Advice on Dealing with a Baby with Reflux

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If your baby suffers from reflux, here are some suggestions to help soothe their discomfort:

  • Feed your baby in an upright position. Keep their body straight with their head higher than their stomach.
  • After a feed, try to keep your baby in an upright position for at least 30 minutes. Try to avoid an upright seated position as this can put extra pressure on their abdomen.
  • Don’t put your baby to bed straight after a feed or place them flat on their back.
  • If possible, change your baby’s nappy before a feed rather than after to avoid placing them on their back with a full tummy. Avoid lifting baby’s legs too high during a change; try rolling your baby to the side instead.
  • Try giving smaller feeds at more frequent intervals.
  • Consider offering your baby a dummy; the swallowing action may help your baby to settle.
  • Avoid bouncing your baby too hard. You may need to remind family and friends of this.
  • Avoid any tight clothing around their waist such as tight nappies or elastic waistbands.
  • Burp your baby frequently during a feed, e.g. after finishing each side in a breastfed baby, and after every 30–60 ml for formula-fed babies.
  • Massage can help soothe your baby and also help them to digest.
  • Recurrent reflux may be a sign of a food allergy or intolerance. If you have any concerns about your baby, talk to a healthcare professional.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or exhausted from trying to manage your baby’s reflux, here are some practical tips to help make things easier:

  • Dress your baby in easy-to-wash singlets or jumpsuits. Buy lots so you have a steady supply of clean ones. You might be able to stock up at your local op shop to get you through the first few months.
  • Pick a special sofa or chair for when you're sitting with your baby, and cover it with a sheet or towel. Have a spare cover so you can wash one while using the other.
  • Use a washable cover on your baby's car seat or pram, and again, have a spare so you can wash one and use one.
  • Put wipe-down covers on the back seat of your car to protect the upholstery.
  • Pack one or two spare tops for you, as well as clothes for your baby in your nappy bag. Take a few plastic carrier bags for soiled clothing.
  • White or pale cotton tops won't show milk stains, and can be washed with baby whites.
  • If your baby has been crying constantly, go for a walk outside if you can to help clear your head.
  • Put your voice mail on/take the phone off the hook so you can get a chance to rest.
  • Keep a portable phone/mobile beside you during your baby’s feeding times, so you don’t have to get up to answer it after you’re settled.