Silent reflux in babies: Everything parents need to know

ilent reflux is a common condition in babies that is often difficult to diagnose. Unlike the more common reflux, a baby with silent reflux may swallow before they vomit, or the acid-tinged milk may not even make it as far as their mouth. There is no familiar vomiting, meaning that the reflux is concealed and thus “silent”.

What is silent reflux?

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) or silent reflux can present in babies aged around 6 weeks to 5 months of age.

Silent reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the oesophagus and irritates the throat. It can cause discomfort, a cough or a sore throat in a baby. It can also prevent babies from putting on weight.

Sometimes a baby will make a sound that mimics reflux, but no milk presents, making it hard for parents to realise that reflux is occurring.

The acidic reflux can burn on the way up and again on the way down, delivering a double whammy to the poor baby who is suffering with the condition.

A baby with silent reflux may cry during or after a feed without any obvious reason. They may also grimace or wince as they deal with the acidic reflux milk.

Other babies don’t appear to be worried by their silent reflux at all, making it even more difficult to diagnose.

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