Spitting up is a common occurrence in babies, but when it happens frequently, it may indicate a more serious condition known as reflux. Reflux occurs when the muscles of the lower esophagus become weak or relax inappropriately, causing milk or stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. Understanding the signs of reflux and learning how to feed your baby with reflux can help your baby to eat comfortably and reduce the chances of them experiencing pain or discomfort.
Signs of Reflux
Reflux can be difficult to identify in babies, as spitting up is a normal part of their development. However, if your baby is spitting up more than usual, or if their spit-up is accompanied by other symptoms, it may be a sign of reflux. These symptoms include:
- Frequent spitting up, even after meals
- Frequent coughing or gagging
- Difficulty swallowing
- Irritability during or after eating
- Refusing to eat
- Weight loss
If your baby is displaying any of these signs, it is important to speak to your doctor to determine if your baby is suffering from reflux.
How to Feed a Baby with Reflux
Once it is confirmed that your baby has reflux, there are a few steps you can take to help them eat comfortably. These include:
Keep them upright: Try to keep your baby upright for at least 30 minutes after meals. This can help to reduce the chances of stomach acid flowing back up into the esophagus.
Avoid overfeeding: Overfeeding can increase the chances of your baby spitting up. Try to feed your baby smaller amounts more frequently, rather than one large meal.
Offer smaller, thicker feeds: Thickening feeds with rice cereal can help to reduce the chances of reflux.
Avoid tight clothing: Tight clothing can put pressure on the stomach, which can cause reflux. Try to dress your baby in loose clothing to reduce the chances of this happening.
Try different formulas: If your baby is formula-fed, there are special formulas available that can help to reduce the chances of reflux. Speak to your doctor about which formula is best for your baby.
Give time to digest: Give your baby time to digest their food before playing or lying down. This can help to reduce the chances of reflux.
By following these steps, you can help your baby to eat comfortably and reduce the chances of them experiencing pain or discomfort.