Managing Your Little One’s Reflux
Reflux is a topic that I am so passionate about, having experienced tummy issues with my own boys and hundreds of clients. In this post I want to share with you how you can manage your baby’s reflux, once you’ve diagnosed it. If you have landed on this blog post and you’re still trying to uncover whether your baby has reflux or not, click here to read my Signs of Baby Reflux post first.
If you have decided that your baby does have reflux, from your own research or from conversation with your Doctor or Health Visitor, and have identified some of the many, many symptoms that can cause reflux, you will possibly want some support with things that you can do to support your baby with it:
Whether you are breast or bottle feeding your baby, a top tip is to keep baby upright for a good 15 minutes after their feed. Because babies like to feed to sleep when they have reflux (because it’s more comfortable for them) what this means is that they’re often not being winded properly – which can then create further symptoms.
Wind your baby in a sitting position, whether that is on your lap, over your shoulder or pushing their legs up. This helps keep their milk down by decreasing any possible wind bubbles and will help them to feel more comfortable so that they can sleep for longer.
Move away from feeding to sleep – although this may comfort them it will create wind issues and, therefore, more disrupted and broken sleep. This would be my top tip to work on, if you are starting out with discovering how to manage your baby’s reflux.
If they do have reflux, often they’ll experience that reflux (regurgitation) halfway through or to the end of their sleep cycle. Once they’re relaxed, up comes the stomach acid which hurts and wakes them up because it is uncomfortable – this is, potentially, why they have quite short naps. If this is the case with your baby, you can try and raise the head of their cot or basket very safely. You can buy specialised wedges for this but do make sure it is safe. Gravity is baby’s friend with reflux because it helps to keep the milk and stomach acid down; raising the head end of their cot or sleep basket can be a real help with this.
Looking at the position that your baby sleeps in can be a good way to manage their reflux. You might find that your baby always sleeps better when they’re on you, this is because they’re upright and gravity is helping their stomachs so they feel more comfortable and can rest better. The safest place for a baby to sleep is on their back, as the SIDS, Lullaby Trust and NHS guidelines state, but this is sometimes not the best and most comfortable way for babies with reflux to sleep. It might be worth speaking to your GP or Paediatrician about seeing whether sleeping on their side or tummy might be more comfortable for your baby. As always, only attempt this after seeking medical guidance.
Feeding ‘little and often’
The idea with feeding little and often as a way to manage your baby’s reflux is because, quite often, reflux can be caused by babies gulping down their milk very quickly and guzzling it, which creates a lot of sick at the end of the feed. However, giving little and often can mean that they’re feeding very close to their nap time and so they’re very full before their nap if they are not winded well! The ‘little and often’ feed is something that you can attempt with trial and error, being aware of their awake windows and ensuring they’re feeding upright, then well-winded.
Look at why they have reflux
Accepting reflux is one thing but I’d really encourage you to look into the reasons behind why your baby has reflux. We are so often told that it’s normal for babies to be uncomfortable, but I’d really urge you to look into what is causing the reflux.
Please do hop over to my Reflux Online Course where there is far more information and practical actions that you can try, as well as the science behind why babies have reflux.