Baby Reflux: Everything You Need To Know
What is baby reflux?
Reflux is a condition common among infants, whereby contents of your baby's belly come back into their mouth in excess. The condition is a result of weak muscles at the bottom of little one’s food pipe. Parents or caregivers might notice it when the baby is 8 weeks old. Usually, most babies have the condition up to 12 months of age. Reflux, as mentioned earlier, is common, and up to 40% of babies experience it during their early months of life. Even though most children will simply grow out of it, it's important to keep an eye for some signs that may lead to more serious problems.
Reflux can be disturbing and is a topic worth discussing. Different babies may present different signs, but the most common ones are discussed in the subsequent sections. In this article, you will also get the answers to the most popular questions asked. Keep reading.
Common symptoms your baby has Reflux
- Excessive spitting after feeding
- Choking and gagging during feeding
- Refusing to eat
- Coughing and recurrent pneumonia
- Ear infections
- Poor weight gain or loss.
The frequent spitting up of food or milk can cause your baby discomfort and this may result in them refusing to feed. Your baby isn't just whining, the condition is usually painful, and your baby might be having a burning sensation on their food tract.
One of the things that needs to be monitored closely in case of reflux, is the baby's weight. If the child's weight is to be monitored you should check it on a baby scale at least once a week.
Another very important symptom to watch out for is if at any point the milk has entered the respiratory tract, as that can cause chemical or bacterial infections, including the pneumonia.
When stomach contents are getting regurgitated into the mouth, it may come out through the nose, and over time can cause pneumonia respiratory issues in your young one. The above are common telltale signs. The good news is that if the condition is usually not severe, and you can manage it naturally, by making a few changes in your baby feeding routine.
What is the right bottle and feeding position?
You can relieve your little one from acid reflux by making a few adjustments. One of the most recommended ways is to use a safe and anti-colic feeding bottle. The bottle releases the right amount of milk or formula when the baby is feeding, and your baby doesn't struggle with gulping excess milk. Also, the bottle reduces the amount of air your baby swallows when feeding. You should also invest in silicone teats of the right size depending on the age of your child to make sure the baby is only getting the right amount of milk they can swallow without a struggle and to minimize taking in gas. Passing air excessively during feeding is one of the reasons why most babies get gassy.
Making a few changes to the feeding position can help improve the condition. First, you need to make sure your little one latches the breast nipple correctly while feeding. Just remember reflux can occur while breastfeeding too. Nipple shields not only protect the nipples while breastfeeding but they can also be a great help to minimize gas and passing on the food a bit slower. This ensures that they are feeding at the right pace, and they are passing less gas into their system. Also, holding your baby in an upright position helps to keep the food content down in the stomach with the help of gravity.
Feeding and after feeding routine for a baby with Reflux
As mentioned earlier, the slightest change in your baby’s feeding routine can help a great deal with reflux. It’s no fun to have a child losing or not adding weight as they ought because they can’t keep food, milk, or formula in the stomach. These might save you from long nights of watching over a fussy baby and probably trying to soothe them all night long;
- Try feeding them more frequent small volumes. It helps the baby from feeling uncomfortably full, which results in spitting up. If the contents stay in the stomach, your baby won’t be having an irritated gut, and they won’t dread feeding.
- Make sure your baby is being in a more upright position throughout the feeding. Gravity will help their weaker muscles at the bottom of their esophagus to hold the food down.
- Keep winding the baby during feeding. This helps release any gas swallowed in the feeding process.
- Hold the baby in an upright position for a while after feeding. Try holding them up on your chest and massage their back to help them burp.
- Feed your baby long enough before bedtime. It gives the food time to settle and prevents it from coming back up when you put them to bed.
- When the time comes, introduce solid foods. Solid foods are easier to keep down than liquids. It should be easy if your baby is not exclusively breastfeeding. If there are formula-fed, you can get them a pre-thickened formula.
Why is baby Reflux worse some days?
Just like an adult experiencing heartburn when they consume certain foods, the baby’s symptoms of reflux may worsen when the baby feeds food with more acidity. This in return irritates their gut even more. Generally, reflux comes and goes with feedings.
Why baby reflux worsens at night, and how can you help your little one?
The condition is still there during the day, but the symptoms might get worse at night. One reason is that your baby is lying down at night, and therefore, acid might be coming up to their throat. The only reason your baby gets fussier at night is that they are irritated and unable to sleep.
The best way to help your baby at night is to raise their cot so that it slants a bit. Do not add a pillow to raise your child's head. Rather, raise the cot itself to make sure that your baby sleeps on a uniform surface that is slanting a bit. This will help with keeping the food down.
Another solution can be a dry hot water bottle Left on yours baby belly or back for a bit can help to heat up and fast up the digesting process.
Please do not treat the contents of the article as the substitute for medical advice, from a medical professional.