Reflux is a very challenging problem for parents of young babies. As I nurse, I know all too well that many times it can cause parents to feel helpless and discouraged. 9 moms with hands-on experience caring for a baby with reflux are here to share their best tips and advice with you!
I’m SO GLAD they did, because sometimes the best advice comes from a mother whose really been there in the thick of it. And also because, every baby is different. What works for one baby, might not work for another. It’s so encouraging to have a variety of perspectives from different moms.
First of all, what is reflux?
Reflux is just your baby passively “spitting up” whatever they have just swallowed. Reflux is normal and is often the result of a baby’s underdeveloped esophagus (food canal).
Most babies usually outgrow reflux by 12-14 months of age, when the ring of muscle at the bottom of their esophagus fully develops and closes off, preventing stomach contents from leaking out. It’s unusual if reflux continues at 18 months.
What are the symptoms of reflux?
When babies spit up a lot and it affects their growth or causes throat pain or breathing problems, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. In addition to spitting up or vomiting, symptoms may include:
- coughing or gagging during feedings
- showing signs of abdominal pain
- arching their back
- drawing up their legs
- waking up screaming.
What do other moms have to say about caring for a baby with reflux?
It’s all about positioning.
“Raise the crib on one end with books or wood blocks. Not a TON just enough to “prop up” without using pillows. Make sure u feed/burp (sitting up on lap) very well. Also maybe change eating habits if breastfeeding or change to a different formula that targets help with reflux. Good luck” — Alisa
“I always used a pillow with our babies when they hit 6 months old. Gripe water works when added to a bottle and never straight water under 6 months old as it can shut down a babies organs. Mylicon works and switching to Gentlease formula worked wonders on our baby with reflux” — Elizabeth
“A folded blanket under one end of the mattress also helps to elevate without something being in the crib. I found that I couldn’t drink coffee while breast feeding my oldest.” — Jennifer
Special formulas and medications that work.
“BioGaia makes L. Rueteri drops that have been shown in studies to help with reflux (plus, it’s great to help them start off their gut flora) and digestion, which will naturally help with sleep issues. You can get powdered versions, but the drops are SO much easier to give to babies. Not cheap, though….” – Kate
“My daughter was on Prevacid from about 3 weeks to 6 mo old. We kept her upright for about 30 minutes after feedings and burped her well. If you run the heel of your hand in an upward motion along left side of baby’s back it gets some great burps out. Read that on a reflux when my daughter was an infant. Combo of all these things definitely helped” – Jessica
“I highly recommend the Fisher-Price Rock N Play. It’s a perfect angle, and we had no trouble transitioning back to crib. One additional thing, even when my son was 3 months old the pediatrician recommended adding rice cereal to the formula to weigh it down. I personally didn’t notice a huge difference and with rice formula comes constipation. So pick your poison.
Many physicians recommend Nutramigen, but I personally did not like using it. If you will look at the ingredients you will see that it is 55% to 65% corn syrup solids! Soy formulas may not be great for growing male infants as it naturally contains estrogen and I found an insufficient amount of studies have been completed to know if there are any bad effects.” – Nicole
Finding the right balance.
“I was totally clueless about babies even having reflux and it being bad enough that they would need medication for it. Our pediatrician said most all newborns have some reflux, it’s just to what degree and severity. After many doctor trips and lots of research on my own and lots of trial and error we found a few things that worked for us. I know how truly hard it can be when your little one has reflux, so I am always happy to share what worked for us in hopes that it may help someone else!
There is no miracle cure or fix unfortunately. Just time, maturation of baby’s systems with age, and boatloads of patience. I forgot to add to try to feed upright as well. If breastfeeding, do football hold and try to incline baby as much as possible or if bottle feeding use bouncy seat or feed them upright in your lap. Also, once my little girl could roll both ways she was a tummy sleeper which a lot of reflux babes are. Sleep for everyone improved significantly when she could put herself how she was comfortable. But the Fisher-Price Rock N Play was definitely a life saver for us up until then!” –Jessica
Changing things up.
“When diagnosed with reflux we did several things. We changed bottles to Dr. Brown from Medela, offered more frequent smaller feedings (at 5.5 months old, he still ate every 2 hours), Fisher-Price Rock N Play was a life saver, started medication, and made sure she was fed sitting inclined and burped well” –Jennifer
“Lifting up the crib a little helped with mine as well. I also laid a small weighted beanbag on his tummy when I swaddled him, and the pressure seemed to help him pass the painful gas and reflux. I also had to avoid all dairy when breastfeeding him.” – Ginger
Want more on babies?
- Why Do Babies Fight Sleep?
- My Top 10 Newborn Sleep Tips
- Best New Mom Survival Tips from Moms Who’ve Been There
What was your baby’s experience with reflux? What worked for him or her? Let’s chat in the comments!
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