What is Reflux?
Gastro-oesophageal reflux, commonly referred to as reflux is the result of the valve at the top of the stomach not closing properly when feeding has finished. In many infants this valve (the lower oesophageal sphincter), is not fully developed. As a result, the contents of the baby’s stomach (food and stomach acids) are brought up the oesophagus and sometimes can be spilt out the baby’s mouth.
Reflux occurs in at least 50% of all newborn babies and is very common in the first 3 months. Uncomplicated reflux is painless with the baby spilling regularly but continuing to smile and grow normally. More severe forms of reflux can be extremely distressing for both parent and child. As the stomach acids are brought into the oesophagus they may burn and cause baby great pain and discomfort. They may scream and arch their back in discomfort during or after feeding and only take on small feeds, continuously comfort feed, or refuse feeding altogether.
Symptoms of Reflux
- Irritability and pain, can sometimes wake up screaming from sleep. May be inconsolable when laid down flat.
- Poor sleeping habits.
- Weight loss or poor weight gain.
- Excessive spilling with frequent burping or hiccups
- Swallowing problems where baby may gag or choke.
- Babies can often have a lot of gas and be difficult to burp after feeds.
- Sometimes baby may refuse to feed or feed frequently for comfort.
How to Reduce Problems associated with Reflux
- When feeding baby, hold in a more upright position to stop the stomach contents flowing back up into the oesophagus.
- Give more frequent but smaller feeds to reduce the amount of milk in the stomach.
- Find the best burping technique for your child.
- Hazelwood neutralises the body's acidity which by doing so relieves or prevents reflux. Hazelwood necklace
- When baby is awake keep them in an upright position. doomoo seat
- In severe cases doctors may suggest sleeping baby on their left side. Snoozzz, Supreme Sleep Discuss this with a health professional first.
- For a guide on caring with an infant or child with reflux you may like to read Reflux 101