What to expect when your baby has reflux

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Reflux is a very common condition for new-borns, but it is perfectly normal and is caused by the oesophagus (your baby’s food pipe) naturally developing as they get older. The condition normally affects babies from birth to one year old, however in some cases it can last slightly longer. The condition ends when the muscles around the oesophagus have developed fully, and at this point your baby’s digestive system is strong enough to keep food down.

What are the symptoms of reflux?

When your baby’s spitting up or returning of feeds becomes more consistent, they may have reflux. Babies with reflux will sometimes spit up several times each day, especially during or directly after feeds. During feeding time, your baby may also gag or refuse feeds and show signs of choking. If feeding time stresses your baby and causes agitation and crying, it’s highly likely they are suffering from reflux.

Not all the signs of reflux present themselves during feeding, some will be ongoing. Hiccupping, coughing or crying excessively are all symptoms of reflux. Even ear infections can be traced back to the condition, especially when they occur more than once.

What conditions are similar to reflux?

In some rare cases, what may look like reflux may in fact be a more serious condition. GORD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), is a long-term form of reflux which affects adults in the form of heartburn and an overly-acidic stomach.

Your baby may also suffer from a cow’s-milk allergy, which will cause rashes, diarrhoea and vomiting. This can be easily treated by removing cow’s milk, however it is worth noting that some babies grow out of the condition.

In a small number of cases, reflux may cause a blockage in the intestine or stomach due to a narrowing of the oesophagus. Givining your baby the option to lie on their front for supervised tummy time can help relieve reflux symptoms. Unlike car seats, baby chairs and rockers, the babocush allows your baby to rest comfortably on their front with the airways relaxed and open instead of slumped over – which places pressure on the airways.

What can you do to relieve a baby with reflux?

If your baby is putting on weight, you generally do not need to treat reflux, but you can make small changes to ease the side effects.

Most of the solutions revolve around feeding practices. Try making these small changes to your feeding routine and see if they help:

  • Break up feeding at regular intervals to burp or wind your baby. Smaller, more regular feeds can alleviate pressure on the digestive system.
  • After feeding, don’t put your baby flat on their back straight away. Resting on their stomach or in an upright position is better. Ask your doctor or midwife about using thicker feeding formulas which are less likely to be brought back up.
  • Remember, if your baby is not keeping down food at all or is not putting on weight, you must contact a medical professional.

For more tips info on reflux and how the babocush can help soothe your baby, read our FAQs here.

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