related to GOR
Related conditions include cow’s milk allergy, iron deficiency anaemia, extreme food refusal and growth faltering. Children and teens with atopic conditions such as eczema or asthma may have cow’s milk sensitivity and can respond well to a cow’s milk exclusion with resulting improvement in symptoms of GORD.
For infants children with prolonged symptoms and feeding difficulties, dietary assessment can be helpful in determining a dietary management plan which is can helpful for the child and family.