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My son has just been diagnosed with reflux due to cows milk allergy

Hi Glenda. I have an 11 month old boy who has just been diagnosed with reflux due to cows milk allergy. I was quite surprised to be told this as my baby has never been particularly `spilly` however only tolerates about 100ml of formula before gagging. He feeds frequently about 1-2 hourly (even nightly) and is still refusing solid foods. He has been prescribed Neocate formula and Losec but we are still in the early days of trying this. I was wondering how common it is for a baby to have reflux without vomiting and do they `grow out of it`?

Answer: Hi, I am glad that you have been able to get your son’s reflux/allergies diagnosed. When they don’t generally vomit, it can be difficult to get that diagnosis at times. And to answer your question - it is very common for babies to not vomit with their reflux. I can’t tell you percentages, but I would think it is quite high. (All of my children had ‘silent’ reflux – i.e. reflux without vomiting.) With your question about growing out of it, that’s a hard one to answer. Most children will grow out of reflux sometime before they turn 2 years of age, but there are some children who don’t. Same with allergies and intolerances – many seem to grow out of cow’s milk allergy in the first few years as well - but they are all different. There doesn’t seem to be any way of predicting when a child grows out of either condition, so the best advice may be to take it one day at a time. I found it can be devastating when we look to a particular time (e.g. 12 months/when they are walking) for reflux to be outgrown - if/when it doesn’t happen, it can be very hard to cope with. It may help to focus on managing the condition rather than looking to a time that it will be outgrown. We have a lot of families in RISA whose child has cow’s milk allergy and reflux (and also taking Neocate and Losec) and you may find some of the advice on our website helpful (www.reflux.org.au). I hope the Neocate and Losec are able to help him feel more comfortable. Is he drinking the Neocate? I know some children will drink it without problem, but others refuse the taste (it’s quite bitter). There are a couple of tricks to getting them to accept the taste, like gradually adding it to the bottle of usual formula and increasing the amount over the next few weeks (while decreasing the other formula amount), or adding golden syrup or sugar to the bottle in the beginning (talk to your doctor if you are having problems getting your bub to drink the Neocate). It can sometimes take some trial and error to get the dose or combination of medications right too, so if things don’t improve as much as you would like, please keep in contact with your doctor. You may also like to consider talking to a dietitian who has experience in food sensitivities. I hope that helps and I hope your bub feels more comfortable soon. Best regards, Glenda
Answered: 29 Jun 2009