Baby reflux: understanding what your baby’s reflux is and dealing with it

It is estimated that baby reflux affects more than 20 percent new born babies. So what exactly is baby reflux?

Baby reflux can be compared to the heartburn you experienced throughput your pregnancy. The only difference is you knew how to seek medical help, but babies can’t do that.

Baby reflux occurs when food and acid from your baby’s stomach flows back into the food pipe causing your baby pain and discomfort. When a baby is suffering from an acid reflux it is usually accompanied by vomiting. There is also silent reflux where the food doesn’t come out of your baby’s mouth but can cause more damage because it’s difficult to diagnose.

Effect on your family

It’s hard for your relatives or friends to imagine the effects of baby reflux on your family. Most people think it’s normal and common for a baby to vomit or cry constantly, they don’t realize how this can affect your baby’s sleep, growth and development.

It may be hard for you and your partner to watch your baby cry throughout the day and night. Having an infant who suffers from acid reflux might also increase your load of cleaning and washing. You will have baby vomit everywhere – on clothes, furniture, bed and other household things.

You might start to avoid meeting your friends and family for fear your baby will create a mess by vomiting in their homes. You might not want to be an inconvenience.

When will baby reflux stop?

Most babies stop suffering from baby reflux the moment they start to crawl or are able to move by themselves. Most babies usually stop having acid reflux by the time they are six to eight months old. Baby reflux is hardly seen in infants past 12 months.

How do I identify baby reflux?

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you are baby is crying because of a reflux or other problems. Here are some common signs you can look for,

  • Frequent crying accompanied by screaming and irritability
  • Your baby appears to be in pain
  • Your baby is unable to sleep
  • Your baby has respiratory problems like coughing, chest infections or choking
  • No noticeable weight gain and weight loss
  • Infections of ear, nose or throat
  • Your baby refuses to feed

Useful tips to manage baby reflux

Don’t beat yourself up and think you are a bad mum because you can’t handle a crying baby. Remember you are doing your best to help your baby and seek medical help if you need more information. There are several tips you can follow to avoid acid reflux in your baby,

  • Put your baby in loose fitting and comfortable clothes and avoid clothes that are too tight especially around the waist.
  • Don’t bounce your baby or turn it around especially after your baby has fed.
  • It’s a good idea to keep a towel handy when you are carrying your baby – this will prevent your baby vomiting on your dress.
  • Use a baby bib with plastic backing.
  • Hold your baby upright and place a mat on either side of your baby’s cot to catch large spills.
  • Avoid over feeding your baby.

It is always a good idea to speak to other new parents and share experiences; they might have some tips that helped their infant with reflux.