Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Children's and parenting health centre

Feed thickeners for infants

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If you thicken your baby's food, your baby is less likely to bring it back up. [8] You can get products to thicken milk (brand names Nestargel, Carobel) or use ready-thickened feeds (brand names Enfamil AR, SMA Staydown).

You may be able to get these from your pharmacy or on prescription from your doctor. It's always best to talk to your doctor before changing your baby's feed.

There have been quite a lot of studies on thickening feeds to treat gastro-oesophageal reflux. But some were small, didn't last very long, and weren't of very high-quality. [2]

In one larger study with more than 100 children aged 2 weeks to 4 months, babies who had the pre-thickened formula Enfamil AR brought food up on fewer occasions than babies who used a standard formula. Children who had the thickened feed were also less likely to choke or gag. [9]

Thickening feeds helps children to keep them down, but they may be more likely to:

  • Cough when they have thicker feeds [2]

  • Get diarrhoea if they have a feed thickened with carob flour [2]

  • Put on too much weight. Feeds thickened with rice cereal have more calories than unthickened feeds. So your doctor may want you to weigh your child regularly.

If you use a thickened feed, you'll probably need to make the hole in the teat of your child's bottle a little bigger, so that the feed will come out properly.

You can't use food thickeners if you are breastfeeding your baby. Experts recommend that you should give your baby only breast milk for the first six months, if possible. [10] So, if you're breastfeeding and your baby is having problems with bringing up food, your doctor may suggest you use another treatment instead, such as sodium alginate.



A calorie is a unit that is used to tell how much energy is found in food. But when we talk about how many calories food contains, we actually mean kilocalories, or kcal, which contain 1,000 'small' calories. When your body stores energy instead of using it, you get heavier. This is why you gain weight if you eat foods that are high in calories and the energy is stored instead of used. If your daily calorie intake is the same as the amount of energy your body uses up, your weight will remain the same. If you consume more calories than your body uses, you put on weight. Foods containing fat are high in calories.


Diarrhoea is when you have loose, watery stools and you need to go to the toilet far more often than usual. Doctors say you have diarrhoea if you need to go to the toilet more than three times a day.

For more terms related to GORD in children


For references related to GORD in children click here.
Last Updated: March 13, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
smiling african american woman
Best kept secrets for beautiful hair
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
nappy being changed
How to change your baby's nappy
woman using moisturizer
Causes and home solutions
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
bag of crisps
Food cravings that wreck your diet
woman with cucumbers on eyes
How to banish dark circles and bags
probiotic shakes
Help digestion
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting