There are many acid reflux alternative treatment options. We've put together this resource of many alternatives because knowledge is key to making the right decision for your baby's acid reflux treatment. Every baby is different and we've said this many, many times. If you find something that works, stick with it!
Of course, the best way to determine what works best is to connect with moms that have experience with treating baby reflux first hand in our Facebook group.
Most reflux treatment medications work by either neutralizing stomach acid or by preventing the production of acid altogether. Some other options are the use of probiotics which support digestive health. We've even heard of success with chiropractic adjustments for your baby.
Here on the Acid Reflux Alternative Treatment page you can read an outline for each of your options and, if you’d like to read more detailed descriptions, we’ve provided a link to an alternate page if more information was available to us. This page will include more expansive information and suggested or common uses along with dosing recommendations suggested by the product sponsor or manufacturer, if available.
Most importantly we
describe what NOT to do (contraindications) or what combination of
treatments to avoid in addition to the foods to stay away from if you do
decide to choose one of the acid reflux alternative treatments below.
The infant acid reflux alternative treatments listed here are in alphabetical order. You’ll also see notations in parentheses such as (Natural Approach) when indicated.
It is important that you review and discuss all infant acid reflux treatment intentions with your doctor and we encourage you to refer anybody in your care provider team to read this website and/or contact us directly.
Antacids are chemical compounds that are able to raise the stomachs pH to above 3.5 pH in approximately 10 minutes. Antacids are commonly comprised of the following ingredients:
Antacids neutralize gastric acid. Gastric acid is hydrochloric acid or HCI and it consists of hydrogen and chloride ions. It is the hydrogen ions that give acid it's caustic and damaging properties. Antacids are able to attract and hold onto the hydrogen ions. Grabbing up the hydrogen that makes the pH of the stomach less acidic.
Because antacids reduce excess acidity, they alleviate symptoms of heartburn and help allow the natural healing process to take place in any damaged areas. Many serve as a protective coating against further damage. However, antacids are a short term solution because they do not maintain a reduced level of acidity in the stomach. Therefore, if your baby is having a mild or sporadic reflux events antacids could be a good resource for you.
Also known as antacids. Using buffers is the simplest acid reflux alternative treatment and many families and medical care providers are familiar with buffers. They contribute calcium and magnesium to the body which is beneficial especially when using PPIs which, have shown to deplete or reduce the absorption of these important elements.
The use of Erythromycin for infant acid reflux. Tolerance and what happens in a placebo test will SURPRISE you! Read this important information about why it isn't the best treatment option for your baby's reflux.
Occasionally we will get a parent in our Facebook support group requesting information about the efficacy and effects of this drug, which has been prescribed for the use in treating infant GERD. The theory behind its use is it stimulates the stomach to empty. It stimulates a motility receptor (called Motilin).
Gas Drops are used to relieve symptoms of extra gas caused by air swallowing or gas associated with the consumption of certain foods such as baby formula. Gas drops also help break up gas bubbles in the digestive system, mainly the stomach.
The generic name of the active ingredient in gas drops is SIMETHICONE (sye-meth-i-kone). Some brand names include:
WebMD stated that there are little to no side effects with using gas drops.
According to Wikipedia, gripe water is a home remedy for infants with colic, gastrointestinal discomfort, teething pain, infant acid reflux and other stomach ailments.
Although ingredients do vary from each manufacturer, ingredients include:
Grip Water is administered with an eye dropper in liquid form. There no "clinical" evidence of the effectiveness of gripe water however, there is also no known negative, mild or serious, side effects either. Recommended by many pediatricians and alternative health care practitioners as a naturopathic treatment option and is regulated by the FDA. Discovered in England in the 1800's it has been used as a home remedy with confidence for over a century.
To name a few commonly known versions:
H2 blockers block the messengers that tell the stomach to begin production of acid. Acid is produced by the parietal cells located in the stomach lining. These cells don't secrete acid until they receive a signal to begin. That signal is delivered by the messenger hormones called histamine. Histamine communicates with the cell by attaching to contact points located on the cell surface called receptors. The H2 blocker works by occupying the receptors so that histamine cannot bind and communicate to the parietal cell to start producing acid.
H2 Blockers can be useful for short term use as tolerance is rapidly developed in infants. Here is an article that explains why.
Zantac® liquid is the most prescribed H2 blocker for infants with acid reflux, yet it contains alcohol and alcohol is a gastroesophageal mucosal irritant.
Some examples of what is available on the market today are:
H2 blockers come in many dosage forms. Tablets, capsules, liquids and effervescent tablets and are available in over the counter and prescription form. It is recommended that you take H2 blockers about 1 to 2 hours before eating.
