Best Formula For Reflux & Spit Up: The Ultimate 2023 Guide

92 hours of research 8 minute read

" The two most common issues in pediatrics are gas and spit-up. "
Formula For Reflux And Spit Up

Gas and spit-up can happen to both breastfed and formula-fed babies. Reflux or spit-up is normal during infancy and happens to almost every healthy infant. Throwing up regularly can be stressful for parents because it can cause the baby to lose weight.

If your baby has reflux along with other symptoms, including excessive crying and poor weight gain, then it’s time to change the infant milk formula. Finding a suitable formula from a reputable brand can help moms deal with this stressful situation.

This article discusses everything about reflux in babies and what baby formula is suitable for babies with spit-up.

What Is Acid Reflux In Babies?

Acid reflux is a condition when the babies spit up formula through their nose or mouth. Spitting up in infants is entirely normal and occurs when their tiny esophagus is not fully developed.

Typically, a healthy infant spits up several times after feeding. However, if acid reflux happens more frequently and interferes with your child’s development and growth, this may be a serious condition. There are three types of acid reflux occurring in infants:

1. The Happy Spitter (GER)

GER or gastroesophageal reflux is a typical type of spitting up in babies and is called the “milk reflux” or “happy spitter.” In GER, the baby’s esophagus cannot keep the fluids down to the stomach. If your baby doesn’t cry or is irritated after spitting up, then they are a “happy spitter.” In most cases, babies feel better after spitting up.

The age at which GER occurs ranges from 2-3 weeks to 9-12 months. When the digestive tract of your baby matures, GER typically disappears.

2. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a type of acid reflux that occurs when the stomach acid flows back in the esophagus and injures/irritates it. GERD is usually less prevalent in infants and affects 1 in 300 infants. If your baby acid refluxes more frequently, the damage to their esophagus is more likely to occur. Also, there happens to be a large amount of reflux in GERD, which makes it difficult for the baby’s esophagus to clear away the stomach acid.

Babies with GERD hate to eat, have wheezing and breathing problems, and seem to have constant colds.

3. Silent Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Silent GERD)

Silent GERD is one of the severe conditions, which occurs when the baby re-swallows the spit-up, and you never know they have reflux. Silent GERD causes twice the damage to the esophagus because the stomach acid burns the food pipe on the way up and the way down.

Since silent GERD is difficult to diagnose, you can look for the signs, such as crying after feeding or hating the sight of a bottle.

Reflux vs. Vomiting: What’s The Difference?

You should not confuse reflux with vomiting because vomiting during the first month of a baby’s life can be a sign of a serious condition. Therefore, it is important to know the difference between reflux and vomiting.


The following details indicate reflux (normal spitting up):

  • No crying or pain during reflux.
  • Your baby is healthy and looks well.
  • No diarrhea.
  • May occur for several weeks or months.
  • No effort with spitting up.
  • It occurs in the early days after birth.


Vomiting involves the following:

  • The baby looks sick.
  • Forceful vomiting.
  • Diarrhea is present.
  • The baby is uncomfortable during vomiting.
  • Vomiting contains bile (green color).
  • You notice a new symptom every day.

Pyloric Stenosis

  • This is the most serious and common cause of vomiting in young babies, during which the pylorus becomes tight and narrow.
  • Risk of dehydration or weight loss.
  • Projectile vomiting.
  • Occurs between 2 weeks to 2 months of the baby’s life.
  • The baby is hungry right after vomiting.

Signs Baby Has A Reflux

The following are some signs that your baby has reflux:

  • Baby is losing weight and has difficulty gaining weight.
  • Refusal to eat.
  • The baby has a hoarse voice or cries.
  • The baby has a chronic cough.
  • Wheezing or choking.
  • Irritability or fussiness.
  • The baby arches their back right during or right after feedings.

Should I Continue Using Regular Formula, Or Should I Use A Specific Formula For Reflux?

If you see your baby suffering from the conditions above, it is essential to change the infant formula. The proteins that are usually present in cow’s milk are the primary cause of these refluxes.

The baby’s digestive system is not fully developed and cannot digest the complex proteins present in the formula.

In such cases, you can go for “hypoallergenic formula,” these formulas are enriched with proteins that are broken down into smaller peaces. Otherwise, you can opt for goat milk as it is easier to digest.

Anti-Reflux Formula

Anti-reflux formulas, commonly referred to as thickening formulas, are an excellent solution for lowering the intensity of reflux. These formulas are specifically designed for babies having reflux issues.

Breast Milk For Reflux

Breast milk is generally great for babies in many ways, including in reducing the risk of reflux in the first case. Breast milk is not only soothing for the baby’s stomach, but it leaves their stomach quickly compared to formula milk.

The Best Formula For Reflux And Spit up

The following two are proven to be the best formulas that are effective for baby’s suffering from reflux. Let’s have a look:

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Organic locust bean gum makes formula creamier

Popular for babies that spit-up

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HiPP AR is a nutritionally-complete formula for babies dealing with reflux. This formula contains Organic Locust Bean Gum which makes HiPP AR creamier and easier for babies with reflux / spit up. For optimal results, HiPP recommends allowing the formula to settle for 7 minutes post-mixing before feeding it to your baby. This brief waiting period ensures that the formula attains a thicker consistency, providing added comfort during feeding.

