Baby Reflux: Things To Know

All you need to know about baby reflux

My child was not able to breathe because of his own vomit. My pediatrician told me he has GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease and reflux. Young children vomit medicines and milk very often and this is taken as a healthy sign in some families. But when this vomiting or reflux (regurgitation) also causes other problems, it is called GERD or infant reflux.

What are the common symptoms of reflux in babies?

Repeated vomiting is its main symptom. Vomiting causes some fluid to accumulate in the lungs, resulting in severe cold, cough, and chest congestion. Eventually, this leads to the baby eating less or sometimes, he may outright refuse to eat. Babies experience difficulty swallowing and feeding as it interferes with breathing, which itself becomes a struggle due to tightness of the chest and nose.

This happens when they cannot drink milk and are hungry, they cry a lot, which worsens the stiffness. They may also have stomach pain and gas.

In slightly older children, who are 5 – 6 months of age or older, GERD may cause “expelation” or regurgitation of food, especially during the evening or night.

The good news is that most babies become free of GERD symptoms by one and a half years of age or younger because GERD usually occurs while a newborn’s digestive system is developing.

So, the doctor has told me my child has GERD, what now?

Some tips that my pediatrician recommended that have helped me “manage” reflux for my babies are:

1. Feed the baby in a slightly upright position, usually at about a 45-degree angle to the waist.

2. Feed baby small amounts often rather than one large amount

3. Burp baby, even between feeds. Allow him to burp as soon as he finishes 1/3 of the desired feed. Do this 3 times until the child’s hunger goes away.

4. Even after burping, hold him upright for at least 20 – 25 minutes after feeding.

5. Check the size of the nipple, if applicable, as your baby may suckle the milk quickly or swallow a lot of air along with the milk.

6. In case of severe reflux, the doctor suggested putting my baby to sleep on his right side. Also, we had to raise his head and upper body about 45°. We arranged her bed in a way where we elevated her mattress with the help of extra, rolled regular sheets. We placed a large section at the top and slowly sloped it downwards so that the child was comfortable. The height lets us use gravity to our advantage, preventing food from flowing back up into the baby’s mouth. We placed another rolled sheet on his back to prevent him from rolling over.

7. Inadequate sterilization was also pointed out as a cause for the development of GERD. So we also focused on proper sterilization techniques.

It is worth noting here that continuously putting your baby to sleep on his right side can cause the baby’s head to become abnormally shaped. Make sure you sometimes put the baby to sleep on his back and also on his left side.

Hope my experience and tips help you especially if your baby unfortunately suffers from infant reflux. Some measures may help restore some comfort.

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