Baby reflux can be unbelievably distressing for both babies and parents.
Whilst lots of babies show some signs of baby reflux, spitting up some of their feed, other babies – both breastfed and bottle fed – have chronic reflux symptoms, frequently bringing up all of their feed.
Chronic reflux can have knock on symptoms including: constant crying during feeds, refusal to feed and a basic failure to thrive. Reflux can also impact baby’s sleep as they just don’t get enough food to stay asleep comfortably.
So what can we do to relieve our baby’s reflux?
Well, there are all sorts of fancy remedies, tips and hacks out their for easing baby reflux but to be honest they can actually make reflux worse!!
The big problem – I learned the hard way – is that we lose sight of the really simple, often natural baby remedies that are most powerful because we’re so busy obsessively googling or wasting money on the latest “magic solution”.
So I’ve put together for you here a list of very simple, mostly natural, remedies for baby reflux that really can help with your baby’s symptoms.
I truly hope these simple reflux remedies help.
NB if your baby is very irritable during feeds and regularly bringing up a lot of their feed it is always best to see a doctor.
1. Basic Remedies For Reflux
These very basic remedies are super simple to build into your everyday rhythm but can really help ease baby reflux:
- Go for shorter more frequent feeds
- Burp baby gently during feeds
- Try to feed baby in a more upright position
- Try baby wearing i.e. carrying baby in a well supported sling so they don’t spend too much time on their back
- If not baby wearing, carry baby in a sling after feeds
- Try to get hold of a good – second hand – baby bouncer that lets them lie with their head slightly raised. (If you look out for the classic Baby Bjorn bouncer going second hand you’ll almost certainly get your money back when you sell it on as they hold their value).
- You can very slightly raise baby’s mattress – you don’t need to buy anything special – just use a towel.
These are not a magic cure for reflux symptoms but I do think they are a healthy baseline that can be very simply adopted without fuss.
2. Breastfeeding Reflux Remedies
Despite the claims of some breastfeeding advocates, breastfed babies can suffer with reflux symptoms just as much as bottle fed babies.
In addition to the basic remedies above, the simplest way we can help our baby with signs of reflux when breastfeeding is to:
- Express a little milk before the feed
This is because our initial milk in every feed is much thinner. The thick creamy stuff comes later on in the feed. It seems that babies with reflux can better handle the thicker stuff.
Now Pinterest and the internet are full of tips on foods to avoid when breastfeeding to prevent baby reflux. I have to say I’m sceptical but I’ll take you through all these tips in section 4.
3. Bottle Feeding Tips For Reflux
If you’re bottle feeding your baby, the simplest thing you can do to help with reflux symptoms is to slow down how quickly they feed by:
- Choosing teats with smaller teat holes
- Holding bottle more horizontally
It’s very easy to spend a small fortune obsessively trying out different baby bottles that all make great claims about reflux and baby colic.
I really wouldn’t. Most times it’s a waste of money.
It’s also very easy to get obsessed trying different types of milk. Again try not to. I know from bitter experience that obsessing about milk actually distracts us from connecting with our baby and an awful lot of the time that real connection is the most powerful we have remedy we have.
But if your baby is struggling with chronic reflux symptoms, you may want to try:
- A thicker milk
- Adding – as they get older – rice cereal to their milk
- Or buying formula milk with rice cereal added
- Or if there is a genuine history of lactose intolerance in your family a lactose free formula. “Frothy” poos can be a sign of dairy intolerance.
4. Foods To Avoid When Breastfeeding To Prevent Reflux
Lots of baby reflux tips advise breastfeeding mothers to avoid:
- Chocolate & caffeine because they trigger gastric acid
- Garlic, cabbage, cauliflower & other brassicas because they trigger excess wind
- Citrus fruits & tomatoes that make milk too acidic
- Dairy in case of dairy intolerance
Having – along with most of my friends – obsessively tinkered with my diet using these tips to reduce baby reflux and colic, I would say DON’T!!!
What I would do is:
- Keep your sugar and caffeine down because they feed stress hormones which more than anything make us and baby feel rubbish.
- Get plenty of rest – it’s the best remedy for better milk.
- Eat breakfast.
- Eat lunch.
- Eat dinner – no skipping ever!!
- Eat as balanced a diet as you can with lots of veggies and protein and iron as many of us are deficient in basic minerals and this will impact our milk and baby’s nutrition.
- Try – non-obsessively 😉 – to look after your own gut very gently. Lots of us are missing out on essential probiotics, especially after a c-section, that will keep our stomach – and our milk – balanced.
And there you go. Very simple but very powerful natural remedies for baby reflux that you can easily follow and that you’ll both feel better for.
Again, I truly hope they help. Please do share them if they did.
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