Reflux is a backward flow of the contents of the stomach into the esophagus that causes heartburn. It's one of the most common conditions newborns face and is often caused by the esophageal sphincter valve not being fully developed. This causes milk to come back up the esophagus through the throat and causes baby to spit up and vomit. When the contents of the stomach come back up, it is usually mixed with some stomach acid, which creates a burning sensation.
Over the counter medicines may be prescribed by baby's pediatrician but it's important to remember that while they may help soothe the burning sensation, they do not "cure" reflux and are not always recommended for babies under 1 year of age.
Here are 5 Tips to Help Your Reflux Baby:
1. Keep baby elevated while feeding. Gravity helps hold contents in the belly, and reduces the amount of spit up. Do not place baby where he/she can easily slide down or be in a "scrunched up" position.. This puts pressure on the belly and force contents up.
2. Burp frequently during feeding. This helps keep air out of the belly. Air bubbles can force milk back up the esophagus, causing pain and discomfort. After each ounce of feeding or even more often can be considered frequent.
3. Have smaller and more frequent feedings. When baby is too full, it can put pressure on the sphincter valve forcing the baby to spit up. This can cause pain and also lead to choking.
4. Fill the bottle nipple with fluid. If baby is bottle-fed, make sure the entire nipple on the bottle is filled with fluid to avoid swallowing excess air.
5. Try Coleif drops. Some babies have reflux not only due to immature sphincter valves, but because they have trouble digesting lactose in milk. This can lead to bloating, gas, discomfort, and a lot of crying. Coleif is a natural lactase enzyme that helps to break down lactose in an infant’s breast milk or milk-based formula . (This isn't sponsored, we've just seen it work!)
If baby is still fussy, view this comprehensive article about why baby may be crying after feeding, and for more tips on soothing baby please visit Top 10 Ways to Calm Your Baby.