Infant reflux is a condition in which the contents of a baby's stomach are spit up. While some infants painlessly spit up the milk they have consumed, most babies experience pain as stomach acid burns their esophagus. An infant with reflux may cry often, have problems sleeping, and if the reflux is severe the baby may experience problems gaining weight. Reflux is tough on an infant, and it can be equally rough on parents to care for a baby with reflux. Use the following tips to cope and help soothe your baby with reflux:
Keep Baby Upright After Feedings
Holding your baby upright after a feeding will help keep the stomach contents down and prevent the painful throat burning associated with infant reflux. Holding your baby close to your chest will also help him or her feel more comfortable and secure. If you have a baby who needs to stay upright due to reflux, you may want to invest in a baby carrier that will allow you to wear your baby on your chest and still have your hands free for other tasks.
Have Your Baby Sleep in an Inclined Position
Babies who suffer from reflux can be poor sleepers who wake often at night if they are experiencing a painful burning in their esophagus. Sleeping totally flat can contribute to the problem, so it is often recommended that babies with reflux sleep in an inclined position to help keep stomach acid down. If your baby is already sleeping in a crib, you can elect to place a pillow underneath the crib mattress to slightly incline it. Smaller infants may do well sleeping in bassinets that are built with an incline to help keep a baby upright.
Smaller, More Frequent Feedings
Many infants with reflux tend to do better when they are given smaller, more frequent feedings. Consuming smaller amounts of milk allows the stomach to digest faster so it is less likely that the stomach contents will be spit up. Consult your child's pediatrician to discuss a feeding schedule that will help with reflux while still making sure that your baby gets enough milk.
Talk to Your Child's Pediatrician About Antacids
Severe cases of infant reflux many be controlled by prescription antacids. These antacids are similar to those that adults buy over-the-counter at the drug store, but they are in liquid form and are administered orally with a syringe. Antacids do not prevent spitting up, but they do neutralize stomach acid so your baby will no longer experience painful burning in his or her throat.