Of all the things I have dealt with in parenting, my youngest struggling with acid reflux as a baby was one of the hardest. If acid reflux is part of your parenting journey right now, just know that you will get through this! Once I understood what my baby was struggling with, I went on the hunt for the best formula for reflux in hopes of finding something that would help. Now I am here to share what I found with you.
We are going to break down the signs of reflux and gas and how to deal with it to reduce your baby’s struggles with eating and your own stress!
Different Types of Formula That May Help with Reflux
Dealing with infant reflux is by no means the end of the world, although somedays it feels like it. In some cases, it just takes a couple of little life changes to get everyone back on track and feeling good. If you are still learning about reflux, take a look at some common symptoms here.
One common change that often helps babies that have reflux is finding a formula that works better for them. Every baby is different so it may take a couple trial and error purchases, but I promise when you find the right one it will all be worth it. Picking which formula is best for a baby with reflux can be a little overwhelming at first, but hopefully, this list will set you down the right path!
Rookie Mom Tip! Some of these can be pricey, so once you’ve found the right one for your baby I highly recommend buying in bulk.
Hypoallergenic Formulas for Reflux & Gerd
In many cases switching your baby to a hypoallergenic formula can really help reduce acid reflux symptoms. The hypoallergenic formulas do tend to be the most expensive. However, if your child has any type of allergy towards regular formula, these will be your best solution.
Many pediatricians recommend a hypoallergenic formula for GERD to help reduce the acid reflux symptoms. In some cases, insurance will even cover it so make sure to speak with your child’s doctor and find out your options.
Enfamil Nutramigen is one of the most the popular choices for hypoallergenic formula. It is completely lactose-free and sucrose-free. It is convenient and comes ready to feed (that means no measuring out powder and mixing the bottle in this case). One huge benefit is that it is made to support your baby’s immune system and actually overcome their allergy to cow’s milk so that within 6 months they may be able to return to regular formula.
If you are dealing with acid reflux, there is probably only one question that really matters to you. Does it work? The answer is yes! It is highly recommended by both pediatricians and parents.
Here is one of our favorite moms reviews.
“OMG, it works! No more, screaming, no more going through bottles of gas medicine, no more bouts of crying fits. Our baby was just a happy little 1.5 month old and we have been so grateful since then (he’s now 5 months).”
This formula actually comes directly from Europe. Many Americans now prefer European formulas due to their stricter guidelines. The Holle Goat Milk formula has no sugar, wheat, soy, or peanut ingredients. It is also free from artificial chemicals, preservatives, and flavors
So the ingredients in this bad boy are just a little bit complicated, but they are perfect for a baby who has lots of allergies and is having trouble with both regular milk-based options and soy. Basically, it is pre-digested. It is more pricey but very similar to Nutramigen listed above.
The biggest downsides are the price and it smells a little funky, but if it is the option that makes your baby feel better than it is all worth it!
Check out “NUTRAMIGEN VS. ALIMENTUM: WHICH IS BEST FOR YOUR BABY?” for a deeper dive into these formulas!
Reflux Specific Formulas
These formulas are created for one specific reason in mind; to help ease the reflux.
Many parents rave about this formula being the best formula for reflux. It is made specifically to help with frequent spit-up. Enfimail AR is made to be easy on their bellies, but just thick enough to help them keep it all down and get the nutrients they need.
This formula is based on cow’s milk, which means you should be able to easily switch over from your current formula without causing too much disruption to their digestion.
Not every baby with reflux will need to switch to a soy-based formula, but for those who do, Prosobee is an awesome option.
It will keep your baby from being gassy. Just make sure to watch for constipation as that can be a result of the soy intake.
Best Formula for Reflux That’s Non GMO
If you are looking to try something a little out of the box, we recommend trying the formulas from Organic’s Best. They make it possible to get some of the best formulas in the world, created in Europe where standards are extremely high, wherever you are! They carry a couple of different brands like Holle and HiPP that tend to work well for babies with sensitive stomachs.
Through Organic’s Best you can find Goatmilk formula, palm oil & starch free options, and all without any GMOs.
This option is not completely lactose-free (so if lactose happens to be the problem this won’t be the one for you and your baby!), but it does have reduced levels of lactose. It also uses a special broken down protein blend, which makes it easy to digest.
It is one of the only formulas that contain the full benefit of nutrients found in breastmilk. That’s probably why you have seen this formula mentioned on all the mommy discussion boards. It’s also rated a #1 option by pediatricians. You can take comfort in knowing you truly are not stripping your baby of any nutrients by feeding them Enfamil Gentlease.
Much like Enfamil AR, this is a cow milk-based pre-thickened formula. Being pre-thickened helps your baby to keep it all down, both filling their belly and getting them all their nutrients. It should be easy to switch your baby over to this as long as they were taking a cow milk-based formula previously.
You might take a little comfort in knowing that this is one of the most commonly used formulas in hospitals meaning it probably works pretty well, right? It’s a milk based formula but it contains no lactose, making it easy to digest.
On top of that, it’s packed full of vitamins that are great for growth and development all while being easy to absorb. Going non-GMO is totally your own preference, but as it’s pretty common these days for people to want to avoid them this is a great way to do so.
Best Reflux Formula For Soon To Be Toddlers
As your baby is on their way to being a toddler you might look for a formula to help the transition to baby food. Having a child with reflux does limit the options however here is our favorite choice.
