If you suspect your baby has trouble sleeping due to reflux, this post will give you practical solutions. Baby sleep and reflux is so tough, but baby can get there!
Reflux causes pain in baby’s tummy, throat, and mouth and then can be woken up from sleep easier.
Baby is uncomfortable ➡️ Baby won’t sleep ➡️ Baby is tired so doesn’t feed well ➡️ Baby is hungry, overtired, and not resting or feeding well ➡️Baby is uncomfortable
What causes reflux?
One possible cause (certainly not all, consult your doctor and follow their recommendations) of reflux like symptoms is hyper-lactation.
Hyper-lactation essentially means mothers make more milk than strictly necessary for their baby. It often causes a very fast and aggressive letdown where milk comes out without much work on the baby’s part and it can often be painful for the mother.
There can be a lot of engorgement and a foremilk / hindmilk imbalance that results in fussiness, gas, and reflux like symptoms in infants.
♦︎ Tips For Feeding If You Suspect You’re Experiencing Hyper-Lactation
♢ When you are feeding and let down occurs, take the baby off for a bit and express (into a pump or nursing pad, etc.) and then put baby back on. This will “lessen the pressure.”
♢ Change position while feeding. Lie down or lay back and have baby on your chest so baby has to “work harder” to get the milk and gravity isn’t helping the milk come out at a faster than necessary rate.
♢ Nurse from one side at a time. If both sides have an aggressive letdown and you give baby both then they’re twice as likely to experience reflux symptoms. Instead, feed from one side fully for a long time. They’ll still get all the hindmilk rich in nutrients and have less foremilk.
How do you help babies with reflux?
❖ Put The Crib At An Incline
Whether baby is sleeping in a crib or in a bassinet or wherever else, put the mattress at a safe incline that will help prevent some of the reflux from coming up.
Same reason why older folks will sleep sitting up in a recliner (or why you did it while pregnant!) because gravity keeps the stomach acids down
❖ Burp, Burp, Burp If Baby Has Reflux
I don’t know about you, but burping ain’t as easy as you think it will be. It doesn’t always result in a burp. This is when you apply the techniques learnt in an earlier post. Check page for post about burping the baby.
❖ Hold Baby Upright Before Naps
Another thing you can do is after feeding, burping, changing diapers, and before you put baby down to rest…. hold baby upright.
A horizontal position makes it easier for the stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus. The undeveloped digestive system is the reason why all babies are prone to experience acid reflux symptoms.
❖ Get Medicine If Necessary
Of course, if your baby is exhibiting signs of reflux I hope you’ve already taken them to the doctor and then followed the recommendations you were given.
Obviously we don’t want to over-medicate our kids when it isn’t necessary, but don’t be afraid to try what’s on the market if it’ll bring relief to your little one.
♦︎ By 1 year of age, most babies will grow out of reflux.
This is because At around one year of age the esophageal sphincter muscle is more fully developed and will stop allowing the stomach contents back up into the esophagus.