Does Gaviscon Infant Work for Reflux and Silent Reflux in Babies

Gaviscon Infant is a common first step medication for babies with reflux and silent reflux to reduce the vomiting


Reflux and silent reflux is a common condition that affects about 50% of babies. That said, because it is common, does not make it normal. It can be severe enough to cause pain and distress to the baby, creating feeding difficulties or weight gain challenges. One of the first medications to be trialled by doctors is Gaviscon Infant, an alginate therapy.


Baby acid reflux is a common condition that affects many babies.

Baby acid reflux is a common condition that affects many babies. In the USA and UK, official estimates are that 1 in 2 babies will experience reflux. It can be caused by anything from stress in pregnancy to swallowing too much air, to birth trauma to diet. And reflux equally affects babies who are breast or bottle-fed.

Whatever the cause, baby reflux can be very uncomfortable for your baby and you, and it’s not just annoying: treated inappropriately, it, and some treatments, can cause complications such as recurrent ear infections, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, pneumonia, erosive oesophagitis and more.


It can be severe enough to keep the baby from feeding or to cause weight loss.

You may notice that your baby’s reflux is worse after a spell of crying or after what appears to be a “really good feed”. When it happens, it can be painful for them to eat, or indeed, they may ask for more milk to soothe the pain in their throat. Reflux can also make it difficult for a baby to sleep and feed properly, which can lead to poor weight gain or weight loss if not supported properly.


How does Gaviscon work?

Some studies suggest that Gaviscon may help treat some cases of acid reflux, but others have not shown any effect.

Gaviscon is an alginate; it forms a raft on top of stomach acid when consumed, with the intention of preventing regurgitation from happening. This short video demonstrates how Gaviscon works.


For many babies, Gaviscon helps their reflux massively; it stops them from vomiting much of the milk they drink. For many, this reduced vomiting means that the milk and its nutrients now stay inside the baby’s body, where they can be digested and absorbed. For babies who don’t gain sufficient weight, are classed as “failure to thrive”, or who are losing weight due to vomiting, Gaviscon can really help them start to gain weight. It can also help minimise the risk of damage to the oesophagus from stomach acid being in there. However, it is not always guaranteed to work.


Does Gaviscon Cause Constipation?

One of the most common side effects of using Gaviscon Infant is that it can cause constipation. On the official information provided with the medication, the number of users who will experience constipation as a result of using the medication is classified as “Very rare”, and this has a statistical frequency of less than 1 in 10,000 or less than 0.01% of users.



However, ask the parent of a baby who has used Gaviscon Infant, and the story is incredibly different. I created a straw poll on my Instagram stories recently, which 63 parents answered, and 65% said that their baby experienced constipation with the use of Gaviscon Infant.

There is a reason that this isn’t reported in the medical literature, and I will go into that in another blog another time. It is an important topic on how you and I have a responsibility to report adverse effects, and we are not informed about this or asked about it, and our doctors don’t report these adverse effects either. That’s for another time.

Chances are that you will experience constipation with the use of Gaviscon, so this is something to look out for.

Side Effects of Gaviscon & the Yellow Card Scheme

Were you aware that treating your baby’s reflux symptoms with Gaviscon can bring up other side effects of its own? This means treating your child’s reflux with something which is *supposed* to help reflux, can actually do more damage than reflux alone 🤦 Watch this video to find out what’s going on here and how all parents should be aware of the Yellow Card Scheme for reporting side effects from any sort of medication. *** If you want to understand more about reflux medications, leave a comment saying ‘Medication’ and we’ll send you access to a free Interactive Guide to Reflux Medications.

Posted by Aine Homer - The Baby Reflux Lady on Tuesday, 6 July 2021


Gaviscon Caused A Hernia

I was recently at a friend’s wedding, and a stranger beside me asked me what I do… this quickly led to a conversation about her 2.5-year-old, who was waiting for surgery after developing a hernia from excessive straining after Gaviscon made him so constipated.

Their story was much longer and involved many feelings of being ignored as a first-time mum asking for help for her baby until he was diagnosed as having “failure to thrive” and prescribed Gaviscon Infant by the hospital. While the medication reduced his reflux and vomiting, it led to such excessive straining that he caused himself a hernia, which is now waiting for surgery under a general anaesthetic to repair. And he still has lingering issues from his reflux.

Listening to this story made me so angry. Again.


The medical community seem hellbent on prescribing medications for baby reflux rather than understanding it.

While they know Gaviscon causes constipation, they feel the appropriate thing to do is to prescribe lactulose to help the baby’s bowels move again. What is wrong with this picture? Here – have some medication, and then to overcome the side effects of this medication, have some more medication. Is this really setting our children up for life?

Don’t get me wrong.

There are many times when it is appropriate to use medications to HELP the body. However, for the vast majority of our children, long-term medications are not the best answer. And yet the medical world doesn’t seem to give a damn. In fact, when you take a helicopter view, you will see that the rates of medication given to infants are increasing year on year. How can we say that we live within a progressive healthcare system right now? A system that keeps people sick rather than supporting their health?


So, what can you do for your baby?

We must understand that there are over thirty different causes and contributory factors to reflux and silent reflux in babies, and this is why what works for one is unlikely to work for another.

We need to start understanding each baby as an individual. We can do that by observing their symptoms and behaviours because every child is telling us what we need to know; we just have to read what is in front of us.

If you’re ready to learn what is causing your baby’s reflux, either start with the free Reflux Symptoms Tracker below or enrol in the Reflux Free Baby online course today to have the answer to what to do for your baby within an hour.


A Word of Warning:

NEVER use Gaviscon with a thickened milk or a milk thickener. These could lead to an overthinking of stomach contents and possible dehydration.


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What next?

I would LOVE your baby to be free of reflux, and this is what I do as a job! I have two invitations for you:

If you're the sort of person who wants:

  • to gather information and gradually put it together with a little bit of support, then my new Baby Reflux Community App is probably the best place for you to start with LOADS of searchable information and a fortnightly Q&A with me.
  • results NOW and understanding later, then the Reflux Free Baby system accelerates both the action to take and the understanding to allow you to feel confident in your decisions. This is the FASTEST way to a Reflux Free Baby.


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