What Is Reflux: Signs, Symptoms and Remedies

Posted by Kerry Nevins on

Although baby reflux is common, it can be worrying for parents and caregivers. Whilst it’s advisable to seek medical advice to confirm a diagnosis of baby reflux, there are plenty of ways to ease your baby’s discomfort.

What is Reflux?

Baby reflex occurs when the infant’s milk travels back up their oesophagus, rather than sitting in the stomach. In the first year of life, the muscle which holds food in the stomach may not work correctly all of the time, which results in food or milk and stomach acid travelling back up the oesophagus. 

Signs and symptoms of baby reflux can include:

  • Bringing up milk during a feed or shortly afterwards
  • Hiccupping or coughing when feeding
  • Not settling or crying, particularly after a feed
  • Being unsettled whilst feeding
  • Gulping or swallowing after feeding or burping
  • Not gaining weight or losing weight

In some cases, a baby may exhibit signs of reflux without actually bringing any milk up. This is known as silent reflux and should be treated in the same way as standard baby reflux. 

Baby Reflux Remedies

Most parents recognise that their baby has reflux when there is a lot of and signs of distress during or after feeding. Whilst wind / gas or baby colic can cause similar symptoms, reflux is extremely common in infants under the age of one year. 

If your baby has reflux, their positioning is extremely important. When feeding, you should hold your baby upright as this minimises the chances of milk travelling back up the oesophagus. Similarly, holding your baby upright for as long as possible after feeding can help to minimise the effects of baby reflux. 

Of course, it isn’t always realistic to hold your baby upright for long periods of time. Fortunately, you can use specially designed products to assist you. With the Babocush, for example, your baby is supported in a semi-upright position, just as they would be in your arms. With a five-point harness to fasten them securely, you can be sure your baby is safe whilst they’re gently soothed. The gentle vibrations and heartbeat help further to relieve the symptoms of wind / gas pains and colic, as well as reflux. 

Should you Seek Medical Help? 

It’s always useful to obtain a proper medical diagnosis for any condition your baby is experiencing. Even though reflux can often be easily managed at home, it’s important that your GP or health visitor is aware of any conditions your infant may be experiencing. 

It’s particularly important that you seek medical assistance if your baby is failing to gain weight or is losing weight. In some instances, reflux can prevent your baby from thriving because they are unable to keep their milk down. If so, your GP may advise a course of medication or may supplement your baby’s current formula or breast milk. Similarly, you should always seek medical help if your baby begins to experience reflux after six months or their symptoms continue when they are over the age of 12 months. 

Although it can be distressing for both babies and parents when reflux occurs, it is a common condition which can typically be resolved by making slight alterations to your baby’s feeding routines and positions. 

Want to read more on reflux and ways you can cope with it? Check out our blog post our six tips on how to cope with baby reflux.

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