Baby reflux can be a potentially worrying (and messy) condition which can cause distress to both newborn babies and parents. Most newborn babies will bring up a little bit of milk or formula after feeding and this is perfectly normal (it’s largely known as posseting). But when this occurs frequently, it can be distressing for the whole family, interrupting sleep patterns and provoking worry among parents.
Baby reflux is most common in premature babies and those who spend most of their time on their backs. Because young babies have an entirely liquid diet there is more chance of their food escaping (refluxing) from the not-yet-fully-developed oesophagus and throat. However, baby reflux is nothing to panic about and rarely requires medical attention. Here are 6 ways in which parents can cope with it…
1. Change the Feeding Position
Some parents feed their babies while they are lying down, which makes sense as they are already relaxed and well disposed to a good feed. However, keeping them sitting or upright during feeding can help babies keep the milk or formula in their stomach.
Typically, your baby should be positioned so that they are facing the parent or caregiver’s body, meaning the head, shoulders and hips are in alignment. Some of the most commonly used positions include the clutch position, cradle position, cross-cradle position and side-lying position.
2. Keep Baby Upright After Feeding
As tempting as it may be to give baby some time to lie down after a big feed, this is one of the surest ways to provoke reflux. Instead, try keeping them upright as long as possible to help the milk work its way through the digestive system.
3. Don’t Forget to Burp Your Baby
Babies can swallow air when they feed which can leave them bloated and gassy and increase the chances of reflux occurring. Be sure to burp them regularly when feeding. Try burping them when switching breasts or 2-3 times throughout a bottle feed. To get your newborn to burp, hold them in an upright position and gently rub or pat their back. If your baby doesn't burp, simply wait a few minutes and try again.
4. Feed Little and Often
Babies’ digestive systems are not quite fully developed, so opting for more frequent but shorter feeds lightens the load on their system and aids harmonious digestion with much less chance of reflux. Feeding your baby little and often will help ensure that they never get hungry and you’ll never need to worry about overfeeding them (which can also be a cause of Colic).
5. Always Keep Spare Clothes Close to Hand
Despite your best efforts, your baby might still bring up some milk or formula every once in a while. This can be stressful for babies and parents, especially if neither of you has a change of clothes to hand. Keeping spare clothes (for baby and for you) in the changing bag can give you peace of mind, so you know you’ll be covered in the event of any accidents.
6. Use the Babocush to Help Baby Feel Calm and Serene
There’s less chance of reflux if your baby is feeling calm. The Babocush is designed to replicate womb-like conditions and the feeling of being held securely. The Babocush holds your baby in a very natural position, allowing the airways to relax at stay open as opposed to when sitting slumped over in a bouncer, rocker or car seat.
Finally, while baby reflux can be distressing for both parent and baby, it’s perfectly natural and usually ceases when your baby reaches around 18 months of age. It’s not a reflection on you as a parent.
Because honey, you’re doing great!