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What is reflux?

Some reflux is completely normal in babies as the muscle at the end of the food pipe, which keeps milk in the stomach, is still developing. Reflux may cause your baby to bring up milk after a feed, and can also give them hiccups.  

As long as your baby is growing normally and is not showing any marked signs of distress, there is no need to worry. Baby Centre UK have advice on simple steps you can take to help.

More severe reflux may cause your baby to cry or seem uncomfortable after feeding. This is known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and means that at times milk and stomach acid flow back up their food pipe causing discomfort. 

If your baby is unwell, use the traffic light table in ‘When Should I get Help?’ below to know when and where to get help.

How can I help my baby?

You should: 

  • Offer your baby smaller volumes more frequently. If your baby is breast-feeding then you should expect to see at least 6 wet nappies a day and they would be gaining weight of a minimum of 500g per month. Your health visitor will be able to help give advice about how much formula milk your baby should take and how often. 
  • Keep your baby upright for half an hour after feeds; a fabric sling might help 
  • Use a baby chair or infant bean bag, with your baby secured safely, to help keep them at an angle between feeds.  Do not use a car seat as this may compress their stomach 
  • Use a rolled towel or wedge under the head end of the cot or basket they lie in, to let gravity help keep the milk down.  Remember to always place your baby on their back when sleeping, with their feet at the foot of the cot.

Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) often peaks before the age of 6 months, and gradually gets better. Most babies will be better by the time they are 12-18 months of age, whether they have had treatment or not. 

No single medication will cure GORD but your doctor will discuss medicines with you if reflux is a serious problem for your baby, such as if they are not growing or feeding properly.  

When should I get help?

Vomiting can occasionally be a sign of a more serious problem. Use the traffic light table below to find out when and where to get help if your baby is unwell.




  1. 1 Recommendations | Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in children and young people: diagnosis and management | Guidance | NICE 
  2. CS48256_NHS_Feeding_-_Additional_Notes_GOR_and_GORD_Oct_18_.pdf (  
Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 22 March 2023

Next review: 31 March 2026

Approved By: Dr Morag Wilson