Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), commonly known as “reflux” in babies, occurs when the contents of the stomach flow back up into the esophagus. It is a common condition in babies and occurs due to the underdeveloped lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscles. The LES muscles are responsible for keeping the stomach contents from flowing back up into the esophagus. In babies, these muscles are not fully developed, leading to the backflow of stomach contents. Additionally, other factors such as overfeeding, swallowing air during feedings, and certain medical conditions can contribute to reflux in babies.
10 ways to help a reflux baby
- Feed your baby smaller, more frequent meals to prevent overfeeding and reduce the amount of milk or formula in their stomach.
- Keep your baby upright during and after feedings to reduce the amount of reflux.
Burp your baby frequently during feedings to release any trapped air.
- Elevate the head of your baby’s crib or bassinet by placing a wedge or rolled-up towel under the mattress.
- Try to keep your baby calm and avoid overstimulation, as stress can worsen reflux symptoms.
- Avoid feeding your baby spicy, acidic, or fatty foods, as these can increase reflux.
- Use a slow-flow nipple on the bottle to reduce the amount of air your baby swallows during feedings.
- Hold your baby upright for at least 30 minutes after feeding to allow food to digest.
- Consider changing your baby’s formula to a hypoallergenic or specialized formula designed for reflux.
- Consult with your pediatrician for additional recommendations or medication if the reflux is severe or causing discomfort for your baby.