Lip & tongue tie revisions are both irreversible procedures and a painful process that permanently alters the natural anatomy of your child’s mouth. They are supposedly related to ability to latch on to a nipple. But the actual number of infants that benefit from a lip and tongue tie procedure is so very low. Less than 1/2 of a percent of all infants receiving the procedure show signs of relief from reflux symptoms and there are no studies to show that the lip & tongue tie revision is the resolution to any symptoms. For more details about lip tie and tongue tie revisions read this page.
Nissen Fundoplication is surgery done on both adults and children in an attempt to control acid reflux. The larger nodule of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus and sewn together to create tension around the esophagus in hopes that this will keep the stomach contents and in some cases the acid that's refluxing up into the throat, down in the stomach. Patients are often back on PPIs in a year or have too tight of a wrap making it hard for food items to pass into the stomach from the esophagus.
For more information on Nissen Fundoplication click here.
Changing what foods you give your baby can be helpful especially if your baby has mild reflux. Sometimes a simple fix like a change of diet or introducing foods that are less acidic when starting them on solid foods is super helpful.
Infant probiotic information. Probiotics can be a very important part of your treatment plan for your baby.
There are many reasons why babies have acid reflux. One very popular reason is the high number of cesarean births. When a baby is born cesarean, it loses out of the influx of antibiotic and probiotics and all the natural flood and infusion from the mommy prior to being passed through the birth canal.
It’s important that your probiotic choice include an essential strain called Bifidobacterium infantis.
B. Infantis (the abbreviate name for Bifidobaceterium infantis also:
Are examples of Pro-mobility Drugs or pro-kinetic drugs which are more commonly referred to in the medical industry as "Delayed Gastric Emptying".
Metoclopramide and Cisapride are dopamine-receptor antagonists, which means they work on the nerves that control peristalsis. This is the wave like contractions that push food and fluids through the gastrointestinal tract.
Using pro-mobility drugs as an infant acid reflux alternative treatment will increase the pace at which food passes through the stomach into the small intestine. This more efficient movement of food through the stomach reduces the pressure build up that may lead to refluxing the contents or the stomach back into the esophagus.
The best available medical studies and reviews reveal that the current available pro-mobility medications produce low efficacy for resolving infant acid reflux. They generally get prescribed in children that have not responded well to proton pump inhibitors however they do carry some of the following side effects.
Cisapride is no longer available due to the side effect (heart arrhythmia). The FDA issued a warning in 2000 that Cisapride has caused fatal heart arrhythmia in children.
Metoclopramide has been known to cause irritability and tiredness and can also induce a seizure-like incident called acute dystonic reaction.
FDA BlackBox Warning applied to Metoclopramide
PLEASE CONSIDER THE ABOVE WARNING PRIOR TO USING THIS ACID REFLUX ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT!
The clinical description of a PPI is a chemical compound (a medicine) that irreversibly inactivates the pumps that produce stomach acid while the medication is in its effective stage. The effective stage is when the PPI has begun to take effect and the duration for which
PPIs work within the parietal cell's surface where acid is secreting. PPIs reach the location of the parietal cell secretion point through the blood stream. The PPIs react to the cell in a way that inactivates, both the pumps from secreting acid and in turn inactivates the parietal cells from producing acid.
PPIs will inhibit acid production regardless of the stimulus. Meaning, no matter what you ingest or what reaction your body usually has that induces the secretion of acid, PPI products work against the acid producing pumps that trigger acid production.
The following have been approved by the FDA for pediatric use:
See Gas Drops Above.
Or the brand name Carafate® is an aluminum containing sticky sugar that acts as an ulcer adherent paste, binding to open sores in the lining of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Think of it as a Band-Aide® specifically for ulcers.
Sucralfate offers local protection for ulcers and requires the presence of stomach acid to turn it into a paste that will bind to the ulcer. The paste helps promote healing by preventing more acid from seeping into the ulcer. It comes in tablet form or as a suspension but is only provided with a prescription.
Since sucralfate requires stomach acid to reach an active state it cannot be used with any Antacids, H2 blockers or PPIs. It is effective in treating ulcers resulting from reflux but cannot control infant acid reflux itself. It has few side effects because it acts topically and is minimally absorbed into the bloodstream.
There are many parents who are trying to accomplish effective treatments for their baby's acid reflux or GERD in a natural way. Timed feedings are one of those all natural acid reflux alternative treatments.
In many cases something as simple as adjusting your baby's feeding times, amounts and even the position your child is being held during feeding, can make a huge difference in your child's reaction to feeding and ultimately the cause of acid reflux or GERD.
All of the above timed feeding suggestions can be simple and effective acid reflux alternative treatments.