  • Best Features: Organic Locust Bean Gum to reduce reflux, contains LCP (Omega 3 & 6), prebiotics, and probiotics, rich in nutrients and vitamins.
  • Contains proteins in hydrolyzed form
  • Organic Locust Bean Gum to reduce reflux
  • Rich with Vitamins B6 and Potassium
  • Free of maltodextrin
  • Contains DHA & ALA for brain development
  • The main carbohydrate is Lactose
  • Contains prebiotics and probiotics
  • Expensive for some parents

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Hydrolyzed milk proteins reduce allergic reactions

Popular for constipated babies

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HiPP HA Formula

HiPP HA is made under strict EU regulations and contains all essential protein in hydrolyzed form. The formula is easy to digest for babies and has no added sugar and soy.

  • Best Features: Extensively hydrolyzed protein for easier digestion, Contains lactose, prebiotics, and probiotics. Free of synthetic preservations and non-GMO.
  • Extensively hydrolyzed protein
  • EU Certified
  • Contains DHA & ALA for brain development
  • Free of maltodextrin
  • Free of colors and synthetic flavors
  • Good for sensitive stomachs
  • Expensive for some parents

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Hydrolyzed milk proteins for easier digestion

Popular for babies with cow’s milk sensitivities

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HiPP Dutch HA Formula

HiPP Dutch HA is HiPP's newest hydrolyzed formula, launched in 2023. The formula is the Dutch version of HiPP HA. Milk proteins hydrolyzed by 86-87% can help babies who are sensitive to cow's milk.

  • Best Features: Hydrolyzed protein for easier digestion, Contains lactose, prebiotics, and probiotics. Free of synthetic preservations and non-GMO.
  • Contains milk proteins in hydrolyzed form
  • Contains DHA & ALA for brain development
  • Free of maltodextrin
  • Free of colors and synthetic flavors
  • Good for sensitive stomachs
  • Contains Lactose as the main carbohydrate
  • Contains prebiotics and probiotics
  • Expensive for some parents

Formula for reflux

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Thickened consistency to reduce spit up

Popular baby formula for acid reflux

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Aptamil Anti Reflux

Aptamil Anti Reflux is a thickening formula for reflux. It is formulated to address reflux symptoms which include discomfort, irritability, and frequent spitting up or regurgitation, and provide relief to babies while providing a complete source of nutrition.

  • Best Features: Thickened formulation designed for infants who are suffering from frequent regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux (GER) issues.
  • Formulated to manage symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) in infants
  • With Carob Bean Gum (CBG) formula thickener for reflux
  • Contains DHA & ALA for brain development
  • Free of maltodextrin
  • Non-GMO Formula
  • Free of colors and synthetic flavors
  • Expensive for some parents
  • May not be readily available in your area or at your preferred store

Other Recommendations/Tips To Keep In Mind

The following recommendations should be considered when feeding your little one:

  • Burp your baby during each feeding.
  • Try to feed your baby in small portions.
  • Feed your baby upright, possible for better swallowing.
  • Don’t move your baby around too much after feeding.
  • For bottle-feeding, try different sizes of nipples and bottles.

This list is beneficial to avoid the risk of reflux. If the baby has severe refluxes, try consulting a pediatrician.

Frequently Asked Questions

What nipple size should I use?

Small nipple sizes are much better for babies suffering from reflux as less milk makes digestion smoother. Large nipple size bottles can make the baby's digestive system frustrated and increase the risk of reflux.

Which kind of bottle is best for reflux?

A good bottle makes the swallowing of milk easier. Many pediatricians recommend Dr. Brown’s Original Bottle as the bottle’s quality design not only keeps the nutrients well but keeps the baby prevented from ingesting air trapped in the nipple.

How much formula should I feed to my baby?

The formula feed entirely depends on the baby’s age and stomach. Newborns should be fed 2 ounces of milk in one feed. 2 months old babies can take about 4-5 ounces in one feed, and for 4 months old babies six ounces of milk are recommended.

Lastly, 6 months old babies should be given about 8 ounces in one feed. As your baby grows, their feeding time will increase along with the quantity of milk.

Baby Formula for Reflux and Spit Up

Reflux can cause frustration and discomfort to your baby, but it is treatable. Certain lifestyle adjustments can reduce the risk of recurring reflux. If your baby shows extreme signs of reflux, then it is recommended to consult a pediatrician to avoid any health complications.

Finding the best formula for spit-up and reflux can be very beneficial when dealing with acid reflux. Look for formulas specifically designed to be gentle on the baby's stomach and reduce the likelihood of spit-up. These formulas are often labeled as "anti-spit up" or "anti-reflux."

Some parents consider alternative methods like adding oatmeal to formula for reflux or adding rice cereal to formula for reflux. However, it's crucial to note that healthcare professionals may advise against these practices as these can pose choking hazards and may lead to inadequate nutrition for your baby. Always prioritize professional advice to ensure your baby's well-being and proper feeding practices.

3 Most Popular Formulas For Reflux

  1. HiPP AR Formula
  2. HiPP HA Formula
  3. Holle Goat Formula