They say that having a baby is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life, so when you add to that a little bit of reflux, you’re playing a whole different ballgame. Infant reflux is more common than you might think, though, and it’s believed that around half of all babies under three months old can suffer from this problem with some babies continuing to have problems for up to two years.
Reflux is a gastro-oesophageal issue where the valve at the top of the stomach isn’t strong enough to keep food down, and a baby suffering from it will regularly regurgitate their feeds. Due to the sheer amount of milk babies drink in those early days, the problem can be quite a messy and unsettling one to see your little one dealing with.
One of the trickiest things about reflux is having it identified by a doctor, particularly if your child is suffering from silent reflux. This form of reflux means the baby can show different symptoms and sometimes won’t even throw up at all, so it can be extremely tricky to diagnose. Regardless of which type of reflux your baby has, it can be a constant problem up until they reach two years of age.
How You Can Help Your Reflux Baby
For those parents of a reflux baby, there is some good news out there. Countless babies have come before yours, so many parents have shared their top tips for how they managed to settle their baby.
Here are a few things you should consider so that you can ease symptoms and provide some relief if your baby is one of the unfortunate reflux sufferers.
- Always feed your baby in an upright position with their back straight and their head higher than their stomach.
- Before lying your baby down anywhere, ensure they have been upright for at least 30 minutes and burped successfully.
- Avoid tight clothing and nappies that may put unwanted pressure on their stomach.
- Change your baby’s nappy before a feed, otherwise lifting their legs to change once they’re done feeding may upset their stomach.
- Be gentle with your baby and advise visitors to do the same. Avoid bouncing and jumping.
- Utilise baby accessories such as swings that allow your bub to stay upright and happy, which will relieve some of the pain from their stomach and throat.
- If you suspect a food allergy, you may need to speak with a doctor about eliminating food from your diet in order to test how a specific food might be affecting your supply.
- Rather than offering one big feed, try to do smaller feeds at regular intervals so that it’s easier for their stomach to digest.
Not every method will work for your baby, but once you find the right one that works you’ll be able to use it as a go-to solution. Although it can be stressful and tiring dealing with a baby suffering from reflux, try to remind yourself that it’s a relatively short period of their younger years and it will be over before you know it.
The Treatment Options for Reflux
Some parents can treat their baby at home by applying some of the methods listed above, but there are cases where babies might need a little more assistance. If your baby is unable to grow out of their reflux on their own, your doctor may eventually suggest other methods.
The first thing a doctor may suggest is a change to how they’re fed, as sometimes overfeeding them can have an effect. Otherwise, there are ways to add rice cereal or formula to your milk so that it helps them to digest a little slower and easier. If this doesn’t work, there are some medications available that may have more success. However, this should only be done under the direction of your GP and with clear medical instruction.
A Baby Hurdle to Overcome
Life would be a lot easier if our new babies came with manuals, but unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Dealing with infant reflux can add a lot more stress to what should be an enjoyable time in your life, and it can make other problems seem more daunting. In most cases, though, your baby will eventually outgrow this terrible condition and will go on to be the happy and healthy baby that you hoped for.
If you think your baby might be suffering from reflux, the best approach is to speak with a child health nurse or GP and see what advice they can offer from there.
To read more about common problems in the first year of life and how you can be better equipped to deal with them, click here to check out the rest of the Peachymama blog.