GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.  This occurs when you have a backflow of acid from your stomach enter the esophagus.  This causes the "burn" from the term "heartburn," and can damage the esophagus lining.  Reflux is considered a disease when it is severe enough to impact a patient's life and/or damage the esophagus.  Additionally, it can cause asthma, sore throats, difficulty in swallowing, and can dissolve the enamel of the teeth.  In the U.S. alone, approximately 7 million people suffer from GERD.

GERD Symptoms

Adults: Heartburn, regurgitation of gastric acid or sour contents into mouth, chest pain, difficult or painful swallowing, chest pain, frequent hiccups, asthma.

Babies: Frequent hiccups, crying, shows signs of hunger but only eats small amounts due to pain, screaming hungry but turning away from the breast, difficulty swallowing, frequent spit-ups, irritability, persistent crying, fussing after feedings, arching back, stiffening legs, asthma, hoarseness, stretching body, bad breath, poor weight gain, wheezing, coughing, moments with no breathing, hiccupping sounds as if the child is not breathing for a moment, diagnosis of colic, difficulty sleeping, diarrhea, choking.


GERD is caused by reflux of the stomach acid into the esophagus.  The sphincter (or "gate") that keeps the lower end of the esophagus closed will relax, allowing acid to enter the esophagus.


Place blankets under the head of the crib mattress to elevate it.

Hold the baby upright for 1/2 hour after he eats.

Start your baby on the SCD formula if you are not nursing (See BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE for recipe.)

Be careful with your child's diet.  Avoid acidic foods like oranges, tomato sauce and greasy foods until he is healed.

Baby "bouncy" chairs can keep your baby upright, keeping the stomach contents where they belong.

Keep your baby upright as much as possible.

Rub your child's tummy in a clockwise direction.

Be calm, no matter how much your baby cries. It is not the baby's fault, and it is not yours either.

If your child has reflux and remains uncomfortable, consider he or she may be intolerant to dairy as well.

You can breastfeed a reflux baby with great success.  Keep a simple diet with plain foods, and keep your dairy intake low.

If you are nursing, avoid acidic or gassy foods.  Avoid high amounts of dairy as well.

Do not settle for a colic diagnosis.   If your baby sounds uncomfortable, he is uncomfortable.  Request a pediatric GI specialist if your primary care physician is not able to help your infant.

Children with reflux can become asthmatic. If your child has a cold, listen for wheezing and call the pediatrician immediately if you have any concerns about your child's breathing.

If your child is on medication and it does not work, talk to your doctor about trying a different prescription or a combination of medications.

If your medication works, but you notice your child becoming fussy, have your child weighed for a higher dosage. Remember to do this often!

If you want to wean your child off medication, continue giving it and begin the SCD. Follow the SCD religiously for a time until all symptoms are gone and healing has taken place; then taper him off the medication by reducing it a little each day. We suggest working with your pediatrician on this.

Kay Stence