7 Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux - MamaNatural.com

the following post was written by genevieve aka mama-natural - follow her at mamanatural.com

Natural Remedies for Baby Reflux

Does your baby arch her back regularly? Or scream if you lay him on his back? Does she projectile vomit after meals? Or does his breath smell sour? Then you may be experiencing the troublesome effects of baby reflux. 

believe me, i’ve been there

Soon after our Paloma was born, I could tell she wasn’t comfortable. She always had a reddish hue to her skin and she was very stiff. Every time I tried to bend her legs or arms, she would fight me. She never spit up so I didn’t think it was baby reflux but she was gassy and got hiccups a lot. Since I was nursing, I gave up dairy in hopes that it would help. I also noticed that she liked sitting up and even sleeping in reclining chairs versus flat on her back. But it wasn’t until I happened to smell her breath, that I suspected reflux. It was sour…. huge red flag.

What are baby reflux symptoms?

While symptoms may vary, here are some main ones to look out for:

  • Crying or uncomfortable after eating
  • Coughing or choking regularly
  • Refusing the breast/bottle
  • Arching back after eating
  • Resistance to laying on back
  • Gassy and/or foamy bowel movements
  • Colicky, unhappy or seemingly uncomfortable in body
  • Wheezing, apena or breathing difficulties (respiratory infections)
  • Sour breath, burps and hiccups
  • Throwing up, usually projectile vomiting (not with silent reflux*)
  • Failure to gain weight

What causes acid reflux in infants?

First, let’s ground ourselves in this truth… all babies have some level of reflux. This is because their entire digestive tract is more immature than older children. The sphincter muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach is often undeveloped and opens regularly, allowing stomach acid to flow back up the throat causing burning and pain.

As their brain and nervous system develops, they can have some weakness in their vagus nerve function, which controls bowel mobility and digestion. It also doesn’t help that we often put babies on their back, whether for play or sleep, and this can only exacerbate symptoms. For some children, their reflux will be more severe or they may be more sensitive to the effects, whatever the reason, we want to help alleviate their discomfort.

How is baby reflux diagnosed?

As I started to research what could be wrong with my girl, I discovered that there are actually two forms of baby reflux: acid reflux and silent acid reflux. While acid reflux in infants usually results in regular projectile vomiting and intense crying, silent reflux is more subtle. Sour breath, hiccups, and physical stiffness or discomfort are more typical symptoms. Thankfully, most doctors will diagnose acid reflux or silent acid reflux in infants by persistent symptoms. However, some doctors may suggest the following tests:

Blood tests. Some doctors will look at various blood markers to see if the eating issues stem from something else like anemia or an infection.

Ultrasound. A device that uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of the upper GI tract looking for obstructions or abnormalities.

Barium swallow or upper GI test. The baby is given barium to drink, which coats the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of small intestine. Barium is a chalky white liquid that helps to highlight any obstructions or abnormalities in an X-Ray.

pH probe. A long, thin tube with a probe at the tip will be inserted through the mouth and positioned in the lower part of esophagus. It will measure the baby’s stomach acid levels and determine if there are any breathing problems as well. This is a very invasive test and baby will have to be hospitalized to administer.

Upper GI endoscopy. Another invasive test which requires hospital stay. It uses an endoscope to look directly inside the upper GI tract and detect any issues.

Because most of these tests are invasive or involve some negative side effects (ever tried to find a vein on a baby?!), it might be best, with your doctor’s approval, to start treating based on your baby’s acid reflux symptoms and see if he improves.

Conventional approach to acid reflux in infants

Of course, some mainstream medical doctors would recommend prescription medications to decrease or neutralize your baby’s stomach acid, and thereby reduce some of the initial symptoms of baby reflux. Examples would include:

  • Antacids such as Mylanta and Maalox
  • Histamine-2 blockers such as Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet, or Zantac
  • Or Proton-Pump Inhibitors such as Nexium, Prilosec, or Prevacid

Ironically, many infants with baby reflux actually aren’t producing enough stomach acid and are struggling due to a weaker digestive fire. By giving these drugs, you may have temporary relief but it could set up a bigger, long-term problem.

In fact, acid-blocking medications are not recommended in cases of uncomplicated infant reflux. And, otherwise healthy children taking these medications may face an increased risk of certain intestinal and respiratory infections. In addition, prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors has been linked to problems in iron and calcium absorption in infants.

There’s got to be a better way. And, thankfully, there are several natural remedies for baby reflux that have helped thousands of suffering infants.

Natural Remedies for Baby Reflux

  1. try body work

    Some babies may have reflux due to the birth process. Griffin’s birth was long and difficult so I got him to a chiropractor right away. I was sure to find one who specializes in baby care as it’s a delicate art. It isn’t the traditional snap, crackle, pop that we can associate with chiropractor care but very gentle manipulations that are more like massage. You can find chiropractors trained for the postpartum/newborn stage here.You can also try massage therapy or cranial sacral treatments. Again, look for practitioners with clinical experience with acid reflux in infants. Finally, you may want to do do some basic movement/massage exercises with baby targeting gas and bloating such as bicycle legs or moving your hands gently clockwise along her digestive tract.

