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How to Handle Reflux & Spit Up in Your Infant

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by: Courtney Key
Does your baby have reflux? Follow these first-hand tips for tips to help ease his discomfort.
Happy mom and baby boy

Most babies spit up, and some babies are diagnosed with acid reflux. I was a naive, mother-to-be who envisioned my son sleeping peacefully in his beautiful new crib -- a girl can dream, right? Fast forward a few months, and my son had two extremely sleep-deprived parents who were desperate to make him more comfortable. We knew that newborns didn't sleep for long periods of time, but we were concerned about how much pain our son seemed to have. He was diagnosed with reflux and a dairy intolerance when he was about 7 weeks old. After dealing firsthand with a fussy baby in pain, I'd like to share how we handled his reflux and spit up.

Cute baby in blanket

Question Your Pediatrician

From my personal experience, pediatricians are quick to dismiss frantic concerns from tired, new parents. If your gut tells you that something is up with your baby, it probably is, so speak up! I remember asking my pediatrician if we needed to speak with another doctor about our concerns regarding our son's potential condition, and that seemed to do the trick. She finally seemed to hear us out, and refer us to a GI doctor. Our GI doctor was able to provide medication for our son and made sure he was meeting the appropriate milestones during the first year of his life.

Elevated Sleeping

If your baby has reflux and/or spit up, it's best to keep them elevated for a good 30-45 minutes after they eat. This can be extremely tricky when your baby is eating every 1-2 hours. Enter the ever-genius Rock N Play sleeper. This chair allows you to elevate your baby and makes them feel snug and safe. My son slept in this chair for a good 5 months, and I was so sad when he outgrew it.

Another option is to elevate them on a Boppy pillow after eating. If they aren't due to sleep, this is a great alternative to aid in digestion. When possible, listen closely to your child's belly and throat area; you may be able to hear the reflux.

Fisher Price Rock n' Play

Feeding in Small Amounts

Babies with pain after eating can't tolerate more than a few ounces at a time. While it's ideal to fill their belly at nighttime feedings, it may lead to an overly fussy baby. My son would only eat 1-3 ounces at a time because that was all he could handle. You'll have to do some trial and error here, but paying close attention to your baby's behavior after eating will help you learn. I used to write everything down too - feeding times, amounts, and behaviors so I could learn. Breastfeeding can make this nearly impossible to track, so it may be worth pumping (if your child will take a bottle) to pace them.

The Power of Movement

If your child is gassy and upset, here are few ideas that may offer relief:

  • Bicycle kicks
  • Tummy Massage
  • Gas drops - these are my favorite

I hope these tips offer a fresh approach to help your little one. Always trust that mama gut -- it has yet to disappoint me!

I'd love to hear what other parents do to help their baby manage reflux and spit it. Share below and help other parents!