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Strategies to support your baby overcome reflux

As a maternity nurse consultant, I come across babies who present reflux symptoms every day. Most of the time, parents are overwhelmed by their new life with baby and on top of that they realize that baby has a health issue. It is always hard as parents to find out that their baby has a reflux.

The usual symptoms are :

  • Signs of pain or discomfort when feeding.

  • A baby arching their back and turning their head.

  • Crying for long periods of time and becoming irritable during and after feeds.

  • Choking or coughing during a feed or seeming to have a sore throat.

  • Spitting up milk during or after feeds at least once a day.

  • Fighting feeding or refusing to feed.

  • Difficulty to fall asleep/ Uncomfortable in a lying down position

  • Persistent hiccups.

  • Frequent ear infections (signs for baby up to 4 months)

  • Skin rash (for baby with milk intolerance)

At first, I would recommend that you burp your baby regularly throughout feeding. To give your baby smaller but more frequent feeds. You should hold your baby upright for a period of time after feeding. In addition, if your baby is formula fed, use thicker milk formulas that are less likely to be brought back up.

Others useful tips:

o Making each feed calm and relaxed and keeping baby in a sitting position during feedings and for at least 20 minutes afterwards can help relieve some of the discomfort associated with the reflux.

o Feeding baby without delay. They may have swallowed air if they have cried for a long time before a feed.

o Check the size of the bottle teat. The bottle should leak several drops of milk per second. A hole that is too big will let baby swallow too quickly and they are likely to spit up the excess. A hole that is too small forces baby to suck very hard and swallow air.

o Burping them several times during each feeding.

o Make sure nappies are not too tight and do not put pressure on your baby’s stomach. Avoid legging or baby tight.

These tips are generic and different depending on each baby and their age. During my consultations, I can provide you support and guidance to overcome reflux but if your baby has reflux symptoms I would recommend to consult your GP first. Reflux signs can be related to milk allergies/intolerances or something else.

Written by Mathilde Allemand

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