Acid reflux is something that can affect many children. In the past, there wasn't a treatment for it. With kids that have acid reflux, instead of being what we call happy spitters (because a lot of babies will spit up), they will have pain when they spit up. So they will be fussy when they eat, they will often arch, often have challenges when they are laid flat (because when you are upright, gravity helps keep some of it down in the stomach).
You don't treat every kid with medication who has acid reflux. Sometimes some simple maneuvers, keeping kids upright and small frequent feeds, are enough. However, if a kid isn't gaining weight, if they're very irritable with it, or if they have any breathing problems because of it, these are all things that you should consider getting medical treatment for.
There are several different medications -- again, it is rare that kids will have to take medication for this. The different medication brand names that people would recognize include Zantac, Pepcid, Prevacid, Prilosec.
Kids that have the most severe reflux -- something called "failure to thrive" (where they are not able to grow, or if they have continual breathing issues from it) -- actually need to see a specialist (a gastroenterologist), and there are some procedures that can be done to help. But again, that's very rare.
More Answers from Kim J. Gehle, MD