My baby started life very content and easy. She breastfed well, slept well at night, napped regularly and we could take her out anywhere with us. At six weeks old this changed and our happy baby girl became fussy and irritable all the time. This started our long journey with infant reflux.
What Is Infant Reflux?
Reflux is when milk and acid rise back up from the stomach to the mouth. This happens because the valve at the base of a baby’s food pipe isn’t very strong. It is like a trap door that opens and lets small amounts of the stomach contents back up.
It is normal for babies to bring up a small amount of milk and mild reflux is harmless and will resolve itself. But severe reflux is different because the amount of milk and acid that come back up can be much larger and can affect your baby.
What Are The Symptoms Of Reflux?
A list of reflux symptoms you may see:
- Fussy when feeding by arching their back and pulling away from the bottle or breast
- Refusing to feed
- Crying during feeds or just being irritable
- Frequent vomiting or spitting up
- Frequent waking in the night
- Comfort feeding because this can alleviate the pain
- Weight loss or poor weight gain
- Can show no outward symptoms but just being in pain – this is called silent reflux
Check out the NHS website for more information on reflux symptoms.
Managing The Symptoms Of Reflux
There are lots of different ways you can manage and reduce the symptoms of reflux. These are many of the things we have tried and tested.
There are lots of natural ways to manage the symptoms of reflux. Take a look at some of these posts to get advice and tips:
Your GP can prescribe a thickener which you can mix with formula or breastmilk. We were initially prescribed Gaviscon but it didn’t help my baby’s symptoms. Our paediatrician then prescribed Carobel and this worked so much better and definitely reduced the vomiting.
If you are not using a thickener you can buy formula that is made for reflux babies. We didn’t try this as we were already using thickeners.
My midwife told us to try comfort milk formula as this can help with reflux symptoms.
I didn’t want to give up on breastfeeding, so I decided to try combination feeding. I started on a dairy-free diet. As a result, she did gain a small amount of weight, but only because she was now feeding twice as much. However, the comfort formula seemed to make the vomiting much worse. So I kept a record of her feeds and symptoms to show the GP.
If your baby has an intolerance or allergy to cow’s milk, this can make the symptoms of reflux worse. If your GP thinks CMPA may be a cause they will trial your baby on hypoallergenic formula to see if they improve.
Breastfeeding mums will be advised to start a dairy-free diet.
Take a look at this post for more information about a cow’s milk protein allergy.
If you need help help going dairy-free take a look at The Ultimate Guide To Reflux and Dairy-Free Breastfeeding.https://lovingmummylife.co.uk/the-ultimate-guide-to-reflux-and-dairy-free-breastfeeding
It may help to keep a record of the foods you are eating and your baby’s symptoms to identify any foods that are triggering a reaction.
If your baby is getting near to 6 months and you are thinking about starting weaning with reflux or CMPA take a look at The Simple Guide For Weaning a Reflux Baby for really practical advice and tips from a reflux mum.