What is reflux?

Reflux (or GER) is a condition in which contents from the stomach moves into the esophagus (swallowing tube). Stomach contents can also move into the mouth and nose.

How common is reflux?

In infants, reflux is normal and often frequent. This is because the connection between the esophagus and stomach opens on its own several times a day. If the stomach has food or liquid in it at that time, it will most likely come up into the esophagus, mouth or nose. Most cases of reflux stop on their own over time between 6-12 months of age.

What are the symptoms of reflux?

For the most part, reflux affects all infants differently. Some infants have very few symptoms. Others have symptoms after every feed.

In infants, common symptoms of reflux include:

  • Spitting up through the mouth or nose
  • “Wet burps” or frequent hiccups
  • Pulling away from feeds at times
  • Fussiness around feeding

When should I see a doctor about my infant's reflux?

Your infant should see a doctor if they:

  • Seem uncomfortable during reflux episodes
  • Are not feeding well or are losing weight
  • If they have coughing or wheezing
  • If the spit-up appears green or bloody

Rev. 3/2021. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.