  2. elevate baby while sleeping

    I did this instinctually with Paloma as she never seemed to settle to sleep when I placed her on her back. When she was very young, we swaddled her and put her in a chair. This is an excellent rocker/sleeper for baby with acid reflux as well. A baby lounger can be very convenient if you need to get things done or need something more travel friendly. A crib wedge would also work well in a crib.

  3. elevate baby while eating

    While it’s tempting to use your nursing pillow and feed baby as he lays down, it’s best to have him sit upright. This ensures that the milk goes down into the stomach versus staying up in the esophagus, which causes the discomfort. You can also have baby lean slightly against your chest if you’re bottle feeding, or have baby nurse upright. A Boppy pillow can be helpful for positioning baby upright after meals which can help baby reflux symptoms.

  4. hold baby upright for at least 30 minutes after feeding

    I always held Paloma upright for at least 30 minutes after I fed her. To make this easy, you can babywear them in an infant carrier or simply snuggle them as you walk around the house or sit in a comfy chair. If baby needs to go to sleep after feeding, be sure they sleep elevated to reduce acid reflux symptoms.

  5. nursing mom elimination diet

    If you are a nursing mom, give up all dairy products immediately. I know this is tough but it can be majorly worth it. By doing this, some babies acid reflux symptoms disappear altogether! This was the case with Griffin. Dairy can cause problems because the proteins found in this food can irritate baby’s immature digestive tract. Be sure you give up the offending food/drink for a good month before you determine if it’s the culprit. Other common allergens include wheat, gluten, citrus, coffee, nuts, eggs, and soy. By eliminating these foods, you can help your reflux in baby.

  6. special probiotics

    While I normally don’t recommend supplements for young babies, there are times they can make a big difference, particularly with baby reflux. Yes, Paloma made good improvements by implementing the above suggestions, but I still felt she needed some extra support. I started by giving her a probiotic specially formulated for infants. L. reuteri is an especially helpful probiotic strain as it has been clinically shown to reduce crying time by 50% in colicky breastfed infants! The idea is that probiotics can help boost baby’s digestion and help alleviate many of the acid reflux symptoms in babies naturally. You can just mix a little in breast milk or formula and spoon feed or give with a syringe. I even mixed some of these probiotic powders into breastmilk and let it ferment overnight to make breastmilk yogurt!

  7. the best for last: homeopathic remedies

The Homeopathic Remedy called Nat Phos 6X was a miracle worker! I read about it on this website and decided to give it a try. Nat Phos is a natural cell salt that we normally produce to aid in digestion but it can be insufficient in newborns. I took 1/2 a tablet and dissolved in my breastmilk and fed to Paloma with a syringe after each feeding. (You also could just put under tongue where it will dissolve.) Within a day, she was so much happier and wasn’t nearly as stiff! YAY! I kept using the remedy religiously. (Again, 1/2 tablet dissolved in milk after each meal, up to 6 tablets a day for children under 3 months. Check with your pediatrician or a trained Homeopathic doctor about what is right for your child.)

After about a month of using it, I slowly started weaning her off  the homeopathic and we never had to use any digestive support again. Some moms will need to keep baby on the remedy until they turn 6 months or 1 year old. As baby gets older (6 months and up), you could go up to 1 tablet dissolved in milk after each meal, up to 8 tablets a day. (Again, check with doctor!)

What about special herbs or supplements?

I know some moms also have success using products like Gripe Water or Colic Calm for baby reflux. I felt most comfortable with the cell salt because it was supplementing something our body already creates (versus adding in new herbs or formulations). A baby’s microbiome is super pure so you want to be careful what you add to it… I would stay away from things like slippery elm, apple cider vinegar, etc.

paloma’s days of baby reflux are long gone

We stopped all the natural remedies for baby reflux when Paloma was about 4 months old and never looked back. She now has the digestion of an ox and can drink pasteurized milk, and any other food with no discomfort. YAY! I’m so grateful we didn’t use any of the harsher medications and instead found natural remedies for baby reflux. If going through it can help just one other mama not resort to harsh pharmaceuticals, then it was worth it!

who is geneveive aka mamanatural in her own words?

If you’ve ever struggled with a baby carrier or fretted over GMOs, then MamaNatural.com is for you. And if you’ve ever laughed at yourself for being a little crunchier than most moms, you’ll fit right in.

I wasn’t always a natural mama. I used to smoke. Even worse, I used to binge on sugar. A lot. So much so that I was 60 pounds overweight and my health was deteriorating. I was miserable, depressed, and felt hopeless.

By God’s grace, I finally realized that I was slowly killing myself, and I made a soul decision to be well.

Today, Mike and I cherish our role as parents to our precious children, son Griffin and daughter Paloma.

Connect with Geneveive at MamaNatural.com

how about you?

Have you tried natural remedies for baby reflux? Share it with us in the comments below.



