If your baby is spitting up often (going through countless baby bibs and baby blankets) and if they wake frequently during the night, you may want to find out more about acid reflux in infants. It is thought that nearly one quarter of all infants experience signs of acid reflux at one time or another, but you should definitely consult a qualified pediatrician if baby has any abdominal pain or reflux symptoms. Only a medical professional can diagnose and treat acid reflux in your baby. There are, however, some facts that will help you learn more about the often frustrating condition.
Your baby won’t sleep through the night even though he’s clean and well-fed. Does he start screaming after feedings? Does he make wet burps and have sour breath? It may be that stomach acid is creeping up his little esophagus and causing him discomfort. Most babies seem to outgrow acid reflux between six and nine months. So, there is light at the end of the tunnel. And today’s modern medicines can lessen baby’s discomfort considerably.
One of the things you can do is sit him upright after feedings. This will help gravity to push the food down and not send the acid back up again. Have baby rest in the crook of your arm for a little while after eating. You certainly won’t mind the extra few moments of time staring into that darling little face.
You can also try feeding your baby less, but more often. An infant’s stomach is tiny, so overfeeding can lead to spit up. Give your baby a smaller portion and when he cries in about two hours for more, go ahead and feed him again. Spacing out the feedings will keep the formula or breast milk from coming back up.
If baby sleeps fine, don’t change his routine, but if he’s waking up with painful cries during the night, you can try positioning the crib mattress at a slight incline. You can do this by placing several rolled up towels under the crib mattress. This will raise baby’s head enough so that the acid stays down in the stomach where it belongs. Make sure baby is sleeping on his back, not his stomach. If baby still won’t sleep, consult your doctor. Never place anything inside the crib with baby such as rolled up blankets to keep him upright. Baby could become entangled in them.
Your doctor may recommend a switch in formula. Some formulas are better than others for infants prone to reflux. Be sure to ask about all your options. It’s thought that breastfeeding is the best option to lessen reflux, but that’s not always possible. Moreover, even if you are breastfeeding, baby can still show signs of reflux. Discuss with your doctor the specific things that you can try for your baby as each child is different and may respond to different treatments.
Join a group of like-minded moms and dads who can offer support. Many hospitals offer support groups and talking with other new parents about what worked for them will help you feel less alone and will give you good ideas. You can also find local groups online who share your concerns.
Just remember that reflux is treatable and is not a life-long condition. Soon baby will be playing upright more and the reflux should resolve itself completely.