AR Formula: Help for Infants With Acid Reflux

Why this type of formula may be right for your little one

baby drinking from bottle
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Babies who are diagnosed with acid reflux (GERD) may benefit from drinking a commercially thickened AR formula (also called infant AR formula). These formulas, such as Enfamil AR and Similac Sensitive RS, add a rice-based thickening agent. 

However, parents should be aware that not every baby that spits up frequently requires a thickened formula. If the baby is gaining weight well and not showing other signs of reflux, it may be best to stick with cow milk formula.

Signs of Infant Reflux

In the first three months of life, more than half of all babies experience reflux. For some infants, however, this spitting up, or acid reflux, is severe and may require a switch in formula as well as further treatment.

Talk to your pediatrician if your infant has any of the following symptoms. 

  • Frequent spitting up or vomiting
  • Irritability when feeding
  • Refusing formula or only drinking small amounts
  • Arching the back while feeding
  • Frequent hiccups
  • Frequent coughing
  • "Wet" burps (a small amount of liquid is regurgitated as he burps)
  • Poor sleep habits with frequent waking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bad breath

Finding Relief From Reflux

Beyond switching to AR formula, there are several steps you can take to reduce your infant's acid reflux. 

  • Burp your infant several times during the feeding (after 1 or 2 ounces of formula) to help minimize gastric pressure. Waiting until after your baby has a full stomach can increase the chances of regurgitation.
  • Try smaller, more frequent feedings. Talk to your child's doctor or nurse about the amounts of formula or breast milk that your baby is taking.
  • Keep infants upright during feedings, and for at least 30 minutes after feedings.
  • Position your infant on his back, and elevate the head of the bed 30 degrees. Gravity will help keep stomach contents stay where they belong.
  • Avoid tight elastic around your baby's waist, and keep diapers loose.

Do you think your baby has infant reflux? Take this Infant reflux screening quiz, and then discuss the results with your doctor.

This screening quiz should not be used as a diagnostic tool. This quiz should be used for informational purposes only. You should discuss with your baby's doctor any concerns you have about your baby's health.

Where to Go From Here

Shopping for baby formula is never easy. Of course, your first step should be to talk to your pediatrician about the right options for your infant. These article will also help you make an informed decision:

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