If your baby has reflux you will know how hard it is to get them to sleep well. You are exhausted from the constant vomiting, cleaning up and fussing. Both you and your reflux baby need to get better sleep! My baby suffered from severe reflux for a year so we picked up a lot of tips on how to manage the symptoms. It took us a while to find out what works for her and she still isn’t a great sleeper but we did find ways to get her to sleep for longer spells.
How do I know if my baby has reflux?
There are lots of reasons why babies don’t sleep well. They might be hungry, overtired, not tired enough, over-stimulated, too hot, too cold or it could be reflux or colic. If you think your baby is showing signs of reflux then take a look at the full list of symptoms on Does my Baby have Reflux? to see if this sounds like your baby.
Is reflux worse when my baby is asleep?
Yes, there are reasons why reflux symptoms get worse during sleep time. The first problem is when your baby is lying flat. This makes it easier for the acid to come up and make them vomit. While your baby is sleeping there is also less saliva being made to neutralize the acid.
Check out Reflux The Essential Guide for Parents. This contains information, advice, and personal stories on everything to do with having a reflux baby:
- Diagnosing and treating reflux
- Breastfeeding and weaning tips
- Tried and tested tips and hacks
- Sleeping advice
- Link to cow’s milk allergy
- Getting out and about with reflux
- How we survived a year of reflux
4 ways to help a Reflux Baby Sleep
1. Sleep on an incline
Try raising your baby’s head so the acid doesn’t come back up. You can use rolled-up towels or blankets under the mattress to do this. Or you can buy a sleeping wedge which is just the right shape to prop up your baby’s head.
2. Time their feeds carefully
Try not to feed them too near to bedtime or nap time. Then hold them upright after their feed or keep them sitting up. This gives them time to digest their feed properly before they lay down. Also, wind them after they have had a couple of ounces to help reduce the amount of gas. If you are bottle feeding use bottles that help with digestion. We really like the Dr. Browns bottles and find these do help.
3. Routine and comfort
We always stick with a bedtime routine so she knows we are winding down for sleep. Try to keep them upright in this time, sitting in the bath and sitting up in the chair for a story. If they struggle to settle try holding them upright until they are sleepy and then moving them into their cot. Don’t worry about getting them back out of their cot if they wake up crying. It is important to offer them comfort if they are in pain. Don’t worry about them developing sleep problems this is something you can sort out when their reflux has improved. As my daughter’s reflux improved she started to settle for longer periods of time without any problems. You can also try offering them a pacifier to suck as this can soothe some of the pain from reflux
4. Use medication
Remember if nothing else is working then there is a medication that can help. Gaviscon is a powder you mix with their feed to help with the pain of reflux. Carobel is mixed with their feed to thicken it and stop it coming back up. Ranitidine helps to reduce the amount of acid. I found that using carobel, ranitidine and all of the tips I had learned was the only way of reducing the symptoms of severe reflux in my baby.
Reflux is exhausting for both parents and baby. Everybody needs to sleep better to be able to tackle the symptoms of baby reflux. Try out these 4 ways with your baby to see if it will help them to sleep better. If you need help with anything else related to reflux take a look at Reflux the essential guide for parents. It has helpful hacks and tips on weaning, teething, CMPA and going out with reflux.