Maybe a goat milk formula is out of your comfort zone to feed your baby, but I say most things are worth a try if it will result in a healthier & happier little one. Goat’s milk is actually more similar to breast milk than cow’s milk in the way it is digested, meaning your baby’s tummy might just like it.
Definitely, consult with your doctor about this one before giving it a try just because it is so different and keep in mind it is not recommended for babies under 12 months.
The formula was designed for older infants and toddlers (9-18 months). It contains partially broken down proteins so that it is easy to digest and Omega 3 DHA to provide brain support. It is a great option to transition your baby to as they get a bit older.
When my youngest Olivia was fussy all the time and spitting up like crazy, I did not understand what was going on. I mean this was my fifth kid, I felt like I should have been able to figure it out. Well, after a visit to the pediatrician this is what I learned. She had reflux which is caused when the valve connecting the esophagus and stomach doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.
The valve doesn’t close correctly, so it allows both food and stomach juices to flow back up into your baby’s mouth, which is quite painful. This isn’t necessarily permanent because it’s often just a result of the esophagus not being fully developed yet. Most babies grow out of their reflux within a year (my little baby did not, but after a couple of years she had no more problems).
There are a few other reasons, besides the maturity of the esophagus, that can cause reflux. GERD is a bit more serious of a condition where the acid coming back up is damaging the lining of the esophagus and causing serious irritation. It also may be a food intolerance that’s increasing the reflux, cows milk being the most common of all.
What are the signs my baby has reflux?
There are a few telling signs that your baby may have infant reflux. Disclaimer, I am definitely not a doctor but if you’re feeling concerned about your baby make sure to call one! They can help you work through what’s normal and what might be causing these kinds of symptoms in your baby. Also, check out the Mayo Clinic, they have some great resources for handling acid reflux.
Spitting up: Every baby spits up (like in your car, on your favorite shirt, and down your backs where you won’t notice), so obviously take this symptom with a grain of salt. It should only become a concern if it seems that the act of spitting up is causing them pain or coming up with a greenish or yellow liquid. Spitting up is also a concern if it continues to happen past 12 months after meals. My youngest daughter was terribly grumpy after she spit up because of the pain from spitting up.
Grumpy during feedings: Sometimes our kiddos are just grumpy, but feeding time should generally be comforting and something they look forward to. If every feeding is a battle, there might be something going on that you should get checked out. If they have infant reflux, this grumpiness is a result of their tummies or throats being irritated.
Refusal or Difficulty Eating: When your baby starts to associate the discomforts caused by reflux with eating, they may begin to refuse food entirely. Refusal of food for an extended period is always a cause for concern and you should contact your doctor.
Failure to Gain Weight: Failure to gain weight is also tied in with difficulty eating. Another reason to immediately contact your pediatrician is if you notice your baby is not gaining weight and meeting the markers they should.
Frequent Gagging/Choking: The stomach contents making their way back up to the mouth can cause some gagging and choking. If this is happening often, try to keep your baby upright during feeding and for a little bit of time afterward while they digest. Know it may be a sign of reflux if this happens frequently.
Wet Hiccups: I know with this one you are probably like, “um, what?” but hiccups are not supposed to be wet and if they are it’s likely a sign of reflux causing food to come back up.
Hard time with a sleep routine: There are many things that can cause your baby difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. BUT, when paired with some of the other symptoms listed here, their sleep troubles are likely related to infant reflux.
What else can I do to ease acid reflux?
Finding out which option is the best formula for reflux for your baby will often help. However, it still might not be the end of the story when it comes to reflux issues. In my case, the formula helped but my daughter needed a little more to help ease the pain.
Here are some extra things to try:
- More frequent feedings with a decreased amount of food
- Burp them extra between every 2 or so ounces, they need your help with this
- Hold your baby upright for 30 minutes to an hour after feeding
- Put them to sleep on their back on a firm mattress, it may be tempting to put them at an incline or in a seat but you MUST ask your doctor about this first
- Ask your doctor about possible medications to help with infant reflux
- Find a newborn chiropractor, just make sure they are highly rated because this is a delicate practice
- Rub their tummy in a clockwise motion to help relieve gas
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Pin for Later- The Best Formula for Reflux + Tips to Ease Acid Reflux
Frequently Asked Questions
Can switching to formula help reflux?
In some cases, switching to formula will help with reflux. Hypoallergenic formulas like Enfamil Nutramigen and Similac Alimentum will help if your baby’s reflux is being aggravated by allergies. There are also some formulas, like Enfamil AR, that are formulated to help babies with reflux.
How can I help my formula fed baby with reflux?
Here are some extra things you can try:
More frequent feedings with a decreased amount of food
Burp them extra between every 2 or so ounces, they need your help with this
Hold your baby upright for 30 minutes to an hour after feeding
Put them to sleep on their back on a firm mattress, it may be tempting to put them at an incline or in a seat but you MUST ask your doctor about this first
Ask your doctor about possible medications to help with infant reflux
Find a newborn chiropractor, just make sure they are highly rated because this is a delicate practice
Rub their tummy in a clockwise motion to help relieve gas
Does Similac Alimentum help with reflux?
For babies struggling with reflux or allergies and having trouble with both regular milk-based options and soy, Similac Alimentum is a great option.