Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is common in babies. Reflux means flow back or return. GER is the passage of gastric (stomach) content into the lower oesophagus (food pipe), causing spit up. It is a normal physiological process that can occur several times a day. 20% to 30% of all babies regurgitate more than 3 times per day during their first few months of life1. This is because the junction or angle between the food pipe and stomach is not as tight as in older infants and children.
Majority of the regurgitations are benign and resolve as the child gets older. Most babies with regurgitation do not need investigations and treatment.
Babies would typically grow out of spitting up after a feed at about 6 months of age. In addition, solids (e.g. pureed foods or rice cereals) are introduced at this time. These solids are harder to spit up after feeding compared to milk. Even if the baby has a tendency to regurgitate, these solids stay down better.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) on the other hand is not as common. It is a more severe form of reflux, which may result in pain and discomfort for the baby.
Most children will outgrow GERD. However, if there is a structural problem with the food pipe or an underlying neuromuscular problem (issue with the nerves or muscles in the body), then these children may not outgrow GERD.
Source: 1National Center for Biotechnology Information