Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

Overweight Reflux Baby?

You may be struggling to help your baby with gastroesophageal reflux gainweight so it may seem impossible for a baby with reflux to be overweight or obese. Most Reflux Moms and Dads I know are watching every ounce and cheering when there has been even a slight weight gain. 

The reality is some babies with reflux are what I call “comfort eaters”. A comfort feeder wants to sip and nibble 24/7 to push the bad taste of acid down and manage the pain and discomfort of reflux. If a comfort eater doesn’t spit or vomit too much, there can be a tremendous amount of weight gain.

 It is also possible to over-feed a baby with reflux. The communication signals are generally unclear. Crying and fussing may indicate a variety of messages: I am tired, bored, hungry, cold, hot, over stimulated, tummy ache, gas, illness and on and on. Most of us head for the changing table or offer some food since these options often work really well. Your baby may be crying due to fatigue but may settle for a few ounces of formula if it is offered. If there is a lot of fussing and many snack breaks, the weight gain can increase as well.

The earlier struggles with reflux often include poor weight gain and even weight loss. The doctor may prescribe a special diet, a thickener or other calorie booster to increase weight gain. Over time, as the reflux symptoms improve, the extra calories can add up and lead to weight gain.

 The bottom line is, even if your baby has struggled with weight gain or has some discomfort from gastroesophageal reflux disease; you and the doctor still need to be vigilant about ensuring weight gain but not too much.

In general, you can decrease the risk of obesity by monitoring weight gain in infancy.

Here are some important tips.

Remember: Ask your doctor for specific advice for your baby before modifying her diet.

Ask your doctor to show you the weight and height chart at each well check up.

Ask your doctor for advice on how much formula and baby food she should eat each day.

Try not to compare your baby to others. Every baby is different and her pattern of weight gain may differ from your other children and your friend or relative.

Limit juice intake during the first year unless the doctor has recommended juice for a specific reason (weight gain, extra fluid intake, control constipation).

Delay the introduction of solids (unless the doctor has prescribed early feedings).

Do not over-feed formula or solids. If your baby turns away from the bottle, breast or spoon, she is probably communicating that she is full.


Check with your
doctor first!