  • Hi, I was really looking to get Bubs reflux controlled before starting on medication..where are you based? I am looking for a Chiropractor if we are based same place I can use a reference

    Kavita Tiwari
  • Thank you for this blog. My 4 weeks old little boy is suffering from silent reflux. Even I wasn’t looking forward to giving him allopathic medicine. I always look for natural medicine and that’s how I stumbled upon your blog. Homeopathy medicine works wonders. I had a normal easy delivery thanks to homeopathy. I am gonna try this cell salt you’re mentioning. Fingers crossed my LO feels better soon. :)

  • Genevieve, thanks for the info. We have a 7 week old baby boy, Joshua; who has been spitting up/vomiting pretty consistently. This is somewhat normal for infants but it’s accompanied by more symptoms and the poor little guy is in pain and fussy a lot of the time. We are taking him to a chiropractor who is working to adjust him to help with digestion. We eat all organic and avoid pharmaceutical meds at all costs. I am interested in learning more about the cell salts. Do you have a brand name I can research.? Also and other natural remedies that you can suggest? Thanks for your help.

  • My Betsy was born & 34 weeks and two days this August. Weighing in at 4.9# baby number 5 quickly had me feeling like a fist time mom;). Yikes, new appreciation for premature babies and moms! After 6 days in nicu and 3 days in my hospital room we heading home. Betsy was gaining weight like a champ. Check ups we going well. After about six weeks at home I was realizing Betsy was having trouble. Trouble nursing from the start, although I new nursing was going to be at her pace due to tube feedings and bottles in nicu and hospital we needed to come home a really get to know each other without the wires and alarms and extra helpers all around. So thankful for my nursing crew at the hospital, they were fabulous. Yet home is home and my comfy robe awaited me along with my own bed and room💗. Nursing nipple shields helped her convert some of the time from bottle to breast . It was (Is) a struggle, she just knows bottle is faster:/. Even so these were my first signs noticing Betsy was struggling with something that made her uncomfortable. Wiggly and stiff after bottle or breast feedings I would wrap her up in my Moby and wait for her relief. No burps follows by curds of breast milk. Almost looked like cottage cheese. Sometimes it was clear in appearance more like breast milk. Sometimes coming out the nose. Holding Betsy up was my only option. One time I layer her on her back in her bassinet to QUICKLY go to the bathroom. I mean quick ( honestly I came back to her with my drawers 1/2 way up. I knew she was sleeping when I laid her down , I also knew she hadn’t gotten all her burps out yet before she fell asleep, I just had to go to the bathroom really bad. Any ways When I came to pick Betsy up again she was in a full on choke. I picked her up, noticed she had projected spit up on wall and side of bassinet. I immediately started praying. She wasn’t breathing her arms were stiff in the air. I tried to find my bulb to remove whatever was hindering her from breathing. Long story longer my husband called 911 and by the time the got to us Betsy had a low inconsistent raspy breathing pattern. The team assessed her treatment with Albuterol. She had aspirated. Left lung was clicking and we took a trip to er in the ambulance.
    I was vigilant about holding Betsey up taking her with me only. I knew she needed more than a feed a burp and diaper change and naps. Ever try the upright diaper change on a newborn:/! Upright everything really changing clothes which was multiple times a day due to sour Breast milk . She gave was giving us a choke scare Once a week not quite like the 911 call day. Still very scary. We start chiropractor care because that’s what our family does. Betsy was first adjusted at three weeks. Not specifically for reflux ( didn’t suspect that at the time) cerebral and body adjustments. I new this was important for her. We use a product called tummy calm, homeopathic. It seemed to help a bit. Betsy stomach would rumble I could feel it from her spine in her chest and by her bowels. Really like her whole midsection would rumble. She would arch and skin would blotchy fore head clammy, breathing would sound raspy or like phlegm in her air way. Rough really rough. I was her full time care taker, not that I didn’t share her Betsy and I just new what needed to be done to try not to choke that day. Tired late sore from caring holding wearing sleeping upright with Bets I wept and prayed. Help me LORD help Betsy. Next morning my husband found Hyland 6x cell salt on you website. You had been where I was. I leaned in and said honey pleas order that salt. Monday I had an appointment at a natural path doctor and Monday my cell salt arrived in the mail. It is now Tuesday. Oh btw i also decreased Betsy portions and tried feeding more frequently it help a bit too. This day Tuesday after using cell salt under tongue after feeds Betsy has fallen asleep two times in a cradle position. I am so thankful. This is just the beginning I believe . She breast feed for the first time in a week and 1/2. Thank you so much for writing your experiences down. Betsy thanks you too. We had more smiles today than in quite a while. Praise Jesus 💗.

  • Thank you so much for this well informed post. I’ve been getting so frustrated and worried about my 2 month old and I knew it wasn’t just colic. I’ve been doing a lot of research and feel like I’ve finally got the help I needed, especially because I prefer the more natural approach. I even want to try a chiropractor as I had a very traumatic delivery with my son. I feel like I finally got some help I feel relieved thank you.


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