What is Baby Reflux?

infant-reflux

“My pediatrician says my baby has reflux! She says there are medications to help. I really don’t want my baby to take medicine. He’s so little. But I also don’t want him to suffer and spit up so much. What should I do? Can you help me?”

Although the diagnosis of reflux seems ominous, keep in mind that ALL babies have reflux to some degree. The sphincter muscle that separates the stomach and the esophagus is loose and lets fluids go back and forth. That’s why it’s common for babies to spit up after a meal. If your baby seems uncomfortable, however, he may need some help.

Many of my clients have babies who have been diagnosed with reflux. Simple changes in feeding posture or management can decrease symptoms substantially. Most of my clients do not need to medicate their babies.

If your baby is squirmy, uncomfortable and excessively “spitty” during or after feeds, he may simply be eating too much or too quickly. Do you have an over-abundant milk supply? Does your baby struggle to “keep up” when breastfeeding? Is he gaining weight rapidly?  If yes, you can try:

  • Give your baby frequent burping breaks.

  • Keep baby on one side per feeding.

  • Position your baby at an incline so that his trunk is higher than his hips and his spine is straight. Try the Pollywog Nursing Positioner at www.pollywogbaby.com.

  • Try breastfeeding lying on your side with baby beside you.

If your baby has green, frothy stools in addition to discomfort, he may be struggling with a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. This is usually corrected easily by offering just one breast per feeding. Be sure to check with your pediatrician or lactation consultant to ensure your baby is is gaining well before making any changes to your feeding routine.

For more information on infant reflux, including helpful products, please see www.pollywogbaby.com

Written by Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC. Renee is a lactation consultant in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is available for home/hospital visits and phone consultations. Renee can be reached at www.second9months.com

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