BLOG

Breastfeeding and baby vomit almost go hand in hand. The chances you’ve been covered in said vomit at least once in your child’s life are quite high! All babies spit up their feeds or experience baby reflux symptoms and dealing with it is just part of being a parent. But when it happens frequently, it can be very distressing both for you and your baby. In this post, we explore the topic of reflux in babies and offer some tips to help you if your little one suffers from baby reflux.

 Reflux in babies

What is it?

Reflux in babies occurs when the food they’ve consumed passes back up from their stomach into their oesophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach). Sometimes the baby will swallow this back down (often known as ‘silent reflux) or they will spit it out.

Babies spend the majority of their time lying down and this position can exacerbate reflux symptoms. They also have a relatively small oesophagus and depending on their age, a predominantly liquid diet, which all contribute too.

Most babies will experience baby reflux symptoms but will slowly outgrow them. Others suffer more frequent baby reflux with associated pain and various behavioural effects.

 

How do I know if my baby’s reflux is more than just a stage?

If your little one has baby reflux symptoms but remains happy and continues to put on weight, the chances they will outgrow it are quite good. In the meantime, ensure you have a good supply of vomit cloths and changes of clothes when feeding (see below for some further tips).

But if your child experiences any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, it is a good idea you seek professional medical advice:

 

When feeding, they:

– pull away and arch their back

– refuse to feed or only consume small portions even though they are obviously hungry

– cry during, or immediately after, feeds

– gulp loudly, gag or splutter

– have trouble swallowing

 

In general, they:

– seem to be in pain, particularly after feeds

– experience bouts of recurrent hiccups

– vomit or regurgitate excessively

– have ‘wet’ sounding burps or hiccups

– are irritable or have periods of prolonged and excessive crying or screaming

– are restless or easily disturbed when sleeping

– exhibit respiratory problems such as coughing or wheezing or have recurring chest infections

– have inadequate weight gain or excessive weight loss

 

Please note - your child may not show all these signs.

 

How can I prevent reflux?

If your child has mild baby reflux symptoms, the following ideas might help you:

  1. Try breastfeeding in an upright position - sit baby upright on your lap, facing towards your breast and feed. Or lie down with her on top of you. You can also try feeding standing up using a baby carrier for support.
  2. After a feed, hold baby in an upright position for at least 20 minutes. Don’t jiggle her around.
  3. Experiment with smaller, more frequent feeds. Large feeds can cause increased baby reflux symptoms due to a higher volume of liquid in baby’s little tummy.

 

If your child’s baby reflux symptoms are more severe, visit a health professional for advice. Keep a diary of your baby’s reflux symptoms to show your doctor. Note down things like how often he feeds, if his bouts of crying and pain correlate to feed times, how much he is bringing back up, how often and so on.

 

How do I cope with my baby’s reflux?

Having a child with baby reflex is hard work. Here’s a few tips that may help make things a little easier:

  • Only feed in one place. Cover the area with a protective waterproof sheet or blanket. Ensure you have a spare one to use while the other is in the wash.
  • Onesies are perfect for reflux babies as they are easy to get on and off, wash and dry quickly and are relatively cheap so you can buy lots!
  • Choose white whenever you can, for yourself and baby, as you can magic away milk stains more easily.
  • When out and about, always have a spare change or two for both you and baby including plastic bags to hold stained clothing.
  • Consider covering your car seats with protective coverings to catch any projectile vomits.

 

Baby reflux can have a huge impact you and your child’s life. If it’s severe, it’s important you get both professional and personal support. There are a number of infant reflux organisations and support groups in Australia and we encourage you to seek them out. You’ll feel much better knowing you’re not the only one.

 

As always, we provide this information for your reference but keep in mind it is not professional health or medical advice. We encourage you to speak to your GP or specialist if you have concerns about your child’s health and development.