Your infant may be having reflux if they have been crying a lot and appear to be uneasy both during and after feedings. When the contents of the stomach flow back up into the esophagus, it is referred to as reflux, commonly known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER) in newborns. We’ll delve deeper into the origins, signs, and treatments of reflux in babies in this blog post.
What is Reflux in Babies?
When the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus, is not fully developed or functioning properly, reflux occurs. This allows stomach contents, such as stomach acid and food, to return to the esophagus.
Symptoms of Reflux in Babies
The symptoms of reflux in babies can be varied and may include:
- Spitting up frequently after feedings
- Arching their back or stiffening their body during or after feedings
- Refusing to feed or pulling away during feedings
- Crying excessively, especially after feedings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Causes of Reflux in Babies
Reflux in babies can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
1. Immature digestive system
In infants, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) may not be fully developed, allowing stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus.
Excessively feeding your baby can put pressure on the LES, causing it to open and allowing stomach contents to flow back up.
3. Food Intolerances
Certain foods, such as cow’s milk, may cause reflux symptoms in some babies.
4. Positioning During Feeding
Feeding your baby in a position that is not upright can increase the likelihood of reflux.
Treatment Options for Reflux in Babies
If your baby is experiencing reflux, there are several things you can do to help ease their symptoms, including:
Feeding in an upright position: Feeding your infant in an upright position can help prevent stomach contents from running back up during and after feedings.
Burping your infant: Often burping your infant during feedings might assist in releasing any trapped air in the stomach, which can worsen reflux.
Smaller, more frequent feedings: Feeding your infant more frequently and in smaller amounts can help prevent overfeeding and lower the risk of reflux.
Medication: Your pediatrician may occasionally suggest medication to assist lessen the symptoms of reflux in your infant.
Related: When Can You Stop Burping a Baby?
Infants frequently experience reflux, which may be uncomfortable and upsetting for both you and your baby. It’s crucial to consult your physician if you think your infant may be having reflux in order to identify the underlying reason and go over available treatments. You may make your baby feel more at ease and content before and after feedings by helping them understand the signs, causes, and available treatments for reflux in babies.
How to Manage Reflux in Babies: 7 Tips for Parents
Managing reflux in babies can be challenging, but there are several things parents can do to reduce their baby’s symptoms and make them more comfortable. Let us explore some of the things you can do;
1. Monitor Feeding Habits
Overfeeding is a major contributor to reflux in babies. Watch your baby’s feeding habits and avoid giving them too much formula or breast milk at once. Furthermore, breastfeeding mothers should ensure that their babies are latching properly.
2. Keep Your Baby Upright After Feedings
You can prevent your baby from vomiting back up stomach contents by keeping him upright after feedings. When your baby has been fed, you should hold him or her upright for at least 20-30 minutes on your shoulder or in a baby carrier.
3. Try Different Feeding Positions
You can experiment with different feeding positions to find the one that works best for your baby. There are some babies who prefer to be fed in an upright position, while there are others who prefer to be lying down while they eat.
4. Burp Your Baby Frequently
Your baby may experience reflux if he or she burps frequently after feedings and during the feeding process. Burping can help release the air trapped in the stomach, which contributes to reflux. Try burping your baby every 5-10 minutes during feedings.
5. Elevate Your Baby’s Head
While your baby sleeps, elevating his or her head can help prevent stomach contents from returning to the throat. Under your baby’s mattress, you can place a pillow or rolled-up blanket but always consult your pediatrician first to make sure it’s safe.
6. Avoid Overstimulation
The overstimulation of your baby may lead to fussiness and agitation, which may worsen reflux symptoms. Make sure your baby’s environment is calm and quiet, and avoid overstimulating activities like playing with noisy toys.
7. Consider Medication
If your baby suffers from reflux symptoms, medication may be necessary to manage them. The amount of acid in your baby’s stomach may be reduced with medications such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors prescribed by your pediatrician.
If your baby suffers from reflux, you can help alleviate their symptoms and make them more comfortable by monitoring feeding habits, keeping them upright, trying different feeding positions, burping often, elevating their heads, avoiding overstimulation, and considering medication. Talk to your pediatrician for guidance and support if you have questions about how to manage reflux in your baby.